How Bullying Negatively Affects Student Development

In the last few years, parents and school officials alike have begun to pay closer attention to the impact of school bullying, and how it affects bullies and victims alike. High school, in particular, is full of bullying and hostile confrontations, such as hazing, that are often brushed off as being “normal” or “part of being a teenager,” but which are now understood to cause potentially serious damage to the mental and physical health of students. At Sage Day therapeutic schools, we have worked with many teenagers who, due to bullying, suffered serious side effects to their mental wellbeing, their performance in school, and their ability to socialize with their peers.

The Effects of Bullying on Teenagers

As any parent of a teenager knows, kids between the ages of 12 and 18 are often emotionally vulnerable, and particularly sensitive to criticism and hostility. When put in a school environment where they are subject to constant taunts, insults, and physical threats from other students, many teenagers are unable to properly cope with the experience. Some of the common effects of bullying are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • School phobia
  • Skipping school
  • Low academic performance
  • Social isolation and an inability to make friends
  • Low self-esteem
  • Increased likelihood of substance abuse, suicide, and other harmful behaviors

Teenagers who are bullied often are especially vulnerable to emotional trauma from the experience, especially if they feel like they have nowhere else to go or that other people don’t take the pain they are feeling seriously. Since adolescence is such a formative period in a person’s emotional development, this type of experience can affect a teenager’s ability to develop into a healthy, well-adjusted adult.

How Bullies Are Harming Themselves

The students who are the victims of bullying are not the only ones who suffer its ill effects. Teenagers who bully their peers have often suffered emotional trauma of their own; when they are unable to process that trauma in a healthy, constructive way, they take it out on their classmates instead.

Like the victims of bullying, teenagers who bully often suffer from other serious issues such as:

  • Increased likelihood of underage binge drinking, theft, and other dangerous behaviors
  • Missed school and lower academic performance
  • Increased chances of dropping out of school early
  • Inability to socialize or handle conflicts in a constructive manner
  • Isolation from peers and the school environment

In other words, bullying is a social problem that has serious negative effects on both the victims and the perpetrators, not to mention the other students and bystanders who are put into a hostile environment where their peers and friends are subject to emotional torment or feel the need to act out. The issue of bullying is one that parents, teachers, administrators, and students need to take seriously, which starts with taking the complaints and concerns of those who are suffering from it seriously.

For more information on Sage Day’s therapeutic school environment and how it can help teens who have suffered from bullying, contact us today at 877-887-8817.

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