What is Bullying?
Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical or social behavior that intends to cause harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power (or perceived power) over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.
A victim is anyone who is repeatedly picked on for being different.
A bully is seen as an individual who lacks love and attention they seek by displaying aggressive behaviors.
Types Of Bullying
Cyber Bullying - unkind texts, emails, posts (images or videos), gossiping, spreading rumors (online).
Physical Bullying - hitting, kicking, pushing, fighting.
Verbal Bullying - threats, teasing, insults, racist/homophobic remarks, verbal abuse
Social Bullying - spreading rumors, rudely mimicking, damaging someone's reputation
Bullying has physical, psychological and emotional effects on the victim.
Why do they bully?
There are many reasons why a child may become a bully.
Some children may turn to bullying as a way of coping with difficulties at home, death or divorce of their parents.
Some are used to bullying to get their own way in a particular environment.
A common reason that a kid is a bully is because they lack attention from a parent at home and lashes out at others for attention.
Often times, in a family where everyone bullies, some are abused and take out their humiliation and anger on others.
Some want to be ‘big deal’ and are prepared to use aggression and violence to command obedience and loyalty.
Bullies will focus on something that makes their victim different or stand out in some way. It may be a physical feature, clothing, being smart, skin color, weight, body size or just being new to a school.
Some children however, may be more vulnerable to bullying because they may have specific difficulties, such as poor co-ordination or a physical disability which affects their daily functioning. This is also know as special needs. Adults should be on the lookout for any potential opportunity for bully to target someone and take proactive steps to prevent it from happening.
Spot the Signs
Not wanting to go on a school bus.
Being unwilling to go to school.
Frightened of walking to school / changes route to school.
Frequent tears or anger.
School grades begin to fall.
Refuses to talk about what's wrong.
Becomes unreasonably aggressive.
Has unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches.
Continually loses lunch money.
Returns home hungry.
Changes in sleep pattern.
Changes eating pattern.
Begins to target siblings.
How to Prevent Bullying
Reassure your child often by emphasizing your love for them.
Help your child think up simple, neutral responses to the bully's most frequent taunts.
Explain that reacting to bullies by becoming upset only encourages them. If bullies get no response, they'll get bored. Even though we know stay calm isn't easy!
Practice saying “No” very firmly and walking away from a bully. It is hard for the bully to go on bullying if the target appears not to be upset.
Stay with a group even - there's safety in numbers.
Reassure children that the bullying is not their fault, and can be stopped.