Written by Sheila Snyder, former SDSU Extension Operation: Military Kids State Coordinator.
Although bullying is not a new problem, within the last decade the public has shifted the way they view this behavior. Bullying was once thought of as a normal part of growing up, but with the recognition of the extreme harm bullying can do to the victim, it is now seen as unacceptable behavior that must be stopped. Unfortunately, in some cases, bullying has even lead to suicide.
A series of studies conducted by Yale University found that victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to look at suicide as a solution. And, according to the Bullying Statistics website, ABC News reported that 30% of students are victims of bullying or are bullies, and because of the fear of being bullied, 160,000 kids stay home from school every day. There is a plethora of information available on bullying, including some interesting information on the issue as it pertains to military kids.
According to the Army Times, military children may be at high risk for bullying for two reasons:
- They move often and are frequently viewed as the out of place “new kids”.
- Because of the stress due to deployments, military children may feel anxious, worried, vulnerable, and exposed, which makes them obvious targets of bullying.
Unfortunately, military kids are sometimes the bully. This can be a result of the way they are treated by their parents, who may be stressed due to finances, numerous moves, and multiple deployments, leading to the parent lashing out at the child. In fact, it has been reported that the rate of child abuse and neglect is 42% higher when a parent is deployed versus when both parents are home.
In an attempt to prevent bullying, 49 states have passed school anti-bullying legislation. The first state to pass this legislation was Georgia, in 1999. The only state without anti-bullying legislation is Montana.
In view of the widespread epidemic of bullying and the vulnerability of military kids, it is even more important to strive to build resiliency in our military kids.
- Bullying Statistics. (20120). Bullying and suicide. Retrieved from: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html