A study published in JAMA Psychiatry reports that the effects of being bullied are long-lasting for both victims and bullies.
The study assessed 1420 participants 4 to 6 times between ages 9 and 16 for both bullying and being bullied.
After taking into account family hardships and childhood psychiatric problems, the study found that victims had a higher prevalence of agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, and panic disorder as young adults .
Both victims and bullies were at increased risk for depression and panic disorder into young adulthood.
The conclusion that being bullied has long-lasting effects for both victims and bullies begs the question, What can we do to stop it?
Talking to your kids about bullying is important, but so is setting an example of how to treat others with respect and kindness at all times.
Our actions speak louder than our words, and our children are watching and will imitate our behavior.
Kids often play multiple roles depending on the situation and the type of bullying. A bully in one situation can be a victim in another. There can also be kids who assist, defend, or reinforce.
Try not to use labels when talking to kids about bullying. Refer to the roles as “the child who bullied” and “the child who was bullied” instead of using the label of “bully” or “victim.”
Using labels can reinforce certain conduct, making it seem unchangeable, as well as limit a full understanding of the many roles children play in different situations.
Keep the lines of communication open with your child and discuss potential scenarios and how they can respond.
While we cannot accompany or protect our children at all times, we can equip them with tools so they know how to respond and feel safe reporting incidents of bullying.
Find out more at StopBullying.gov.