Contrary to what some people think, bullying isn’t a normal part of childhood. Here are some other realities about this harmful behaviour that need to be acknowledged.
1. Kids don’t grow out of bullying
Unless children face meaningful consequences and learn that bullying is unacceptable, this behaviour is likely to persist through adolescence and into adulthood. It can also evolve into dating violence, workplace harassment and domestic abuse.
2. Fighting back makes bullying worse
While children should be encouraged to stand up to bullies, retaliating with violence, insults or other aggressive behaviour can lead to more persistent and severe bullying. Assertive responses and reporting bullying to an adult are more effective strategies.
3. Peers can stop bullying in seconds
Most bullying incidents happen when peers are watching, and their reaction plays a major role in reinforcing or stopping the behaviour. In fact, research shows that when peers intervene, more than half of the time the bullying stops within 10 seconds.
4. Bullying can cause serious harm
Bullied children are more likely to experience headaches, stomach aches, anxiety and depression. They’re also at greater risk of long-term mental health problems and suicide. Additionally, children who bully are more likely to use drugs and engage in criminal activity.
It’s only by dispelling myths about bullying and teaching children to develop healthy relationships that the issue can be properly addressed and bullying eradicated for good.