Young children who are first bullied during their pre-teen years appear to be less negatively impacted in the long term than are children who are first bullied as teens. People first bullied as young children report experiencing higher long-term stress levels than do people who were never bullied. However, people who were first bullied as teens report more long term social withdrawal and more reactivity to violence than other groups. There is a greater tendency towards the use of self-destructive coping mechanisms in the first-bullied-as-teens group, and an interesting but hard to make sense of sex difference, where women tend to become more aggressive as a result of their bullying experience, and men to demonstrate a greater tendency to abuse substances. I can’t help but wonder if the increased independence and emancipation that teens enjoy makes them more likely to experiment with and then get locked into maladaptive coping strategies like substance abuse than their younger peers.
Having supportive family members and peers around who can be confided in when one has been bullied and who can offer support and advice tends to lessen bullying’s impact. There are a number of reasons why it makes sense that a supportive social network should help, but one of them deserves to be made explicit. Namely, that when a bullying victim is surrounded by and bought into a supportive social network, they are receiving many positive messages about their worth from network members, and there are thus fewer opportunities for bullies’ negative messages to find purchase and grow to take over self-esteem. If bullies can only succeed in harming people physically; if they do not succeed in harming them emotionally or harming their identities, then relatively little lasting damage can be done. It is important as parents to be aware of what is going on in our children’s lives. Take the time to Get involved!
This is for me
my friends today
And my friends tomorrow.
I think being mean stinks!
I won’t watch someone get picked on
Because I am a do something person
not a do nothing person.
I can help change things
I can be a leader
In my world there are no bullies allowed.
Bullying is bad
Bullying bothers me.
I know sticking up for someone is the right thing to do.
I WILL STAND UP!
Links for parents and teens: