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friends, school officials learn to recognize the signs: changes in behavior; suddenly getting lower grades in school; withdrawn; spending too much time alone.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.