Unleash Your ZebraBlog
What is Bullying?
Bullying is a deliberate act of making someone else feel down and less of what they are, repeatedly. It is an intentional misuse of power because most times the bully has an advantage over the person being bullied. Bullying can happen at any time in almost any place; in schools, neighborhood and even sometimes at home. Getting bullied might seem like a normal rite of passage to some people but the damage caused by bullying can be devastating it can lead to suppressed anger, depression, constant fear, among others. Bullies act out to make themselves popular, when they are jealous of you, to feel tough, to escape their own problems or because they are/were bullied themselves. They target teens based on physical appearance or social standing and they most pick on those who don’t fit in.
Types of Bullying
What makes bullying so dangerous is that it is constantly repeated and may have long lasting effects. The different types of teenage bullying are:
Verbal bullying: This may seem harmless but can be very hurtful. This is when someone is constantly being put down, belittled or teased using sarcasm to embarrass and hurt the other person in front of other people such as name-calling.
Physical bullying: This is the type of bullying that is the easiest to notice because there is evidence of the assault. This has to do with the show of dominance by punching, kicking, slapping, stealing, among other harmful show of force and this leaves the victim in a constant state of fear.
Emotional bullying: This is the subtlest form of bullying as it has to do with using emotional methods to make someone feel left out and alone. This form of bullying often leads to depression as other teens stigmatise the person being bullied.
Cyber bullying: This type of bullying has grown recently. This is the use of text messages, and social media platforms to continuously embarrass and humiliate someone. Just like hacking someone’s account and misusing or uploading of personal private information/images.
How Common is Teenage Bullying?
Family First Aid statistics show that about 30% of U.S. teenagers have had some bullying experience, either as the bullied or as the bully. Older teens bullying is less rampant than the younger teens, data suggests, or it may be that older teenagers are less susceptible to bullying. Boys engage more in physical bullying while girls tend towards the emotional and verbal bullying.
Teenage Bullying Effects
Physical bullying leaves a lot of physical injuries or problems in its wake. Verbal, cyber and emotional bulling has serious effects as well. It can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, violence, misplaced aggression, suicidal tendencies, drug use, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and stunted social development.
How to Reduce Teenage Bullying
Do not blame yourself for getting bullied, learn how to cope with stress, be true to yourself and get help. It is difficult to completely prevent bullying but there are certain things to do when it happens, such as:
Understand you are being bullied; always try to walk away from bullies, protect yourself if you can and report the situation to a trusted adult.
Look at bullying in a different light; figure out why this is happening, focus on the positives, help yourself in any way you can and seek help.
Find support from others; This is the most important of all, seek support from friends, online or in person and talk to teachers or adult authorities.read more
Self-harm is when an individual deliberately harms him or herself in order to deal with overwhelming or difficult situations. It is most common among adolescents and in the early stages of adulthood, usually appearing in individuals from 12 to 24. 2013 saw over 3.3 million reports of self-harm among teenagers worldwide. Studies have found that there is increased risk of suicide among teenagers who fall victim to self-harm, with the condition being found in 40-60% of suicide cases in the last decade.
Cutting one’s self is one form of self-harm. Although cutting may make the involved individual feel better or in control, it can make the victim feel worse in the long run and put them in a dangerous position. There isn’t any magic solution to help teenagers stop cutting, but there are steps to follow that can be of great help when it comes to how to stop cutting yourself.
Look for a Distraction
One way to overcome the urge to cut yourself is to be distracted by something. This allows the moment to pass and gets your mind off the idea. You might try:
- Calling a friend: Speak to him or her about what ever is comfortable for you. Just keep talking.
- Take a shower: It will invigorate your body thereby distracting you physically.
- Do some exercises: You can take a walk, run, go biking, climb, swim, or do yoga. During exercise, your mind is likely to think of something other than cutting.
- Seek healthy entertainment: Try watching non-violent movies on television.
- Listen to uplifting music: It will help you relax and make your mood better.
- Keep yourself busy: It’s important to stay active, as some people cut themselves out of boredom.
Do Things That Calm you
According to data collected from people who suffer from self-harm, teens sometimes cut themselves because they are agitated or angry. If that is the case for you, it will help if you do something calming whenever you feel the need to cut yourself.
Go to a Place Where you Can’t Cut yourself
If you feel the urge to cut, go to a place where it is difficult to do so. This can be a public place like the living room with your family, a coffee shop or out among your roommates. This makes it difficult for you to succumb to the urge. It might also make you feel better to be with people who support and love you.
Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing is a response that we can naturally take control of. Researchers have found that controlling your breath leaves positive effects on stress response, in this case the same response that is triggered when the urge for self-harm is felt. Learning fresh techniques may help you regain control of your triggers. Even Breathing is a technique that involves counting to five while inhaling, and then holding for five counts, before taking another five counts to exhale.
Use Relaxation Techniques
There are many relaxation techniques that can be used. One popular and useful one is an imagery exercise. Create an imaginary place that feels safe, somewhere you do not want to self-harm. Make an image in your mind that is peaceful or that reminds you of a memory you love or happy memory.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, peer pressure is the number one force behind teens engaging in dangerous and potentially deadly activities such as experimentation with drugs, the use of tobacco, underage drinking, distracted driving, and unprotected sex.
Parents naturally want to deter their children from any activity that may harm them mentally or physically, and that may prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Below are some recommendations for parents and teens from experts that deal with the problem on a daily basis in an effort to find solutions that work for all types of families.
Stephen Wallace, Senior Advisor to Students against Destructive Decisions, claims that talking to each other is the best thing to do. Wallace notes that his group’s efforts, and the efforts of other groups like his, have produced a substantial decrease in the use of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in teens.
Tom Hedrick with The Partnership for a Drug-Free America believes that parents outrank peer pressure in the minds of their children, but only if the parent accepts the fact that they really have a say in how their child behaves. Talks should to be frequent and non-accusatory. Simply asking a child about the pressures that they face shows a level of care and understanding that is worth more than all the shouting in the world.
Dr. Rachel Fleissner, a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, emphasizes that allowing a child to express their opinion is one of the easiest ways to get cooperation. The parent does not have to bend to the child’s will. Allowing a teen to express their opinion shows respect and demands the same in return.
Learn and Teach Relationship Skills
These experts also agree that teaching children how to evaluate people as potential friends is an invaluable life skill. Most teens, and even many parents, are not good at this. Attending a few classes on how to develop relationship skills helps parents and the teens find new ways to develop relationships with others and between themselves.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Dr. Fleissner also insists that parents can learn to deal with peer pressure by imagining what their child is experiencing. Role-playing can help promote understanding and can add some humor to a difficult situation.
Learn from your mistakes first. Teach your child to learn from when they have made a mistake and given in to peer pressure. Do not make the punishment for an infraction so severe that the child develops resentment toward you. Resentment creates an urge in your child to prove who is boss.
Teens can’t learn from you if you’re not there for them. It’s simple, you created this person and are responsible for them becoming the best they can be. Parents cannot afford to be selfish with their time.
It’s true that all parents will disagree with their children at times, and may even shout every now and then. However it’s best to remain as calm as possible in these situations, as getting too upset is not good for you. It is natural that your feelings and emotions will be somewhat hurt during these times. Realize that moms and dads get stressed too, and sometimes shout when they should not do so. This does not make it right, but it happens in every families.
But there is also shouting that is nonstop. It can seem like every time you turn around your parents are shouting. This is considered to be a form of abuse, whether one is a child or teen still living at home, or even if the person is a grown adult. That form of verbal abuse is never acceptable.
Forms of shouting can include scolding, yelling, swearing, insulting, blaming, threatening, criticizing, demeaning and ridiculing you. This behavior is unacceptable from parents. It is considered to be dangerous, as these types of fierce episodes can lead to parents becoming physically violent, a fact backed by studies showing that shouting leads to physical violence.
The emotional damage that shouting causes is long term. The child may feel inferior, have a lack of self-worth, and be continuously afraid. This is not a normal or a loving way for a child to live. Every child should be loved and valued, and shouting parents don’t provide this type of environment.
Any child still living at home who endures this type of abuse should talk to a counselor, a teacher, a leader in the church, a police officer, or someone they trust to get the help they need. Some kids may be able to speak with their parents to try and calm the situations down. However, if their parents continue their bad behavior the child may have to be removed from the home by Child Protective Services for the sake of their safety and sanity.
Sandy L. says, “I had to call the police on neighbors who were shouting at their kids all the time. It was hard to hear the shouting all the time and the kids were crying and complaining to me about how their parents were always shouting. I did the right thing. The police talked to the parents, but the parents continued on. I called the police a few more times. Eventually, the kids were removed from the home by Child Protective Services, because the parents just would not quit shouting at those dear kids.”
Now, if you are a grown adult and have parents who shout, you have to take steps to deal with the situation. You should remain as calm as possible. Do not shout back, that will only make matters worse.
You are not to be a doormat. You are not to put up with all that shouting. You have every right to tell your parents that you do not accept their behavior. If they calm down, fine, but if they don’t then you should leave. No one has the right to disrupt the peace and shout at you.
If your parents are always shouting at you and there is no resolution in sight, then you do have a right to break off all communication with them. Denise W. says, “You have to keep your peace of mind and sanity. All that shouting will only steal it from you. Living life in peace and quiet without your parents is better than living with your parents in your life who shout and cause turmoil all the time. I had to separate from my parents for this reason. In the beginning, it was hard to do. But in the end, it was worth it. Also, I had to think of my safety, because my parents became violent easily. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.”
Do keep in mind that as a teen who is struggling with their parents from time to time, realize that moms and dads get stressed too. They are not perfect either. Try your best to talk to them about how you feel. Maybe even get a trusted friend of the family to sit in on your chat to try to help resolve issues between you. Keeping the lines of communication open and positive can eventually build a great relationship with your parents.
Bill M. says, “My mom and dad have had issues where they shouted. It bothered me, but I talked to them and then they said they were sorry. I was surprised that just by talking to them about it, the shouting has really been reduced a lot. It this makes a better situation for all of us.”read more
It is truly important for teens to be given many opportunities to build and grow their confidence; for then they will be able to become teens who are able to lead in different activities and groups with confidence.
One thing that helps teens to be able to gain confidence is to be able to learn well. Students who do not feel confident about their learning ability seem to be more less likely to participate in answering questions and in taking other leadership roles in groups and activities outside the classroom. This is not always the case. But studies have shown that this happens quite frequently.
But teachers can help to instill confidence in their students by implementing various creative teaching strategies. Teachers indeed do possess a very powerful influence over students for good. Therefore a good teacher will do his or her best to help their students to be confident and proud of themselves and their accomplishments.
This does not mean that a teacher is trying to make students obnoxious or braggarts or arrogant. This means the students are rather becoming healthy, well rounded individuals who are happy and who are able to accept themselves, which are important qualities to have in order for students to be successful and also to even become successful as adults.
Research shows that indeed teachers play a vital role in the success of how well students do in life after they leave school. Students often reflect on how teachers really impacted their lives.
Emmanuel G. says, “I had moved to a school from a whole different state. It was a hard time for me, because my dad had died before we moved and we left all our relatives and friends behind. I had bad grades at my old school. I missed everyone so much, but my mom had no choice to move to this new city in order to fulfill her new job promotion in order to be able to supply financially for us six kids. Boy, was it hard! But then there was my teacher that year, who made all the difference. She really stands out. And it is several years since I have graduated now. She really helped me with confidence, my grades and so much. She even sent cards to her students on birthdays and holidays. That is how much she invested in us as her students and it made a real difference. Now I help a lot of youth at the youth community center and I can say it is because of the impact that my teacher made on my life.”
Teens, when your teacher tells you to try again, your teacher is not trying to be too hard on you and is not trying to be mean. Your teacher cares and is trying to help you to be your best. Your teacher believes in you.
You must believe in yourself too. Trying, not quitting and doing your best will help you to be able to lead with confidence.read more