There’s a lot of research on the damage that bullying does to the victims. But experts say that bullying severely damages the bullies, too!
Clinical psychologist Dr. William Copeland followed more than 14,000 kids from grade school through their twenties. Not surprisingly, the victims of bullying were 3 times more likely have panic attacks and feelings of depression that continued well into their 20s, that’s compared to people who were never bullied.
But get this: The bullies were 5 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior, abuse drugs, and be arrested for acts of violence, which can lead to a lifetime of problems.
Another surprising finding: 20-percent of bullying victims become bullies themselves! Because they don’t have good social skills and see bullying, and picking on other kids, as a way to be more popular. But, those kids have it the worst as adults. They’re 10 times more likely to suffer from panic attacks – and 5 times as likely to be depressed.
What’s the fix here?
If you’re a teacher, encourage students to speak up when they witness bullying. Because the best way to combat it is through the bystanders.
Dr. Copeland says bullies count on an audience that’s too intimidated to report their behavior. In fact, most bullying DOESN’T happen one-on-one – there’s almost always a witness - because that’s how the bully feels powerful. So if schools can get witnesses to report what’s happening, they can stop it.
And if it’s your kid who’s doing the bullying – take them to a counselor to get to the root of their behavior before it affects them for life.