Consequences of Teasing and Bullying in Middle Childhood
What is bullying and why does it needed to be paid serious attention? Bullying has been defined as a use of influence to intimidate others. The act of bullying can be depicted through verbal such as name-calling or threatening, and humiliating through unkind words, physical such as hitting or fighting, and social, which is intended to hurt somebody’s reputation. There has been a trend that suggest that the cycle of bullying is present in several aspects of school life. Children who are usually bullied continue to be at jeopardy for a different variety of social, economic, or emotional outcomes after exposure. It is said that bullying causes underlying damage to the mental well-being of both the victims and the offenders. It is described rather as a serious form of childhood abuse, and the adverse effects of it lasts throughout the lives of those who experience it. The purpose of this paper is to identify the significances and damaging effects of teasing and bullying in the middle childhood. It will primarily cover those who are involved bullies, victims, bully-victims; and how bullying can cause devastating effects on the children that can often lead to disastrous consequences to both victims and bullies.
Bullying or becoming a bully victim in school had a negative effect on a student’s school grades. A study has proven that the effects of bullying on academic achievement resulted from intervention by psychosocial problems. In this study, six databases (PubMed, Psyclnfo, Embase, Web of Science, Education Resources Information Center [ERIC], and Cinahl) were examined through comparable search strategy. In these studies, bullied students obtained lower grades than their nonbullied peers, because they displayed more emotional difficulties, and had fewer social skills. Two studies even showed that just the fear of being bullied unfavorably affected the relationship with teachers and peers (Beran & Lupart, 2009; Forrest et al., 2012). This avoidance and mistrust have been shown to lead to lower grades and avoidance of academic tasks. Being bullied was also found to lead to conduct problems and emotional problems, both of which also adversely affect academic performance. Authors of these studies suggested that bullying behaviors should be seen as part of a dynamic interplay with other aspects of a child’s socialization processes rather than simply as a cause or effect of poor adjustment. (Busch, Loyen, Lodder, Schrijvers Yperen, Leeuw. The Effects of Adolescent Health-Related Behavior on Academic Performance: A Systematic Review of the Longitudinal Evidence)
Another study shows that bullying can cause relationship problems in the long run. Based on the earlier observational and survey research made by Connolly, Pepler, Craig, & Taradash, 2000; Craig & Pepler, 1997, they have come to understand bullying as a relationship problem. In their study, they found out that that children who bully at frequent rates over a long period of time are learning how to use power and aggression to control and distress others and may be establishing an interactional style that will carry forward through adolescence into adult relationships. (Connolly, Pepler, Craig, & Taradash, 2000; Craig & Pepler, 1997, Developmental Trajectories of Bullying and Associated Factors). The study used a longitudinal data with measures from elementary through the end of high school and observed the various courses of bullying. The group approached the study from a developmental-contextual perspective, with an acknowledgement that developmental pathways are shaped both by children’s individual characteristics and by interactions within their relevant relationships. It is also very evident that relationship risks start among the family. If an elementary student had relationship problems with their parents, they were between two and four times more likely to fall on the high- bullying trajectory compared to the never- bullying trajectory. In a similar situation, if they had problems in peer relationships, they were three to six times more likely to fall on the high-bullying group. (Connolly, Pepler, Craig, & Taradash, 2000; Craig & Pepler, 1997, Developmental Trajectories of Bullying and Associated Factors).
Another study suggests that bullying is associated with low self- esteem, and negative school environment during the elementary, middle school, and high school years. Low self- esteem has been related with victimization wherein a person with low self- esteem isolates oneself socially and becomes an easy target. In the study made by Guerra, Williams, and Sadek, 2011, University of California at Riverside, they have gathered fourteen focus groups with equal number of participants from elementary school, middle school, and high school. The result suggested that there is a complex relationship between self- esteem and bullying. More than half of the focus groups across all ages mentioned emotional problems, which includes low self- esteem, feeling bad about one’s self, and being a bully victim. (Guerra, Williams, and Sadek, 2011, Understanding Bullying and Victimization During Childhood and Adolescence: A Mixed Methods Study). Across all ages, participants mentioned that some kids have been bullied and want to bully back. Participants said that in some sense, bullying can begin by teasing, but becomes problematic when it starts to become hurtful. Bullying correlates to victimization, as well. In the focus groups, some participants mentioned that being victimized could contribute to low self- esteem because the students would feel bad about themselves. In the same study, the victims are often displayed as weak, timid, and socially isolated and become targets of bullying.
The alarming effects of bullying states that the act of bullying can adversely impact a child and that further action is needed to be done in order to avoid its long term and more serious effects. The data provided by the selected studies provide an indication that prevention must be implemented to avoid persistent bullying problems. Solutions and interventions must be developmental, as well as contextual. Bullying must be addressed in such a way that children are encouraged to learn how to be socially positive. It is also very important that relationships with the family, especially parents, and peers, must be built in a positive way. Ongoing support from every body is important to promote healthy relationships and to avoid bullying circumstances. As per the school, teachers and administrators must create an optimistic environment based on fairness and equality, inspire healthy self- esteem by creating programs that will shape positivity and prevent bullying at the same time. These solutions can be addressed by the people involved such as the children themselves, family members, and schoolwide facilitators.