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Effects of Childhood Bullying

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Childhood bullying has significant influence on the development of kids. Some of the effects associated with childhood bullying are immediately revealed while others are shown in the long term.  In most cases, the developing child finds it hard to cope with the bullying effects in the daily activities. It affects the way children build their relationships with other peers as well as with other people that are younger or older than they are. Therefore, it is necessary to stop any bullying activities on kids as they bring about poor child development and in some cases, it can lead to death.  Many kids encounter the bullying problem, in spite of their personal value or background. All kids are vulnerable to bullying by their parents, peers, teachers and all that are in their developing environment. Being enlightened on how bullying affects the development of kids is an essential step, which promotes effective responses to curbing the issue. Bullying builds problems for kids while at home, at playgrounds, and at school. This research includes discussion of the effects of childhood bullying on the development of kids (Levine & Munsch, 2010).

Childhood Bullying Concept

For better understanding of childhood bullying effects, it is necessary to understand its concept. Some childhood bullying activities are never considered as bullying, but the fact is they do affect kids’ development. Childhood bullying involves aggressive actions persistently and frequently committed to kids due to their less powerful nature. Childhood bullying can be categorized in different ways, which include verbal, gestural, physical and rational bullying.  Verbal bullying involves the use of direct verbal insults, calling of names and use of unfair criticism to kids. At the same time, verbal abuse can be indirect upon influencing another individual to criticize a child. In some cases, malicious rumors can be spread against kids, which are also a form of indirect verbal bullying. The form of gesture bullying happens when they are threatened, or through the use of obscene gesture by others. Intentional turning away from kids or averting from gaze is also gesture bullying. Physical bullying involves actions such as striking, use of weapons, indirect hiding of kids’ belongings, and assaulting kids in front of other people. Rational bullying involves creation of groups of people against child. It can also be indirect upon persuading a group to exclude kids in their activities.

Bullying activities have gone far beyond moral frames, when kids are harassed sexually. Sexual bullying of kids falls in the four categories of bullying. On physical means, kids may be enticed or be forced to have sex with people that have physical power over them. It also involves touching of their genitalia. It can also be verbal by, when a person uses unwanted comments to kids which have some sexual relationship, either on a written form or spoken. Gesture sexual bullying, happens when there is the use of offensive gestures such as fingers, or throwing suspicious kisses to kids. Sexual bullying is very sensitive. Kids’ caregivers, parents and teachers should work together to avoid any signs of its existence. Parents should have the courage to discuss it with their children. Therefore, childhood bullying is considered as a deliberate exercise where kids are viewed as potential victims due to their vulnerable nature and weaknesses. It is intended to exert pressure, to hurt or else undermine and put down kids.

Psychological Effects of Bullying

Childhood bullying affects the development of kids’ psychology. Victimized kids show psychological problems, predominantly in relation to depression and the nervous breakdown. Eating disorders are believed to have some roots in the psychological effects of bullying, which normally happens during the time that kids are being bullied or after that. Psychosomatic issues also develop through bullying and affect both sexes (Rigby, 2003). They include body complaints which are not related to any physical cause. For instance, consistent headaches and stomachaches appear as soon as the school day begins. When the kids are allowed not to attend their school, they normally spend the remaining part of the day without much problem or sickness signs.  Once kids start experiencing such behaviors, it is necessary to find out whether there are bullying activities happening in school.

Sleeping Problems Associated with Childhood Bullying

Good sleep is necessary to the growth and development of kids. Bullied kids show different types of sleep disorders. These kids find difficulties when falling asleep and in many cases stay a long time awake. They also have difficulties with staying asleep, and they would rather play games, or just sit on the bed instead of sleeping. Nightmares are very common to the children who are bullied. Some of them do not experience problems to fall asleep, but they normally experience nightmares compared to their counterpart, non-victimized kids. The nightmares are vivid and sometimes menacing on the activities, which have connections to bullying or not. Victimized kids develop fear when they fall asleep, and they would rather sleep while clinging to someone else. They always like to have the lights on, in fear that something terrible might occur to them in darkness. Bed-wetting is very common to bullied kids, an aspect that lowers their self-esteem.

Suicidal and Social Effects of Childhood Bullying

Research has showed that suicidal rates are higher among the bullied kids compared to their counterparts. Regarding that, the victimized kids think more about committing suicide than their peers do. This effect is highly sensitive as some kids do attempt committing suicide and others die in the process. Victimized kids find themselves in social status, which is different and lower than others are. In a way, social exclusion increases the chances of victimizing kids, but peer rejection increases when kids are bullied. In return, kids live in loneliness while others feel abandoned. These kids are also very quiet and they are very peaceful when left alone. Kids develop low self-esteem, and they fail to do activities that are easily done by their peerS due to the lack of courage. They normally think that they are inferior (Pressley & McCormick, 2007).

Schooling Problems Effects of Childhood Bullying

Bullied kids have a tendency of experiencing problems on their academic achievements. Frequent absenteeism is very common to the bullied kids. As stated earlier, many kids report cases of headaches and stomachaches, which lead to school absenteeism. When children are bullied by teachers or other schoolmates, they would rather stay at home where they find love. The victimized kids tend to avoid some parts in school, where they are likely to interact with others, such as rest rooms.  Playing is very important for child development. However, bullied kids tend to hide themselves when others go to play, or others fail to include them in their games. They miss a very important aspect of life because playing does not only promote physical well-being but also relaxation of mind. These kids are always scared and have a lot of doubt about what would happen to them. All these issues experienced by these kids make the learning process difficult for them and create a lot of inconveniences. Poor performance attained by these kids due to the underlying factors, increases bullying actions by their peers, teachers or caregivers. Therefore, it is believed that many school dropouts were at one point bullied in their school life. All kids irrespective of their social backgrounds have rights to experience safety and feel the sense about security while at school.

Physical Effects of Childhood Bullying

Bullying effects are associated more with psychological consequences rather than with physical effects. This leads to physical symptoms associated with bullying being ignored. It is clear that physical symptoms of the childhood bullying, interfere with everyday life enjoyment of kids. In relation to this, aggressive behaviors displayed to kids for a long period, often result in the sturdy advancement of physical disorders. Bowel syndrome with irritable nature, urgency need for kids to visit bathroom has more relationship to stress by the bullied kids. Other physical developments happen without the kid being directly involved, but the display of these physical symptoms affects kids’ development. Loss of hair is a physical consequence, which is experienced by the victimized kids. Different forms of mutilation occur especially when children are driven to self-harm as a way of responding to bullying.                                   

Effects of childhood bullying whether physical or psychological tend to take charge, in almost all areas in the development and kids experience. The effects are highly debilitating in all the aspects of life. These children find it hard to meet their potential in different parts of life. They often believe that they have no potential while others feel that their potential was long ago destroyed. It is clear that children respond to the bullying effects differently, thus understanding all the effects involved is very important. The children, who engage themselves in bullying activities, suffer some consequences in their development. Deprived psychological behavior attained after a long time of exhibited abusive actions, worsens when the bullying goes undeterred. These children also face high chances of the development of delinquent behaviors, whereas some have found themselves in jails or receiving juvenile detention. Children who are bullied possess some physical or emotional weakness. Intense childhood bullying reduces the well-being of kids due to anxiety, life uncertainty and depression.


Since childhood bullying affects the development of kids. It is necessary to stop it once it is realized. When dealing with the bullying effects on the victimized kid, it is also necessary to develop ways, which would help the perpetrators involved in it. This will not only reduce the bullying effects to the children, but it will also promote development. It is crucial to recognize the potential damages, which develop as a result of both psychological and physical. Childhood bullying has been in many cases considered to be a natural phenomenon, an aspect that needs to be changed in people’s mind. It is believed that in a way it forms kids’ character, but the research shows that it does more harm than good. Therefore, there is a need to educate all parties involved in kid’s environment. It is also important to deal with bullying incidents upon realizing them.

It is also recommended for the society to change its perception and attitude towards bullying. Aggressive behaviors stand little chances to reduce if the society fails to address childhood bullying. Adults and children possess unequal powers in the daily life and in adult-child relationship. Therefore, it is important for all child caregivers, either in school or at home, to always bear that concept in mind. The control exerted to children as a way of discipline, has in many ways turned to childhood bullying (Levine & Munsch, 2010). Creation of anti-bullying policy to children is necessary to completely stop bullying activities. It is also a method of encouraging children to report bullying behaviors openly and without fear. Therefore, kids are also likely to believe that those in authority have powers to protect them. Since some bullying behaviors emanate from children, it is important to teach kids the acceptable behaviors. Supervising kids who are aggressive is an important way to prevent bullying among children. Children portray bullying characteristics at the tender age. Thus, it is important to provide them with additional resources. This will reduce the risk of involving themselves in bullying activities, which are likely to affect their development. Discouraging childhood bullying behaviors is necessary in all learning institutions. For that reason, teachers should be keen to recognize bullying activities and stop them.


In conclusion, childhood bullying affects the kids’ development, an aspect that cannot be ignored.  Development of low self-esteem is very common to the victims, whether the bullying actions and effects are unaddressed or when the curbing ways fail. During kids’ development, they believe in the bad comments addressed to them as part of their lives. In some instances, they end up behaving in relation to the comments made. The bullies take this as an advantage where they become motivated to continue their abusive behaviors (Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Education and Skills Committee, 2007). These kids develop low confidence during the time of bully or the entire child’s life. Bullying promotes hopelessness and worthlessness especially when kids tend the actions supposed to curb the bullying behavior as futile.

It is important to recognize that behaviors, which lead to childhood bullying, are not obvious as expected. Most of the bullying actions take place in the absence of adults and most victimized kids fail to report the incidences due to the reprisal fear.  It is wrong to perceive some teasing activities, which involve intimidation, as just mere teasing. When intimidation takes place, distress is likely to affect kids, which tamper with kids’ development, and it should be considered as childhood bullying. Childhood bullying has more to do with insensitivity to kids’ feelings. It also promotes aggression behaviors to anybody irrespective of the authority or position. Unfortunately, childhood bullying has been in many cases thought as a positive quality to discipline kids. 

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