Babies see themselves as the center of the universe. They expect to be indulged. For the most part, they are. Left to their own devices children can be selfish and demanding. Taken to the extreme they can try to dominate others physically and psychologically. As they grow out of their babyhood they are expected to learn consideration for others. Unless that behavior is interrupted in the formative years antisocial behavior will become more pronounced as they grow to adolescence and adulthood. It’s up to the parents to show the child that, while a certain degree of assertiveness is acceptable as a way of making their way in the world, the instinct must be moderated in the very young before it can turn into unacceptable behavior beyond adolescence; spousal abuse, criminal assault, sexual assault, workplace aggression, etc.
Being bullied in childhood can have a devastating effect on the victim well into his and her adult years. Similar to combat trauma where the victim suffers flashbacks, low self-esteem, a lack of professional success and personal fulfillment. For many, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can ruin lives as surely in a child as if their trauma came from a wartime battlefield.
Bullies go for the weak, the quiet, the “different.” Victims are often afraid to tell anyone the problem for fear of making things worse . . . or that no one will believe them.
It is imperative that parents, friends, school officials learn to recognize the signs: changes in behavior; suddenly getting lower grades in school; withdrawn; spending too much time alone.
Anyone witnessing bullying should step in on behalf of the victim and report such incidents to those who can do something about it, including law enforcement.
The just published novel, “All That Time” deals with the effects of childhood bullying that linger in a 55-year-old university computer science professor. A trip back in time to his adolescence gives him a new perspective on what happened to him.
Is there more child abuse today than in the past or are we just hearing more about it in this hyper-communication era? Sometimes it seems as though there is a fiend on every street corner in America. My novel, All That Time deals in part with a case of child sexual abuse in the 1960s and how it was resolved.
We hear a lot about young people whose lives have been dramatically affected by bullying. Some have even ended their lives because the pressure was too much to bear. Those who survive to adulthood often carry with them wounds that have never healed. Being made to feel worthless or unacceptable as a child can impact the adult years, as well. Damaged self-esteem can affect future personal relationships, professional success, lifetime earnings. There are bullies in the adult world, as well; the domineering boss, the back-stabbing fellow employee, the abusive spouse. Those who were abused when they were young may not have the confidence to resist the adult bully. The psychological effects of bullying can be even more damaging than physical abuse in the long term.
My new novel, All That Timeis about Ted McBride, a man whose life has been damaged by the bullies of his childhood, up through adolescence . . . and how it took a trip back in time to combat his demons. All About Timeis now available in paperback at bookstores and on-line booksellers and as a digital download through all the major Internet eBook distributors.