Bullying can lead to depression, destructive and self destructive behavior. I'm not talking about guns, I'm talking about behaviors like drinking, drugs, eating disorders, vandalism and self-harm. Some people call self-harm "cutting," and those who admit to it are often labeled as being emo or seeking attention and judged accordingly. It's awful.
I was never exposed to scary illegal drugs or alcohol when I was being bullied--save for one kid who tried to spike my soda at Grad Night(which I didn't drink because it smelled bad)--so I was saved from the destructive dangers of drugs and alcohol as a teen.
I've been drunk before. Luckily, I was of drinking age when I did it. It was an accident as I (stupidly) didn't realize scotch was a hard liquor instead of "soft" liquor like wine, so I took three shots. I weigh eighty pounds soaking wet. Yeah. Derp. Anyway, I can see why people might think it's a way out. Being drunk made my senses quiet down. It mellowed me out. It made me not CARE about anything around me. It also made me have to pee a lot and it made walking and talking far harder than they need to be. Then I woke up the next day feeling like I got stomped by Godzilla, run over by Optimus Prime and used as a punching bag by every wrestler in the WWE. I'm never getting that drunk again, ever.
Drugs? I never used them, save for my prescription medication. Dexedrine IS a drug found on the streets, but I don't use it to get high. I take it to control hyperactivity. My doctor said this medicine is helpful to me BECAUSE I won't be inclined to go drug seeking. Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, it works for me and it does control some of my behavior issues. It's like wearing glasses to see better.
Eating disorders? I don't have any, but people think I'm anorexic because I'm a walking twig. I eat normally, I just don't gain weight. The most I ever weighed in my life was eighty four pounds, and that kind of slipped away once I finished with puberty. Now I hover anywhere between seventy six and eighty pounds. I'd love to weigh ninety pounds, but it'll never happen. I'm five foot one, by the way, just so you know my height. My short stature and thinness got me bullied ALL THE TIME. I'm flat chested, not even an A cup, and it was made fun of so much I wore padded bras to look like I had at least a B cup. It took me a long time to learn that being a woman is more than the size of my breasts. People with anorexia and bulimia probably see a distorted picture of themselves in the mirror--but if I'm wrong please correct me. I never feel fat, and I don't worry about my weight when I destroy half a bag of greasy, salty potato chips. (You should see me with pasta. I love Italian food!) I'm always conscious that I'm too thin, and no matter how much crappy or healthy food I eat I do not gain weight. My mom was just like I am until she had children. Then her body seemed to catch up to where it's supposed to be. And hearing "ew, skinny chicks are gross" all the time doesn't help my already low self esteem. Everybody is always "too fat" or "too thin" and never "just beautiful as they are." Guess what? YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AS YOU ARE.
Destructive behavior? Yup, I did that too. I vandalized school property a lot because I was angry. I wrote hateful things on the walls in the girls' bathrooms, and I scratched nasty things into desks with pins. Anybody remember those black countertop type desks with the gas "faucets" in science class? Those were prime targets and were already full of graffiti. I ripped the pages out of books in the school library. I got on the library computers and printed nothing but F--- YOU on several sheets of paper, wasting them. I drew vulgar things in textbooks and blacked out important text in several textbooks so the next kids who got those textbooks wouldn't be able to do their homework. I scribbled inside choir music octavos so the next person to get the music for choir class couldn't read it. Sometimes, if I could get into the piles of papers on a teacher's desk, I would find the worksheets of my bullies and steal them so they got a zero on their work. I erased the answers off other people's Scantron test sheets because blank answers got marked wrong. I stole jewelry out of the lost and found. I stole things off teachers' desks. I was an angry a$$hole and I took my anger out on everything around me. There was no excuse for that kind of behavior. I would've deserved whatever I got if I was caught. I regret it all.
Self-harm? I did that too. Not to the extremes, but I caused myself pain on purpose. WHY? Because I wanted to take that rage out on something, and there was a time in my life where I believed I deserved all the misery I got. Therefore, I slashed myself with push pins. I'm sure someone reading this is laughing--I can assure you, push pins can do a lot of damage. Have you ever been scratched by an extremely angry cat? They slash fast and they're gone by the time you realize you're in pain and bleeding. Swinging a push pin across my skin had the same effect. I wasn't out to make myself bleed, I was out to make myself HURT. Push pins HURT like hell. I can remember sitting alone in my room, slashing at my arms over and over. Then I wore long sleeves and told no one why. If somebody saw a scab or two, I could blame my cats. One time, I sat for an hour and slashed. My forearms were covered in over a hundred scratches on the undersides. Sometimes, I used a comb to skin myself. Literally! I took the comb and rubbed it back and forth until my skin peeled off and blood welled up. They were painful wounds and took a long time to heal because I kept peeling off the scabs. But I wanted it to hurt. I hated myself, so I hurt myself. I basically bullied myself because I thought nobody cared. I wore elbow length gloves to my prom to cover up the scabs on my forearms after an extended "I-hate-myself-so-I'll-cut-and-skin myself" stint.
Yeah, I know, a razor blade does better. Are you using one now to do more than just shave? Stop it. You don't have to hurt yourself. I think you're beautiful and you don't deserve that kind of pain. Blood is not a substitute for tears.
See what I mean? Bullied kids may be doing even more dangerous things. Things I haven't mentioned from my own experiences. They might stay out late, commit small crimes, or worse. I can't imagine more and I don't want to. Some may do it as a cry for attention and help. Others believe they're too far gone. It may lead more kids into the worst case scenarios of suicide or murder. It isn't worth it.
Sit down and talk to your child. If they're being bullied, they NEED a caring ear to listen. Be that ear. If you can't, find someone who can.
If you're being bullied, find someone to be an ear for you. Your life is worth it.