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Latest news and trends related to child development as well as social and emotional learning.

Why Bullying Needs to Be Addressed at a Younger Age

Jonathan Hinshaw - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Children are the key to the future, they are the ones who will be leading, employing, working, and creating great change in the years to come. The reality is that since children are the future of the world, we need to do all that we can in order to protect them from forces that might otherwise hinder their abilities as loving and compassionate human beings and as adults in the future. It has been shown that children absorb much more information than adults, and this is why it is vitally important that the younger the child, the more important it is that they are exposed to a positive environment full of trust, understanding and an immense amount of security. With the right amount of security, trust, love, and positive nuances, children are able to lead lives that are full and best of all, happy. But, even more so, the reason that children must be exposed to great things early on is because of the fact that they are the key to the future, and the world and humanity depends on them, in a large sense of the word. The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, and while it may seem like many years until children grow into adults. Adults with responsibilities, jobs, and bills, the years will pass by quickly since the world is an ongoing, changing organism that depends on humanity to live among each other as best as possible.

The bottom line is that problems arise when children and young adults don't feel good about themselves and are bullied for the way they look, for the way they think, or for the way they act. As of late, bullying has taken on a new and much more antagonistic form. The respect that was deemed a usual occurrence between individuals decades ago seems to be lost in many cases today. Manners are beginning to wane and disrespect and outright negativity seems to be taking over. While this is a problem for all, adults and children included, the main issue seems to occur when children are bullied by others when they are in "supposed" safe environments such as in school or on the playground. When children are bullied, they are extremely naive to the idea of what exactly they are feeling and what specifically is happening to them. If they unfortunately get bullied, children might fall into early stages of depression, sadness, and self-worthlessness. Children being bullied is not a joke and the act of bullying should never be taken lightly because the scars that are left on children will turn into even bigger scars when these children turn into adults. Negativity and sadness will consume even the most happy child when bullied, and it is difficult for adults to even remedy the situation once a child has been bullied. So, it goes to show, we as adults, must do everything in our power to stop this in-senseless act of bullying. We must take responsibility for the children around us, especially our own children, and we must realize that bullying should never be tolerated and if so, can and will lead to horrible repercussions.

It is true that major strides have been taken with the bullying issue. There is at least a discussion about bullying between people, and a few studies that have looked into the bullying issue as a whole to try and remedy the situation before it gets out of hand. But, a main aspect about bullying that makes it very difficult to fix is that usually bullying occurs when adults are not even around, usually at school, or on the sports field, or when a group of children are playing. Many adults might not even realize that their own child is being bullied since they simply do not see it with their own eyes. Sadly, many children do not even recognize when they are actually being bulled themselves. Many children who have never been taught about bullying or witnessed bullying first-hand might not know how to handle bullying when it happens to them, it might scare them, or they might refuse to discuss it with anyone because they feel very hurt, embarrassed, or sad that it happened to them. The question goes to show, what can we, as adults do to help with the bullying problem that seems to be ongoing in schools and when groups of children spend time together? Is there anything that can actually be done to effectively get rid of bullying? Thankfully, there are a few things that adults can do which are proven to at least, start by recognizing bulling for what it is, and then taking specific steps to stop it altogether.

As a parent, or a teacher, or a friend or family member, it is great to simply sit down with your child and let them know what bullying is and how to recognize it. Although, this might seem confusing to children, especially if they are very young, it is necessary in order to focus on explaining to children what bullying is all about. Children need to know if and when it happens to them so they can be prepared and handle it accordingly and not be taken by surprise. It is always better for children to be prepared and ready than to be confused and vulnerable. After discussing with your child what bullying is, it is then important to ask them directly if they have ever been bullied by anyone. If they don't know how to answer this question, then take them at their word and don't press the issue. But, if they have expressed that they have been bullied, then it is vital to take necessary action to reduce or omit this bullying as much as possible. It goes to show that sometimes there are specific "bullies" who frequently bully other children. Usually, a "bully" will bully many children at once, and on a consistent basis. If your child does know the name of a specific bully, then it is best to talk to that child's parents or teacher. There is no reason to let a "bully" get away with bullying any other human being.

It is a shame to admit that the bullying problem seems to be getting worse, and not better, even though some strides have taken place. There are consistently news stories that are coming out that deal with bullying directly and it is painful to know that so many children are being bullied on a consistent basis. There have been stories where children have actually committed suicide because they were bullied about their sexuality or gender preference. Aside from ruining a child's future, bullying can also ruin their current as well. This just goes to show that children must be protected in terms of bullying. Adults must stay aware of any signs that their child is being bullied and take immediate action if they are. Adults also must teach their children that bullying someone else is never okay and is not tolerated whatsoever. Once communication starts, effective action should be able to take place. Children need to hear from adults that bullying is wrong before they ever take the step to do it themselves. Children also need to see that bullying is wrong, meaning adults need to set a good example by showing children how to behave and how important it is to use compassion, love,  and respect at all times when around others. Respect yourself and respect others, there is no tolerance for bullying and it needs to stop once and for all. It's time to bring RCU into the classroom and teach the next generation how to resolve future conflicts and respect one another.

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