Am I a Bully?
By Carol B. Simmons, LPC
In recent years, news media has put bullying in the spotlight because of the suicides of so many teens who had endured bullying beforehand. Oftentimes, these teens did not tell anyone about what was going on. Much of the bullying that occurred with these students came through social media.
With suicide being the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health, it is crucial that we pay attention to any warning signs or circumstances that historically cause depression in children.
Fortunately, Mississippi has a new state law to help educators and parents learn more about the warning signs of suicide. So far, almost 50,000 individuals have been trained in suicide prevention. Hopefully, this information will be passed down to the students in a beneficial way so that we can see a reduction in bullying and suicide.
We need to remember that the brain of teenagers is not fully developed and most are still learning how to deal with social pressures and emotions. The area of the brain that helps with impulse control is one of the last areas to develop so teenagers often use the emotional part of their brain to make decisions, whereas, adults should have finished that development and should be able to make better decisions.
My contention is that children and adolescents are not the only ones who are bullies, because I see this quite often in adults. If you look at our current national political situation, our racial divide, and even our religious and cultural interaction, you probably have some concerns.
In my practice, I am more frequently seeing adolescents and even younger children who say that the divide in our country is one of their major stressors. Many adults now use bullying techniques on others who they may disagree with on certain issues, including social, political, religious views, etc.
When did disagreement devalue a person or group of people?
I recently heard a remark from someone that I respect in which they disparaged all aligned with one political party. Several people in the room laughed at this, but I found it disturbing and so should all of us.
We all have different opinions, but we have to accept that we are not always right and the other person is not always wrong. When we constantly throw insults at any group of people, or any one person, are we not the same as the middle school child calling names?
If we think the children are not absorbing these attitudes, we are sadly mistaken, and need to do better. We owe this to the children.
Information on this page should be utilized as a guide, not medical advice. If you feel you need to speak with someone regarding counseling or mental health, please contact Psychology & Counseling to make an appointment.
At Psychology & Counseling, we offer counseling and mental health assessments. Following diagnosis, we work with you to determine the best course of treatment and counseling for you. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at (601) 261-1650.