Food for Thought: Understanding bullying

Print Article

Bullying is physical or psychological intimidation that occurs repeatedly. The purpose is to inflict injury or discomfort on the victim and create an on going pattern of harassment or abuse.

Bullying includes teasing, taunting, threatening, and hitting. It can also mean isolating the victim by intentionally excluding him/ her or spreading rumors about the victim.

Bullying is far more prevalent than most people think. A nationally representative study of 15,686 students in grades six through 10, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 285, No. 16) is among the most recent to document the scope of bullying in U.S. schools.

In the study, psychologist Tonja R. Nansel, Ph.D, and colleagues found that 17 percent of students reported having been bullied “sometimes” or more frequently during the school term. About 19 percent reported bullying others “sometimes” or more often. And six percent reported both bullying and having been bullied.

Nansel and colleagues also found that bullying occurs most frequently from sixth to eighth grade, and extends into high school with little variation between urban, suburban, town and rural areas. Males are more likely to be physically bullied, while females are more likely to be verbally or psychologically bullied.

The bullying relationship is characterized by an imbalance of power. The child who bullies is typically bigger, older, stronger or more popular than the victim. The intent is to exert power over the victim.

Girls who bully through exclusion tend to have more social power than their victims. The bully is aware his or her behavior causes distress, the bully enjoys the victim’s reaction, and the bullying continues and escalates. The bully hurts others in order to feel strong.

There are two types of victims - passive and reactive victims. The passive victim avoids confrontation, turns inward when bullied and withdraws rather than fight back. The reactive victim is aggressive, antagonistic, and fights back when bullied, but sometimes focuses his/her anger on others and bullies them. Thus, they become bullies themselves.

Research from the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education on school shootings, including Columbine, found that almost three-quarters of student shooters felt bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others. In fact, several shooters reported experiencing long-term and severe bullying and harassment from their peers.

Bullying is not a normal part of growing up. Victims report greater fear and anxiety, feel less accepted, suffer more health problems and have lower self esteem. Frequently, victims turn their anger inward, which may lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide. Other victims(reactive) often become violent.

Bullies fail to learn how to cope, manage their emotions, and communicate effectively - skills vital to the adult world.

Without intervention, bullies suffer stunted emotional growth and fail to develop empathy.

Child bullies develop into adult bullies who are more likely to have legal problems and be abusive toward their spouses and children; perhaps continuing the cycle of bullying.

In my next article I will discuss some steps to take if your child is being bullied.

— Dr. Leta A. Livoti Ph.D, LCSW, LCPC is a psychotherapist in Thompson Falls.

Print Article

Read More Lifestyle

Plains School presents ‘Murder at the Orient Express’

November 19, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Clark Fork Valley Press Saturday night, students at Plains High School put on a presentation of “Murder at the Orient Express.” Students from the high school, along with some from the seventh and eighth grades, worked toge...


Read More

Alberton Student Spotlight: Emmah Baughman

November 19, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Daily Inter Lake Full name: Emmah Baughman Age: 17 Years in Alberton: 8 Graduation: May 17, 2020 Plans following graduation? After graduation I plan to attend Montana State University Billings to major in Huma...


Read More

Alberton Senior Spotlight: Dick Darne

November 19, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Daily Inter Lake Name: Dick Darne Family: Married to Patricia for 50 years. Six children, raised two nieces, and has 3 grandchildren How long have you lived in Alberton? I moved to Alberton in 1979. Graduated High...


Read More

Kvelve’s Comments: Cats-Griz game is good cause for a party

November 19, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Daily Inter Lake Good grief it’s that time of year again. Grab some chips and dip, stock up on your favorite beverages, break out the pot luck dishes and Velcro down folks, Velcro down!! On Saturday afternoon, a sel...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 826-3402
105 W. Lynch
P.O. Box 667
Plains, MT 59859

©2019 Clark Fork Valley Press | Mineral Independent Terms of Use Privacy Policy