Performing artists can do such a great job capturing human experiences and emotions and turning them into beautiful songs we can relate to. Think about Taylor Swift—a woman who has become a household name—has risen to stardom while demonstrating that we all face similar experiences whether happy or painful. Her hit song, “Mean,” which describes being picked on by a harsh critic, has become an anthem for those who’ve been bullied, showing that no matter who you are, unkind words and actions can affect you. And, as the song details, it hurts.
But bullying goes beyond teasing and cruel words and actions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying is defined as, “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners, that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance, and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.”
The Effects of Bullying
The consequences of bullying can be devastating and, in some cases, can last long after the bullying has stopped. Research shows that bullying can lead to depression and may continue for many years—even decades—after the bullying has stopped.
We all have a role in putting a stop to bullying, but do you know how to identify the effects of bullying—even if you don’t witness or hear about an incident? According to STOMP Out Bullying, there are seven common ways bullying affects students:
- Low self-esteem
- Physical illness
- Suicidal thoughts
Many of these effects can lead to avoidance of school and social situations, declining grades, changes in eating habits, self-isolation, and in some cases, suicide or retaliation. According to a report on disrupted plots of violence on K-12 schools by the U.S. Secret Service, nearly one-half of the plotters were bullied by their classmates.
What can you do?
There are ways for you to intervene—starting at home. Teaching your child the importance of kindness and the impact that bullying can be a great way to start. For practical tips on how to discuss bullying with your child and what steps you can take to prevent or stop bullying, check out these helpful resources:
It’s our responsibility to our children to instill the importance of being caring and inclusive to those around us. In “Mean,” Swift sings, “but the cycle ends right now ’cause you can’t lead me down that road.” These powerful words show us that bullying can stop with every one of us. We don’t need to continue the cycle—we can work together to build a more compassionate, kinder community.