By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog
Parents and teachers who shrug off bullying as “kids being kids” are making a huge mistake.
Bullying doesn’t just have serious short-term effects on children. Many people who were bullied as kids experience devastating long-term effects from these experiences, well into their adulthood.
Short-Term Effects of Bullying
1. Kids are more likely to skip school, both if they are bullied and if they bully others.
Bullying can have a severe effect on the academic potential of children. Bullied kids are often so scared of facing their bullies that they skip school. One study found that on any given day, up to 160,000 students stay home from school because they are scared of being bullied.
But it’s not just the children who get bullied that are impacted. Kids who bully others are also much more likely to skip school and eventually, drop out of school entirely.
2. Bullied children are more likely to get sick.
Kids who are bullied are far more likely to report feeling physically sick, with symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, and stomachaches. Studies have also found that the more frequently a child is picked on, the more severe these symptoms become.
Adrienne Nishina, Assistant Professor of Human Development at UC Davis, explains how bullying can lead to health problems: “Research with youth and adults shows that negative social interactions are experienced as particularly stressful. Stress causes the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol impairs immune system functioning, leaving the individual more vulnerable and less able to combat physical illnesses.”
3. Bullied teens are more likely to drink and become aggressive
People who are bullied for the first time in their teens, rather than in their childhood, are more severely impacted by their experiences.
One study found that college students who were bullied earlier on in life responded normally to provocation, but students who weren’t bullied until their teenage years were more withdrawn and sensitive to violence.
The study also found that females were more likely to react with aggression when someone provoked them, while males were more likely to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Long-Term Effects of Bullying
1. People who bullied others when they were children are more likely to get into trouble with the law as adults.
Norwegian psychology research professor Dr. Dan Olweus has found that there is a strong correlation between between having bullied others as a child and experiencing legal or criminal troubles as an adult.
In one study, Olweus found that 60% of people who bullied others when they were in grades 6 through 9 had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24.
2. People who were bullied as children are more likely to have psychological problems as adults.
Olweus found that children who were bullied in the 6th and 9th grades were more likely to experience depression and low self-esteem by the time they were 23 years old.
Other studies have shown that people who remember being teased as a child had higher rates of depression, social anxiety, pathological perfectionism, and greater neuroticism as adults.
3. People who were bullied as kids are more likely to be bullied in the workplace as an adult.
Sadly, many people who were victimized as children can’t seem to shake off their victim status even after they’ve grown up.
One study on bullying in the workplace found that 57% of people who were being bullied at work had also been bullied as children at school.
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