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Problem of Childhood Bullying in Modern Society Expository Essay


Bullying is a form of scurrilous treatment which mainly entails emotional, physical or verbal harassment directed towards people of certain levels, gender, race and religion just to mention but a few. It mainly occurs when there is imbalance in power such that those deemed to be on the lower physical or social levels are bullied by those in the higher levels of power and social status.

Bullying can occur in many contexts especially where human beings interact with each other such as in the work places, learning institutions, family, churches among others. When bullying occurs, it causes oppression to the affected parties thus affecting their social life and studies in the case of students (Loseke, 37).

Childhood bullying on the other hand is the repetitive, harmful acts carried by one or a group of children against other children. Bullying takes various forms like being restrained and emotional for instance spreading gossips, influencing friendships or excluding other children; verbal like being intimidated and threatened or humiliating; or physical such as hitting, crashing against a hard surface, leaving some children out of activities kicking, punching ,taunting and most recently cyber-bullying.

Inherent in this characterization is a disparity in real or supposed authority involving the bully and victim (Reid, 150). The dominance of bullying and its consequent harm is taken too slightly by both children and their parents or adults in general despite the fact that there is a huge connection between bullying and other aggressive behaviors (Reid, 150).

Bullying entails harassment by influential children against children having not as much of power which is different from a conflict arising between peers of fairly equivalent status and thus intervention methods should be specific. This paper is therefore an exploration of the issue of childhood bullying by looking at the effect of social structures and institutions on childhood bullying. Past and present research with regard to childhood bullying will also be discussed.

Past and current research on childhood bullying

An earlier study on the impact of childhood bullying and young adult self esteem ad loneliness showed that victims of bullies tend to be shy and lonely especially in their youth. It also showed that bullies tend to have a low self esteem as their main way of making friends and gaining popularity is through violence (Tritt & Duncan, 3).

Both children who bullied and their victims are more probable to be engaged in violence or violent behaviors in their youth than those who did not. However this is more common to those who bullied others (Reid, 152). For instance among boys who admitted to bullying others 43.1 percent carried a weapon to school compared to 36.4 percent of those who had been bullied. 38.7 percent of the bullies wee engrossed in numerous fighting compared to 22.6 percent bully victims (Tritt & Duncan, 3).

A study carried out in a miniature town from Midwest using 207 junior high and high school children as sample indicated that 88% percent of the students had witnessed bullying, with 77 percent of them being victims of bullying during their school life (Limber & Maury 1).

School and particularly classroom bullies are predisposed to have distressed relationships amid their parents as well as friends and could persist being troublesome all through their adolescence if their troubles will not be resolved on time, according to researchers at Canada’s “lbrk University and Queen’s University. They also recorded that bullying taking place outside the school surroundings could be more brutal than at school where adult management and additional security against violence is present (Crothers & Levinson, 498).

Effects of social structures and institutions on childhood bullying

Various social institutions like family, school, peers, surrounding and media play a very important role in shaping the direction of childhood bullying. To begin with, the family which is the basic and the most important unit in the society as well as the primary socializing agent plays a major role in shaping behavior of children include bullying.

According to a research, children who come from families that have cases of domestic violence, will most likely be bullies in school. The first departure point is the role of parents in the sense o their personality. Interestingly, some parents look at bullying as a natural occurrence in the development cycle and usually not addressed as a problem (Limber & Maury 4).

Elizabeth Sweeney carried out a study that involved children aged between nine and sixteen for the 103rd presentation of American Sociological Foundation. According to Sweeney her literature review established that children brought up by authoritarian parents as well as demanding, insensitive and directive were more predisposed to carrying out bullying activities (Reid 167).

Children who go through aggression, violence, physical discipline and other hostile behaviors by their parents are prone to assimilating such behavior amongst their peers. Children borrow a lot from their parents on behavior and interaction with other children. If children are exposed to aggressive and livid words at home, they will probably employ these bad attributes as survival machinery in interacting with other children (Reid 169).

Similarly children who are borne in middle-income family units recorded lower cases of bullying compared to children from the high and low family status. Bullying runs equally between boys and girls although boys tend to act on it more than girls (Crothers & Levinson 498).

Bullying is also popular with families whose members do not treat one another with respect or not teaching the children the essence of respecting other people’s rights. Intergenerational effect can be a factor in this regard where children with antisocial parents as well as grandparents are more likely to behave the same in teenage.

The school is an institution that both favors and shapes the concept of childhood bullying. According to a national survey in 2001 indicates that children as young as eight to nine years are becoming victims and perpetrators of childhood bullying (Crothers & Levinson 499).

Approximately, 74% of children aged between eight and eleven attested that bullying and teasing was frequently taking place in their school, whereas fifty percent of the parents did not look at bullying as a trouble for their children, however, bullying is most prevalent between students of age 11 to adolescence (Crothers & Levinson 500 ).

He school becomes an avenue of bullying because it brings convergence of children from different backgrounds, religions races, health situations as well as personalities. Bullying is also more prevalent in schools because of the higher probability of emergence of inappropriate relationships between students and also between the students and the staff since teachers are also involved in bullying (Limber & Maury 2).

However, the school is best placed in dealing with childhood bullying by; employing staff that is skilled in responding to signs of violence, a higher employee accountable for child protection, careful examination of staff before permitting them to work with children as well as implementing a policy on child protection clearly stating disciplinary cases for abuse.

Peer groups change their role in a great deal when children get adolescence because of the need to be accepted and recognized and attaining autonomy from parents. This often leads to increased pressure to get a social status and thus stratification is pegged on toughness and aggressiveness among boys and appearance among girls (Tritt & Duncan 2).

This ultimately leads to teasing, bullying, ridiculing and name-calling. The environment where a child lives or is brought up affects their involvement in bullying for instance violent streets and ghettos (Loseke 43).

Relationship of childhood bullying and sociological theories

Edwin Sutherland put forward differential association theory in 1974 which explained human behavior as being learned and the younger the learner the grater the relationship. A child’s behavior is adopted by interacting with other in a social setting through norms and values through the process of communication.

He also explained that behavior is leant in primary groups like family, peers, friends and close companions. This theory helps understand the role of family, peers and other relatives in childhood bullying. It justifies that most bullies have adopted violent behavior from families and peers in school in search of social status.

Parents’ and caregivers’ involvement and participation in development greatly shapes their behavior according to Urie Bronfenbrenner in his theory of social ecological model. The better and nurturing the involvement is the better the child is going to be. Childs treatment in the micro-system determines how people treat her on the other hand since their unique genetic and biological make up influence how others treat them.

In his exo-system level he explains how people and other places that a child does not directly associate with like parents’ workplace or neighborhood affect their behavior (Reid 168). This can be centralized to how the caregiver meets the needs of the child, if they are well met then this tends to have a good behavior and is less likely to bully out of frustrations (Reid 168). Other aspects like freedom, cultural values, economy and wars also shape the behavior of the child.


More often than not children play together and in the process one might accidentally kick or step on their peer or harmlessly utter some teasing words. Out of these petty events one may get a nickname or a label that castigates his or her behavior. For instance, a child is nicknamed “tiger” in his boxing club by peers may tend to bullying to fit into the context of that label.

According to Cooley, human beings especially children see themselves in the eyes of others to a point of incorporating those perceptions into our lives. Teenagers will go to a great extend to look like or behave according to self-image that fits those views (Reid 170). If a boy is perceived as a strong boy they will incline towards bullying to fit into this perceived strength.

This can also be explained by Freud’s developmental stages where the child fixates in any of these stages. Fixation in the phallic stage and latency stage can lead to violent behaviors in children and thus parents should ensure smooth transitions in these stages.

Works Cited

Crothers, L. & Levinson, E. “Assessment of Bullying: A Review of Methods and Instruments.” Journal of Counseling & Development 82. 4 (2004): 496-503. Print.

Limber, S. & Maury M. . 1997. Web.

Loseke, D. The Complexities of Family Violence. p35-48. Web.

Reid, T. Sociological Theories of Criminal Behavior II: The Social-Process Approach-2008 p142-188. Web.

Tritt, C. & Duncan, R. “The Relationship between Childhood Bullying and Young Adult Self-Esteem and Loneliness.” Journal of Humanistic Education & Development 36.1 (1997):1-4. Print.

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