If You’re an Asian Parent You Don’t Want Your Child in a U.S. School Because Your Child Could Wind Up Dead, Raped or With a Permanent Disability: PTSD

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We’re seen as overachievers and geeks but you can add a new name for Asian Americans to that list: bully victims. A recent study has revealed that Asian American students suffer the most bullying from their classmates and teachers in US schools.

The research…found that 54 percent of Asian American teenagers said they were bullied in the classroom, sharply above the 31.3 percent of whites who reported being picked on. The figure was 38.4 percent for African Americans and 34.3 percent for Hispanics, a government researcher involved in the data analysis told AFP. The disparity was even more striking for cyber-bullying.

The picture gets worse when it comes to the Internet: over 60% of Asian American youth reported being bullied online every month. Only 18.1% of Caucasian students said the same thing. These numbers are upsetting, especially with the increased awareness and coverage of school bullying in the media. We face these stories every day, whether it’s the tragic news about teenagers driven to suicide from being heckled at schoolor celebrities speaking out against it to even a White House summit on how to tackle the ongoing problem.

This data reveals that bullying isn’t just a white kid problem, a black vs. white thing or something that happens to every child. Bullying is now an Asian American problem and something that we as a community need to address better. So what can we do about it?

I can’t say I have the right answer, aside from the usual points about teaching our kids that it’s wrong, it’s mean and it can have serious psychological effects. I’ve never been bullied in school, so I have no idea what it’s like. But as someone who can sympathize with those who have, here’s my solution: let’s turn things around.

Why should we be bullied when we can be the bullies ourselves? If our classmates kick us down, we should rise up and kick back. And kick first. Kick them hard where it hurts. I don’t know where that is but probably somewhere in the groin area would be best. We all inherently know kung-fu because we’re Asian, right? Now is the time to put those skills to good use. And we’re proud to be Asian. We study hard. We work hard. Let’s apply that same ethic to being bullies. We’ll boss everyone around the playground before they can boss us around. We’ll harass everyone on Facebook before they can harass us. We’ll be so cunning in playing these mental games on all the other kids that they won’t even know that they’re being bullied. In fact, they’ll think we’re just being nice. But we’re not. WE’RE IN CHARGE.

That’s right, kids. We’re going to turn things around so much that in a couple years, the government will run another study and reveal that Asian American students are no longer the majority being bullied but the majority bullying others. Are you on board?

Wait, hold up–I’m kidding. Don’t go out there and start bullying other kids. As they say, two wrongs (wongs?) don’t make a right. Bullying is a serious matter that takes a huge toll on our self-confidence. What we should realize is that perhaps there needs to be a anti-bullying movement specifically targeting the Asian American community. I can think of a plethora of reasons why I would be bullied for being Asian: I look different, I eat different foods, my family speaks with an accent and we don’t always celebrate the same traditions as everyone else. Many of us are immigrants. We’re inundated with negative stereotypes about our ethnic background; of course this would translate into how we’re treated by others. More importantly, our parenting styles are different and occasionally, hold our children back. I speak for myself when I say that Japanese parents are stricter than most non-Asian families. If I ever told my parents about being treated badly in school, they would tell me to grin and bear it. (And then tell my teacher to assign more homework, no joke.) Perhaps part of the reason why so many APA students are being bullied is also because there’s a different support system from their families.

Regardless of why or how this is happening, my heart breaks to hear that a vast majority of Asian American kids are suffering from the cruelty of their peers. This is an experience that will affect the rest of their lives. So what I can say is, speak out. Don’t let the bullying break you down. Stay strong. If you’re one of the 62% mentioned in this study and reading this post, know that we here at 8Asians are right behind you. We know what it’s like to grow up in the US as an Asian American. It’s hard. Sometimes it sucks. But it gets better. Way better.

Child Bullying’s Consequence: Adult PTSD

Victims of child bullying can end up with PTSD later in life.

Posted Mar 15, 2011

Victims of child bullying are predisposed to PTSD.

We hear so much in the news lately about school bullying. One story I read recently highlighted the experiences of Rebecca Golden, a now-adult writer who chronicled for Salon the endless bullying she was subjected to as an overweight child. In her case, the bullying started at a very young age, being teased by boys in her class, and progressed up through high school. Even the teachers joined in on the bullying at certain times of her life.The sad truth is, being tormented and teased – and even physically attacked – by other children has been a fact of life for many young people for as long as there have been schools. According to bullyingstatistics.org, 77% of students experience bullying in some form: mental, verbal, or physical. Every seven minutes, a child gets bullied. 1 But this does not make it any less traumatizing or troublesome.

What makes child bullying unique from other types of traumatic experiences is that the perpetrators are often also children.

Kids bully other kids for a variety of reasons, some more obvious than others. Bullyingstatistics.org lists the primary motivations that compel bullies: 2

  • A family environment of either neglect or physical abuse
  • A school or institution’s lack of standards around interpersonal treatment
  • Positive reinforcement around “acting out” in the form of added attention
  • Our culture’s glorification with winning, power, and violence
  • A history of the perpetrator him or herself having experienced rejection, failure, or bullying

Usually, bullying comes about as a result of a number of the above factors existing at once.
In clinical terms, to officially be considered “bullying,” the behavior needs to take place repeatedly. Interestingly, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was traditionally considered to be a disorder that arose from a single traumatic incident. However, in recent years, experts have begun to identity a second definition for PTSD that allows for the victims of repeated traumatizing incidents. Bullying falls into this category.

Bullyonline.org points out that the most recent version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual, which all doctors use to diagnose mental illness) recently updated it’s definition of PTSD to note that, although PTSD has traditionally been thought to be caused by a single, life-threatening event (or, at least, an event that seemed to be life threatening), in the case of trauma such as bullying, PTSD can also come about by way of an “accumulation of many small, individually non-life-threatening incidents.” 3 (Note that this is often referred to as “Complex PTSD.”)

So by it’s most simplest definition, PTSD is brought on by one or a series of terrifying events and results in delayed and prolonged symptoms such as anxiety, depression, withdrawal, suicidal behavior, alcohol and drug abuse, and emotional issues.

Some examples of types of bullying:

  1. Physical violence toward a child
  2. Verbal teasing
  3. Spreading rumors about a child
  4. Excluding a child from a group
  5. “Gang up” behavior
  6. Cyberbullying – using the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, or other technology to demean a child

In worst-case scenarios, the abuse of bullying can lead its young victims to suicide, sometimes called “bullycide.” But even though most children grow out of the stage of bullying and being bullied, victims of this hateful crime are still at risk for the long-term effects of PTSD.

With Complex PTSD, victims are “held captive” by their situations. Children who are subject to regular bullying may not have any way out of what they perceive as a trapped situation. Reporting incidents to teachers or other authority figures can be a daunting prospect, as this sort of “tattletale” behavior is so apt to exacerbate the bullying instead of halting it. A pattern of bullying can also be exacerbated by parents – especially, and traditionally, fathers – who may believe that being pushed around or beat up by your peers “toughens you up” and is just a “natural part of childhood.”

Of course, the best way to avoid PTSD from school bullying later in life is to prevent or stop the problem early on. This takes a vigilant approach on the part of parents and especially on the part of school administrators, as school is the most common place that children experience the harassment of bullying.

Here are some potential signs that a child is experiencing repeated bullying:4

  1. Isolated or disconnected behavior that is not normally a part of the child’s personality
  2. Sudden physical complaints – especially ones that prevent the child from attending school or other events
  3. Degraded performance with schoolwork or difficulty concentrating
  4. Sleep issues or nightmares
  5. General malaise, withdrawal, or depression
  6. A sense of hypervigilance, anxiety, or a high temper

The good news is that the recent media interest in school bullying has resulted in wider awareness of this epidemic, and there are now many resources available throughout the U.S. that children, parents, peers, and teachers can turn to if they know or suspect that bullying is happening.

For more statistics, information, and stories, visit Bullyingstatistics.org.



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