HomeNewsArticle Display

Break the cycle of bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) -- Bullying is not just a part of life that stops in the schoolyard; it can have consequences that stretch into adulthood and impact people for the rest of their lives.

According to the National Center for Education, 1 in 4 children will experience bullying in their lives, and it comes in many forms: social, verbal, physical and even cyberbullying. But just because it exists and has remained for a long time doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever.

“We can prevent bullying,” said Maj. Joshua Duncan, a pediatrician and the chief resident for General Preventive Medicine Residency with the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. “We can change these behaviors, and we can prevent some of the consequences we see.”

Some of those consequences include an impact on healthy behavior for children who bully and children who get bullied. For both, there can be psychological effects.

“A lot of people who have experienced bullying will develop mental health disorders like anxiety or depression,” Duncan said. “Being bullied also puts them at risk for suicide as well as developing psychoses.”

He added that children who are bullied while involved in sports or other physical activities can be at a greater risk for developing obesity.

“This can be a form of social bullying where they’re the last person picked on the team or nobody wants to include them,” he said. “That causes them to withdraw. They tend to avoid those kinds of experiences. They tend to avoid physical activity because they've been bullied.”

Duncan also said children who bully can develop many of the same mental health issues, and they are more prone to engage in certain activities like substance abuse or exhibit criminal behavior as they age. They also can continue abusive relationships later on in life.

Duncan said, for this reason, it’s important for adults, including parents and teachers and other authority figures, to learn to recognize the signs associated with bullying. He also said children tend not to report bullying because they want to be independent and don’t want to be judged by their peers.

Some of the signs for children who are being bullied include unexplained injuries, psychosomatic symptoms like stomach aches or headaches, difficulty sleeping, and bed-wetting episodes. These children can be withdrawn and refuse to participate in social activities or sports. Some of them may even run away or attempt to injure themselves.

“These signs aren’t always specific to bullying,” Duncan said. “But in cases where any of those symptoms are present that should raise a flag for not just parents but also primary care providers and teachers, too.”

There are three things Duncan recommends for countering bullying: ignore, stand up and get help.

The first step stems from the fact that bullying is often one person trying to create or take advantage of a real or perceived power imbalance. Often ignoring a bully’s advances removes the power he’s trying to wield.

“That doesn’t always work,” Duncan said. “In that case, I would encourage children to stand up both figuratively and literally. Standing up tall and looking the bully in the eye levels the playing field of the power imbalance.” He said he encourages parents to rehearse firm statements with their children so they have something definitive to say.

The last step is getting help, and that means finding other people to be on your team.

“One of the best ways to prevent bullying is by roping in bystanders. By encouraging your children to build strong relationships with other kids, they're going to have friends who are going to stand up for them. It's going to equalize that power imbalance,” he said.

For Airmen whose children might be getting bullied or doing the bullying, there are several things they can do to break that cycle. The first and most important step is to recognize the signs of bullying mentioned above. After that, parents can take action by engaging with the school. Most schools have anti-bullying policies with staff that are trained on how to intervene.

“Your child has a right to attend school in a safe environment that’s also supportive,” Duncan said. “That’s really what most schools want for your child. So, I’d engage with the schools early on when you know your child is being bullied.”

He added parents can also talk to their pediatrician.

“Pediatricians have specific training on how to address this, and they have some tools they can provide you,” he said. “Additionally, because we know there can be health consequences of bullying, they can also further evaluate these children who are being bullied or bullying other children to see if any treatment is indicated.”

There are several resources available on bullying. The first place to start is with the school and local governments because both should have anti-bullying policies in place that are worth knowing. BullyPolice.org is a watchdog group that lists state policies on combatting and preventing bullying.

Engage

Twitter
Fueling the fight. #ReadyAF 😎 https://t.co/P21eDRLvXE
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Daniel Hulter & Austin Wiggins — appreciate the time and look forward to continuing the conversation...and of course,…
Twitter
RT @thejointstaff: #GenMilley: Today we are in the middle of a fundamental change in the character of war. Partnerships w/ industry will pr…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Airmen are our most valuable resource, and the #Airmen and their families at @HAFB are no exception. I’m grateful for the…
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: “Modernization is a must to ensure that safety, security, and reliability don’t erode and put our strategic deterrence…
Twitter
#AccelerateChange Action Order D - Design Implementation. "We must learn how to be agile and adapt to the future."… https://t.co/XNPdYx31QJ
Twitter
.@TeamEglin successfully flew an F-15E Strike Eagle with six JDAMs on a single side of the aircraft, showcasing a c… https://t.co/Ppn4xl4eVm
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Twin Eagles ✈️✈️ @usairforce F-15E Strike Eagles fly over Southwest Asia. https://t.co/wF06SAu5jJ
Twitter
RT @NellisAFB: Welcome to @NellisAFB @GenCQBrownJr. We look forward to introducing you and Mrs. Brown to our fine Airmen and families as yo…
Twitter
#ICYMI The #AirForce Uniform Office has finalized the design of the new Physical Training Gear uniform, or PTG, and… https://t.co/PT9teXlWM3
Twitter
Two #AirForce Installation and Mission Support Center units recently won Gears of Government awards for delivering… https://t.co/cZFtpnjjU0
Twitter
The @AFThunderbirds and the @BlueAngels conducted the 2nd Annual Joint Training @NAFECPAO, to trade the best pract… https://t.co/6OvatQ4nQn
Twitter
Airmen and Guardians in some career fields will now have more dress and appearance options with upcoming uniform ch… https://t.co/bbHs3w56G0
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: #GBSD will provide the U.S. a resilient and flexible modern ICBM deterrent capability for decades to come, while assuring…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Facts. Have a fantastic Wednesday! https://t.co/2rcUdurEaw
Twitter
Registration is now open for the virtual 2021 Air Force Learning Professionals Consortium, happening from March 23-… https://t.co/mDjHSbb1wc
Twitter
In line with @GenCQBrownJr's #AccelerateChange or Lose Action Order A: Airmen, the Department of the Air Force has… https://t.co/vePyf1NMaS
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Met with GBSD leaders @HAFB today. Our nuclear weapons are critical to a safe, secure, and reliable strategic deterrent. …
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,331,093
Follow Us