Some well-meaning ‘experts’ believe bullying is a normal part of social development and actually aids children in coping with overbearing, dominating types throughout their lives. I believe that bullying is a serious problem and not one to be tolerated. The outcomes of bullying can be very severe; from depression to suicide regardless of which role was played. Thankfully, because bullying behavior typically occurs on a recurrent basis, it can also often be identified and prevented easier and earlier than more deviant behavior in later years, perhaps with the result of a reduction in criminal behavior among adults. Studies looking into the naturalistic behavior of children on the playground indicate that those children who experience low acceptance levels among their peers tend to become bullies. Therefore, it becomes important for teachers to recognize the social structures developing in their classroom to be in better position to head off any dangerous behavior before it gets out of hand. Intervention strategies can then be used to assist at risk children in learning how best to handle difficult social situations. Field studies have identified several groups with higher risk of bullying behavior as either the aggressor or the victim, which can help teachers in determining when and what form of intervention is appropriate.
Barbarin, Oscar A. (November-December 1999). “Social Risks and Psychological Adjustment: A Comparison of African American and South African Children.” Child Development. Vol. 70, N. 6, pp. 1348-1359.
Oscar A. Barbarin, PhD earned his degree in clinical psychology at Rutgers University and finished post-doctoral work in social psychology at Stanford. He is President of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, a Fellow in the American Psychological Association, a Senior Investigator for the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina and was named the L. Richardson and Emily Preyer