Struggling Children Turn to Bullying to Cope

Children and young people struggling with personal issues are turning to bullying to help them cope according to a new survey.

The survey by anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label gathered responses from 8,850 12 to 20 year olds on the subject of bullying. Of those surveyed half said they had been bullied, while a quarter of those who were bullied had resorted to bullying themselves.

Bullying as a Response

The survey looked at the link between bullying and stress or trauma in the young people’s lives. Of this link Ditch the Label say in their report:

“We were interested to see if bullying could be considered a behavioural response to stress or trauma. Our hypothesis was confirmed with very strong correlations - finding those who bully are more likely to experience stressful and/or traumatic situations than those who do not, suggesting it is a responsive behaviour.”

On Being a Bully

For the report, the charity spoke to young people who had bullied others. One girl, now 18, said she bullied a class mate for several years up until the age of 13. She now sees that this was a response to problems she was struggling with at home. She said:

“Bullying isn’t just black and white, there are so many hidden things going on which leads to it happening and from what I’ve seen it’s usually because the person doing the bullying is extremely unhappy and not confident within themselves. If I could turn back time and undo it all I totally would.”

Another young person, now 19, said:

“I bullied kids when I was at secondary school. Due to being very frustrated and unhappy with my life and myself.”

Supporting Young People

Nick Harrop, Media and Campaigns Manager at YoungMinds says bullying is a huge issue for young people. He said:

Bullying can have a devastating impact on a child’s life. It’s important to ensure that young people, teachers and parents not only support those who’ve been bullied, but also work towards preventing it happening in the first place.”

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