Jenson, Brisson, Bender, and Williford (2013) define bullying as an act of relational or physical aggression during which children or adolescents exert influence or power over others negatively. Therefore, bullying has been of great concern among parents, educators and school administrators. Dominguez (2013) has found that bullying persists irrespective of a number of formal programs, which target bullying in the learning environment. Supportive classroom and school communities engage brave children and adolescents in befriending, consoling and encouraging victims of bullying. Some children and adolescents tend to be antisocial to others in various environments, including classroom, youth clubs, sports team, school hallway, home, or group setting. Studies have shown that many adolescents and children exercise bullying for the purposes of self-promotion, entertainment, and in order to raise their own social status (Dominguez, 2013). Some investigators consider that peers, who bully others, lack social, emotional and psychological skills. However, the empirical evidences have been against the notion of skill deficit (Jenson et al., 2013). Many bullies have social skills, which they apply in manipulation of peer relationships. Findings of many studies have suggested that students, who bully others, possess both aggressive tendencies and effective social skills (Jenson et al., 2013). Therefore, bullies perform their actions intentionally with the aim of achieving and maintaining power and authority.
Research shows that transition between childhood and early adolescence has the characteristic of significant social and personal insecurity and uncertainty (Jenson et al., 2013). Yong individuals encounter a number of emotional and physical changes during the transition. Therefore, many students consider that moving from elementary school to middle school challenges them significantly (Jenson et al., 2013). A majority of individuals navigate rapid social, physical and emotional changes during the transition into middle school. Some students encounter difficulties in establishing new friendships and peer group identity in the course of the transition. Peer victimization and bullying incidents have a close relationship with the difficulties in forming peer relationships and friendships. Findings from a variety of longitudinal studies show many incidents of victimization and bullying during early childhood and late childhood (Jenson et al., 2013). Evidence shows that some students develop a stable aggressive behavior during their early adolescent or late childhood, thereby bullying others. Students bullying their fellow students have a high likelihood of continuing with their bullying behavior in the middle school. However, studies have revealed that victimization and bullying incidents tend to decrease significantly two years before students graduate from their middle school childhood (Jenson et al., 2013). Therefore, the knowledge regarding the nature, onset, and persistence of victimization and bullying will be helpful in protecting students with physical weakness from bullies.
Studies have shown that the devastating effects of bullying continue to disturb both bullies and their victims into adulthood (We & Wolke, 2013). Bullies and their victims have a high likelihood of portraying psychiatric problems, such as suicidality, depression and panic disorder, in adulthood. Other problems that bullying victims portray include anxiety, low levels of social competence and self-esteem. However, researchers have found that many individuals view bullying as among the rites of passage that are harmless and necessary for the growth and development of children (We & Wolke, 2013). Psychiatrists, clinicians, social workers and psychologists should consider peer relationships as extremely significant in determining their problems. For instance, mental health professional should ask young patients whether are experiencing problems with their peers at school.
It is evident that bullying can be destructive to the extent of causing psychiatric disorders, as well death due to suicidal thoughts. Bullying victims are likely to experience emotional disorders during adulthood. Victims of bullying and their bullies have a high likelihood of thinking or planning suicide. Problems that result from bullying can cause great financial and emotional costs to society (We & Wolke, 2013). School personnel and health professionals can assess and monitor bullying, thereby apply effective interventions to reduce victimization in a timely manner. Early interventions will reduce health costs and human suffering, as well as create a favorable learning environment for adolescents and children, who will develop learning difficulties due to bullying (We & Wolke, 2013).
Research has shown that gender is among the factors that determine occurrence and extent of victimization and bullying among children and adolescents (We & Wolke, 2013). However, the basis of gender differences is the nature of bullying. For instance, boys often report high levels of bullying and victimization, which involve kicking, pushing or hitting (Dominguez, 2013). Therefore, male bullies have a high likelihood of harming their victims. It has been evident that relational aggression takes place among boys and girls equally. Physical strength is another factor that determines occurrence of bullying among children and adolescents. Children and adolescents tend to exercise an aggression against young and weak counterparts (Dominguez, 2013). Therefore, differences in age and physical strength of students within a classroom can encourage bullying. Teachers and parents can be able to make correct judgments based on age differences when victims of bullying report bullying incidents. School administrators should protect young and weak students from bullying incidents, because they are vulnerable to bullying (Dominguez, 2013).
Researchers have found that various factors, such as drug abuse, role modeling, and the presence of irresponsible bystanders enhance relentless bullying (Dominguez, 2013). Male students often abuse drugs more than their female counterparts do. The influences of drugs control their actions because of euphoric effects. Therefore, drug use and abuse make youths develop the feelings of dominating others in terms of physical strength. Parents and teachers should identify and punish students who use and abuse drugs. Some youth may develop bullying behaviors from their friends, who serve as the role models. Children and adolescents learn from each other through daily interaction (Dominguez, 2013). Therefore, parents and teachers should identify the characteristics of various student groups. Some student groups nurture bullying behaviors by planning how to attack the next victims successfully. Studies have shown that responsible bystanders can be helpful in identifying and reporting bullying cases to ensure that they prevent further bullying (Dominguez, 2013). Therefore, the presence of irresponsible bystanders will enhance the persistence of bullying among children and adolescents.
In conclusion, bullying and victimization are the harmful behaviors that take place among children and adolescents. The incidents have been occurring within school environment or at home in which other children or adolescents have more physical strength than others do. The difference on physical strengths has been the basis of bullying, especially when weak children fail to acquire protection. It has been evident from studies that negative effects of bullying, such as anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other psychological problems, persist into adulthood (We & Wolke, 2013). Bullies and their victims have a likelihood of experiencing the psychological problems for the rest of their lives. Research has shown that the transition from intermediate school to the middle school contributes to the occurrence of bullying incidents due to difficulties in the establishment of relationships (Jenson et al., 2013). Studies have shown that drug abuse, role modeling, and the presence of irresponsible bystanders are some of the factors that enhance bullying in schools and at home (Dominguez, 2013). Teachers and parents should monitor and control behaviors of their children in a frequent manner to avoid incidents of bullying and victimization.