SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- To victims of bullying, the relentless tormenting seems never-ending.
“When there are bullies around at school, that’s all you think about is what’s going to happen next?” said Brandywine Elementary student Ezra Vance.
And, the longer the bullying continues, the more harmful its effects.
That’s why experts say early intervention is so important. If no one steps in and lets the bully know their behavior is unacceptable, it could carry over into their adult life.
“We adults assume that all of this is taken care of once you leave high school,” said Tony Garascia, clinical director at Samaritan Counseling Center. “But, in reality, even in the workplace, there are inclusion issues and social power issues. Sometimes I work with adults who have a boss that they feel like they’re continually being harassed by on their work skills.”
Any form of bullying can cause long-lasting emotional issues for the victim.
But, when it continues for a long period of time, they’re not the only one who suffers. It turns out the person making the hurtful comments and pushing others around is also at-risk for some serious problems.
“One would be depression,” said Notre Dame Professor and Bullying Expert Clark Power. “Another would be unchecked hostility or anger issues. The third problem often related to problems that are addressed when the bullying issue comes up may be alcoholism and substance abuse.”
Counseling can often help people work through those issues. But, it can be a lengthy process.
That’s why parents play an important role in addressing and preventing bullying. Garascia says the interactions they have with their kids on a daily basis can go a long way in shaping their behaviors, helping them grow into compassionate adults.
“I think the most important thing for parents is to understand that their children need good emotional contact from parents,” he said.