Bullying is a sad reality for too many school-aged children. Find out about the various types of bullying and the affect it has on the victim. Learn the best ways to deal with a target of bullying and with a bully.
What is bullying?
If you suspect that bullying is taking place, it probably is.
A bully uses words or actions to cause another person distress. This can be a one off instance, but most often it is repeated and sometimes escalating behaviour.
Bullying is not an argument or a misunderstanding - it is one-sided physical or mental attack.
Acts of bullying can range from leaving someone out of a group activity, to making hurtful comments, to starting rumours about a person, to acts of physical abuse.
What do bullies do?
Bullies generally choose targets who are smaller and younger than they are. In many cases, bullying is the result of insecurity as it is a way to vent frustration and bring another child, who may be perceived as receiving more attention, down.
Common bullying behaviour includes:
Reactions to bullying
Because bullying can take many forms, it can make the bully's target feel a number of emotions and react in different ways. If you are concerned that you child is the target of bullying, look for:
Every child has the right to feel safe and happy. When bullying occurs it is important for the target of the bullying to know that there is support for them. Parents, teachers, and other figures of authority can make it stop.
How to deal with bullying
If your child, or a child you know, is being bullied there are some important steps to take.
How to deal with a bully
Types of bullying
Bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour that is intended to hurt another person mentally and/or physically. It can be acted out in many ways:
All methods of bullying intend to create embarrassment, discomfort, or fear through intimidation.
There are many types of bullying and sometimes a bully begins with one sort of bullying and then progresses to another. Here are some of the behaviours to look out for:
Leaving someone out of group activities such as sports, excursions, or even conversations, can be very hurtful for any child. If the pattern of exclusion continues, it can be extremely damaging to a child's sense of self-worth.
Harassment or abuse:
Verbal harassment, such as name calling or threats can make a child feel unsafe and alone. Depending on the personality of the child who is targeted, the impact can vary between increased stress to deep anxiety and fear.
If threats of violence are acted on and the abuse becomes physical, the level of fear and guilt a child feels can increase dramatically which typically impacts on their home and school life.
Starting rumours about another child behind their back, with the express purpose of those rumours creating embarrassment and discomfort is generally the modus operandi of females. This can create feelings of isolation for the target as well as a sense of injustice which is often very difficult for a young person to reconcile.
The newest channel for bullying is online and via phone. Here the target receives threats through social media or text/SMS or, more commonly, is the subject of a malicious campaign. Examples of cyber bullying include fake profiles on Twitter or "hate pages" that are started on Facebook. These groups are a forum where disparaging remarks are made about a person, or doctored photos are posted. Often fake accounts are set up to leave hateful and negative comments on the target's online profiles, including status updates and photos.
When a child uses domination to bully another child they exert their power over them and make them feel weak. This kind of bullying is more typically acted out by males who have developed faster than their classmates. It results in the target feeling inferior and frightened for their safety. Many children also feel guilty when they are the target of domination, and are hesitant to ask for help.
Bullying can have an impact on other people who are around the primary bully and their target. Sometimes, out of fear of being victimised themselves, bystanders will respond by allowing the bullying to continue or even by joining in. This can result in the target feeling as though there is no one they can reach out to or trust.
Prolonged bullying can lead to psychological stress. Schools have anti-bullying programs in place to take action against bullies and help people who are the target of harassment. If you do not feel this is sufficient, there are a number of government and external organisations with information, resources, and counsellors to assist.
Content supplied by DryNites New Zealand.
Published 26 February, 2013