Bullying is a familiar term – so many kids across America and beyond are being bullied. So of course, this means that there are ones doing the bullying out there, in higher numbers as well. According to Psychology Today, “between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 students in the United States report being bullied at school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics. In grades 6 through 12 alone, over a quarter of students have experienced bullying.” This may even be an underreported amount of bullying going on. C’mon – this is way too much!
And we aren't even accounting for some of the overabundant cyber-bullying taking place in the online spaces!
What it Is
Again, according to Psychology Today, “bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. Bullying is not typical aggression; it is a deliberate, repeated attempt to cause harm to others of lesser power.” So, it’s all about power, not specifically aggression, although aggression is a tool of wielding power for bullies. It’s what I call a way of getting fake self-esteem (at the expense of others so the one bullying can feel superior).
Further, “bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds isn’t handled with consistency. And bullying remains a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first.” Of course, we are extremely concerned that our children are not being bullied, especially at school and perhaps after school before parents get home from work…rightfully so. Plus, efforts by schools to stop bullying are often only mildly successful, if at all. And let’s not forget that bullying can be done online, electronically. This style can also be done anonymously, adding an extra layer of stress to those being bullied and their families, friends, and concerned community members.
What it Looks Like
First let’s think about possible signs children who are being bullied are showing. They may have injuries that go unexplained, their clothing may be lost or destroyed. They may also have lost or destroyed books, electronics, and jewelry. They may have frequent stomachaches and headaches, and they may fake illness. They may start skipping meals or engage in binge eating. They may have nightmares and trouble falling asleep. They may isolate themselves socially, or start running away from home, hurting themselves (think cutting), or think and/or talk about suicide.
VeryWell Family tells us that there are 6 main types of bullying: 1) physical, most obvious, 2) verbal, name-calling, insults, etc., 3) relational aggression, or emotional bullying, a type of social manipulation where bullies try to hurt peers or sabotage their social standing, 4) cyberbullying, using a phone, other technology using the Internet to bully, 5) sexual bullying, or “repeated, harmful, and humiliating actions that target a person sexually … sexual name-calling, vulgar gestures, uninvited touching,” and 6) prejudicial bullying, using prejudices bullies “have toward people of different races, religions, or sexual orientation.”
It is important to understand that often, victims of bullying rise up to become bullies. They have learned to do this. Bullies do not have positive social behavioral skills and are often feeling anxious themselves. Psychology Today says, “those who chronically bully tend to have strained relationships with parents and peers.” This is something, however, that can be changed.
Medications and How that Affects Bullies
Conventional professionals understand that victims of bullying have depression and anxiety, so in addition to undergoing talk therapy and other programs for home and school, they may also prescribe anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. See the article on Depression in Kids and Teens to understand what types of medications may be used and what their possible side effects may be. When the medication works, this can help the child who is being bullied deal better with it emotionally. However, there are other types of alternative treatments available in the holistic realm which are effective without the unpleasant and often dangerous side effects.
How Holistic Measures Can Assist in Bullying
Remember that when kids suffer from anxiety and depression, changing dietary patterns and certain supplements will be helpful. Again, see Depression in Kids and Teens for more details. So therapeutic efforts will likely be more successful when the child’s physiological body, heart, and mind are functioning optimally through diet and supplementation. Also, Sam Adkins, the Homeopathic Coach, uses a novel approach when working with kids who are being bullied. She uses homeopathic remedies, which are often keyed to where a person is experiencing stress in the physical body. For example, one child felt his anxiety in his chest, stating it was in his heart, not his stomach, which is where many people experience it. The homeopathic remedy was directed toward his chest area. And it was effective! Talk therapy is also used in conjunction with remedies, similar to how conventional approaches use talk therapy and medications.
Psychology Today also discusses three healing energy therapies, and there has been some excellent research to support these techniques. 1) The Emotion Code can release negative emotions which have become trapped, 2) Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), or, Tapping, uses tapping with your fingertips on acupuncture pressure points while talking through traumatic memories and difficult emotions, releasing them, and 3) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), is a therapy originally designed to relieve the distress of traumatic memories, and uses eye movements to accomplish this. All three approaches are very effective for many people, including children, teens, and adults.
For more resources on teaching children about social media and to avoid cyber-bullying, view our course Social Media-Make It Positive!
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