Psychology Topics by Esther Juarez

BullyingPsychology Topics

by: Esther Juarez

Bullying is a type of intentional negative behavior toward others and includes “[f]ighting, cursing, disrespect, outbursts, and destruction—these and other behavioral problems have plagued schools” (Flicker and Hoffman). This sort of abuse relates to domination, anxiety, pain, and psychological frustration. Children are often blinded to how to differentiate the role they are playing in bullying and harassment. While some are victims of bullying, others are the perpetrators. Bullies may verbally, physically, and emotionally abuse their victims.

Verbal bullying occurs when bullies use words to offend and humiliate their victims. A person bullies others because of the necessity to feel power or authority over other people. Verbal abuse can be performed not only by one bully but also by a group of bullies who try to spread rumors and lies in order to criticize/nag at someone. According to Matt Labash, “A person is being bullied…when he or she is exposed repeatedly and over time to negative actions on the part of one or more persons” (19). Because bullies feel insecurity, they pick the weak ones who cannot defend themselves. “Kids with ‘mental’ problems or who are ‘slow or dim’ are targeted for harassment” (Garbarino and deLara 71). Even though verbal bullying is not the most damaging abuse, bullies also victimize others through physical aggression.

Physical bullying occurs when the perpetrator uses bodily violence to produce a physical attack toward the victim. Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching, biting, poking, choking or any other physical action that expresses aggression and causes pain. It may also include destroying personal belongings or any other type of unwelcome and inappropriate physical contact between the bully and the victim. Most of the time physical aggression is first initiated at home, learned by children, and then applied to others as a normal conduct. “Aggression is primarily learned behavior” (Conoley and Goldstein 11). Physical bullying expresses sadness, anger, and fierceness on the side of the bully. “Some kids bully as a reaction to the punishing lessons that they learn at home at the hands of their parents, siblings, or other relatives” (Garbarino and deLara 69). This type of bullying relates physical aggressiveness as a proper way to cope with people. Physical aggression has a big impact on children but is not as damaging as the emotional abuse.

Emotional bullying occurs when bullies psychologically manipulate their victims. “Bullies tended to divide their classmates into potential sources of affection and targets for domination” (Paul). Anything that causes emotional pain to the victim of bullying because of this type of domination is considered emotional bullying. Because emotional damage can be targeted only to feelings, bullies use this type of abuse in an indirect way toward the victim. Bullies can accomplish this by making their victims feel weak, afraid, or excluded from a social group. “For one to dominate another requires that other to be dominated . . . ” (Lines).  Emotional damage to the victim is created when others believe what the perpetrator forces them to think. According to James Garbarino and Ellen deLara, children may react differently to emotional bullying: “Some kids are more vulnerable than others to emotional violence—or at least to its effects—because of their sensitive temperaments. Things hit them harder” (9). The effects of emotional bullying can affect the school performance of the victims. Most of the time victims of bullying wake up dreading going to school because they fear they will face more emotional violence. Emotional abuse wears down self-esteem and confidence. Emotional bullying can leave a deep scar that does not heal fast and could even last for a lifetime. Because emotional bullying can be the most damaging type of abuse toward children, its psychological effects can be devastating.

Verbal, physical, and emotional bullying are forms of abuse that reflect a negative behavior toward others. It is not a proper behavior because the act of bullying has negative psychological impact on the victims. Bullying affects children and their potential to perform at school. It is important to give the appropriate relevance to the impact that bullying has in order to improve control methods and to maximize school performance. “Every child has the right to be treated with dignity. Every child has the right to go to school, concentrate on their schoolwork, and not fear for their safety” (Roberts).

Works Cited
Conoley, Jane Close, and Arnold P. Goldstein, eds. School Violence Intervention: A Practical Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Guildford Press, 2004. Print.
Flicker, Eileen S, and Janet Andron Hoffman. Guiding Children’s Behavior: Developmental Discipline in the Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006. Print.
Garbarino, James, and Ellen deLara.  And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents From Bullying, Harrasment, and Emotional Violence. New York: The Free Press, 2002. Print.
Labash, Matt. “Antibullying Programs Are Ineffective and Unnecessary.” How Can School Violence be Prevented? Scott Barbour. ed.Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Print.
Lines, Dennis. Bullies: Understanding Bullies and Bullying. New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007. ebrary. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.
Paul, Pamela. “Maybe Bullies Just Want to Be Loved.” New York Times on the Web. New York Times, 21 May 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.
Roberts, Walter B., Jr. Bullying From Both Sides: Strategic Interventions for Working with Bullies & Victims. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press, 2006. Print.
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