Being bullied as a child can cause lasting trauma. It can breed feelings of hatred and rage that can deepen as a child grows up. But does this justify any form of retaliation? When a victim of bullying fights back, regardless of how they do so, is it ever justified?
Victim of Bullying Fights Back in China, Murdering 9 Young Students
A 28-year-old man in China showed just how the trauma of being bullied as a child can drive a person to commit violent acts.
According to BBC News, the Chinese man had been bullied as a child. Because of this, he became resentful of children. On the 27th of April, he wielded a knife and attacked a group of middle school students, aged 12 to 15, in Mizhi county, Shaanxi, China.
Nine students — seven girls and two boys — died after being stabbed by the assailant. Reports say a total of 12 students were injured in the attack.
When a Victim of Bullying Fights Back with Violence, It Can Have Devastating Consequences
Often, when a victim of bullying fights back, it is through violent means, even years after being bullied. | Image source: twitter
This is not the first crime motivated by bullying. In the United States, the disturbing rise of mass murders in school are often perpetrated by deeply troubled students. Most, if not all, had been a victim of bullying in some shape or form.
Bullied children often grow up into adults who are at risk of poor health, low career success, and criminal, risky behaviour.
A study published in the Psychological Science Journal delves into the long-term dangers of bullying. Those study participants who had been bullied had low educational attainment, and thus less income. They also neglected self-care, which resulted in poor health.
To Prevent a Bullied Child from Growing Up To Be a Violent Adult, Know the Signs Before It’s Too Late!
Whenever we hear about violent crimes, we often hear how the suspect had showed unusual behavior prior to the attack. So what causes a bullied person to finally snap?
While how to handle trauma is ultimately their choice, previously bullied people can show signs. Helping curb violent tendencies begins with knowing the signs that require you to intervene. You can talk to your child or seek out the help of their school. Just make sure you’re not putting your child at greater risk.
But first, here’s some questions to ask yourself, according to the Singapore Children’s Society’s Bully-Free programme.
When a victim of bullying fights back, it should never be through violent means. | Image source: dreamstime
1. Does my child refuse to go to school?
This goes beyond the natural reluctance to attend classes. It is an aversion or intense fear of peers or even teachers.
2. Has my child come home with damaged personal belongings?
One way bullies terrorise other kids is by destroying things of monetary or sentimental value. Yes, it’s normal for kids to misplace their things, but when it happens frequently, they could be a victim of bullying.
3. Has my child’s school performance suddenly dropped?
If your child has lost interest in school or if their grades have suddenly declined, they could be going through a difficult time. One possibility is that they are being bullied at school. But it’s important to note that bullying is not the only possible cause of poor school performance. The best way to know for sure is to speak with your child.
4. Have there been sudden emotional outbursts that can’t be explained?
The years before adolescence can be a tumultuous time. They’re going through a lot of physical and emotional changes. Being bullied can make these complicated emotions unbearable. So bullied kids can lash out, act up, or even become withdrawn.
5. Has my child come home with unexplained wounds or bruises?
Of course, physical signs of bullying should not be ignored. Yes, rough housing is a part of childhood. But if your child constantly comes home with unexplained injuries, it shouldn’t be brushed off as a side effect of child’s play.
6. Is my child engaging in self-harm or destructive behaviour?
Being bullied and humiliated can cultivate feelings of worthlessness and anxiety. While some kids tend to internalise these and become aloof, others take it out on themselves. Kids who are bullied can exhibit self-destructive behaviour, such as cutting, nasal scraping, burning or hitting themselves.
If you suspect your child is a victim of bullying, here’s what you can do:
- Teach your child to stand up for himself without being violent. Know when to walk away.
- Speak up. Name the bully, the time, place, and nature of bullying.
- Set up a meeting with your child’s school counselor. Of course, make sure your child won’t suffer the repercussions of reporting the bully.
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Validate what your child is going through by not trivializing it.
- Don’t confront the bully or the bully’s parents without consulting the proper authority. Your emotions could get away from you. If this happens, confrontation would do more harm than good.
- Lastly, know that you can’t fight all of your child’s battles. Dealing with difficulties is a big part of growing up. Just reassure your child that they are safe and loved with you by their side every step of the way.
Sources: BBC News, Channel News Asia, Psychology Today, Archives of Disease in Childhood, Psychological Science Journal
ALSO READ: Are you bullying your own child?
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore