Bullying: The Unfortunate Truth

By Kayli Nichols Psy 221

The Facts

There are a variety of differences in terms of bullying among the sexes. For example, "Boys, typically engage in direct, overt bullying behaviors, including physical assaults or verbal taunts and threats" (Sassu, 2004). Whereas girls differ slightly in their approach. They are more sneaky and manipulative. For example, "Girls often use more indirect, discreet means to bully others, such as intentionally leaving someone out of activities or spreading rumors" (Sassu, 2004).

Many individuals feel that bullying is the natural process of adolescent development. However, this is extremely false and leads to much bullying being ignored in the process. Bullying is preventable, but it takes parents, teachers, and students getting involved to help end the trauma. The unfortunate truth is that bullying, if let go, will lead to depression and low self esteem as a result.


Bullying is a complex form of aggression in which one child, routinely aggresses against one or more habitual victims (Boyd & Bee, 2015). Bullying is often accompanied with other antisocial behaviors and disorders. One such disorder is the conduct disorder. Within the conduct disorder, "A child's social and/or academic functioning is impaired by patterns of antisocial behavior that include bullying, destruction of property, theft, deceitfullness, and/or violations of social rules" (Boyd & Bee, 2015). The bullies often use people and environment as factors in why they begin to bully others.

The bullying child, often has aggression due to certain events, they feel the need to attack another child to release this aggression. Therefore, they often seek out a weaker, quieter child to harass.

Warning Signs

Questions to ask:

  • Does my child fear going to school? Is my child anxious about school? Has my child been out sick a lot? Does my child often complain about not feeling well as a way of avoiding school? (Sassu, 2004).
  • Does my child seem to have low self-esteem or selfconfidence? Does my child have difficulty being assertive? (Sassu, 2004).
  • Does my child seem unhappy or insecure? Does my child talk about “nobody liking her” or “not having any friends?” (Sassu, 2004).
  • Does my child speak about other children as “stupid” or use other negative terms to describe others? Does my child talk about certain children “deserving” bad things to happen to them or showing little concern for others in bad situations? (Sassu, 2004).

Social and Emotional Results

There are two types of rejected children:

  • Withdrawn/rejected children realize that they are disliked by their peers (Boyd & Bee, 2015).
  • Aggressive/rejected children are often disruptive, uncooperative, bossy, and usually believe that their peers like them (Boyd & Bee, 2015).

Many of these children find it difficult to control their emotions. They may feel angry and severely depressed at the same time. They do not necessarily know how to control these feelings. Therefore, they often feel disconnected and alone.


There are often three types of individuals involved in the bullying process. These individuals include:

  • Kids who Assist: These children may not start the bullying or lead in the bullying behavior, but serve as an "assistant" to children who are bullying. These children may encourage the bullying behavior and occasionally join in. (Stopbullying.gov, 2015).
  • Kids who Reinforce: These children are not directly involved in the bullying behavior but they give the bullying an audience. They will often laugh or provide support for the children who are engaging in bullying. This may encourage the bullying to continue. (Stopbullying.gov, 2015).
  • Outsiders: These children remain separate from the bullying situation. They neither reinforce the bullying behavior nor defend the child being bullied. Some may watch what is going on but do not provide feedback about the situation to show they are on anyone’s side. Even so, providing an audience may encourage the bullying behavior. These kids often want to help, but don’t know how. (Stopbullying.gov, 2015).

Outsiders or "bystanders," can do some extremely great things to help someone who is being bullied. They can befriend the person being bullied, and try to cheer them up. This will help the child being bullied to form a connection with someone and not feel so alone. Bystanders can also contact a teacher or someone in charge and get the appropriate authority figure to help.


The best way to end bullying is to get individuals involved through education and planning. Comprehensive plans need to be set into play by school systems, which educate parents and students about the horrors of bullying and the consequences. For example, "School personnel can do their part by imposing strict policies against bullying and implementing school-wide prevention programs. However, if parents suspect or learn of bullying behavior, then there are several things they can do to intervene" (Sassu, 2004).

A great way for parents to get involved is through communication. For example, "Teach your child that telling on those who bully should not be considered tattling, and that everyone is a victim when the bully is allowed to treat others badly. Let your child know that by reporting bullying help will come and that support will come from you and from the school staff" (Sassu, 2004).

One of the most important thing for children to remember is that bullying is not a laughing matter. When other children laugh, it encourages the child who is bullying to continue this harmful behavior, because they are getting attention that they enjoy. Education is the key to ending intolerance.


Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2015). Lifespan development (Seventh ed.). Up Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

The Roles Kids Play. (2015, January 1). Retrieved from http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/roles-kids-play/index.html

Sassu, K. (2004). Bullies and Victims: Information for Parents. Behavior Problems, 1-3. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/resources/handouts/revisedpdfs/bulliesvictims.pdf