Bullying is an aggressive and typically repeated behaviour by a child. Commenting and teasing as a part of making fun would be tolerable and enjoyable only to a very very limited extent. When that limit gets crossed, the person who bullies will be the reason for hurting others and would end up in making this his/her own character. Bullying should be avoided when recognized in the earlier stages itself. The children should be taught that such bullying behaviour would result in several problems like
- Causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm
- Harm to the individual’s reputation or harm to the individual’s property
- Creating a negative environment at a school for another individual
Everywhere around the world, when compared between any individuals, there is a real or perceived power imbalance based on the factors such as size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability etc. Children should be made to understand all these differences and should be made to accept and respect them.
Bullying is typically a form of repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem and reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.
Bullying can in different forms like
- Physical bullying
- Verbal bullying
- Social bullying
- Electronic bullying
Both the children who are bullied and the children who bully others may have serious and lasting problems. Negative actions can be carried out by physical contact, by words or in other ways, such as making faces or unpleasant gestures, spreading rumors and intentional exclusion from a group.
Children who involve bullying may bully or can be a victim or can be bystanders those who see and/or hear the bullying incident and interveners those who step in and do something to stop the bullying.
Bullying is not a normal stage to just ignore and believe it to be a stage that all children and young people pass through. It is not just something to put up with as a ‘part of life’. Bullying behaviour that is intended to harm can impede a healthy development. Simply ignoring the bullying behavior or just thinking that it is something that the children and the young people do or that it will be ‘character building’ eventually gives a silent approval for bullying to continue, which would further hurt those who are bullied. When bullying others becomes a habit for the children, this makes the children to hate others who have differences which hinders their social development and grows them to be a black sheep in every group they try to fit it.
If you are bullying others
Take responsibility for your behavior, learn to sort out the differences and resolve conflicts and treat others with respect. Understand the need to restore relationships. Understand that people take bullying seriously and will not tolerate such behavior.
Know the importance of following rules and understand the consequences for rule violations. Focus on your talents and involve in pro-social activities such as music classes or non-violent sports. If you need additional help, talk with a school counselor and/or a health professional.
If you are being bullied in person
Try to avoid areas which allow the bullying students to avoid exposure by teachers. Stay with the other students or walk away. Try to act unaffected or unimpressed and ignore the person. Try to bend the bullying behaviour by pretending to agree in an offhand way, by saying ‘okay, yeah, maybe’ or say ‘No!’ or ‘Stop it!’ firmly. Avoid fighting back but don’t remain silent about the problem. Talk immediately to a trusted adult at the school or at home for their help to deal with the issue safely.
If you are being bullied online (cyberbullied)
Don’t respond to the message or image, save the evidence as a screenshot if you wish to use it as part of dealing with the bullying, block the sender and delete the message. Talk to the trusted people who are friends, teachers, parents and police if necessary.
If you see someone else being bullied, and feel safe to do so, do not watch and you can refuse to join in. You can tell the person to stop bullying and talk to a teacher. Support the person who is being bullied by telling that the other person’s behavior is not okay or invite to join your group.
To make room for some conﬁdence in your life, practice this. Imagine that you have a hard time getting along with a mate in your class. You had once been friends, but something had gone wrong and this friend started to say mean things that upset you. You were left in tears, but you hate crying because the other children call you a baby when you did. Your mate seemed to like this and you got so worried. The place where you got teased the most, is on the school bus. You are so worried about catching the bus. You wanted to do something about how your mate is messing up your life and stop from having fun. You started observing how your mate worked in her life and found things started to get better. One thing you observed is your mate is strong in the mornings. This is because your conﬁdence is a little lazy and liked to sleep in. With the help of your Mom, you learned to remember not to walk out of the house without waking conﬁdence up ﬁrst. This is a really smart move, and pretty soon things started to get better.
It is not that people stopped being mean to you and your mate couldn’t use other children’s meanness to upset you, but there is conﬁdence to protect you. Now you noticed that when the mate called you over on the playground, you feel frightened that you will be bullied. Now your conﬁdence started to be more awake and said “It’s okay. You can be strong. You can handle this.” With Conﬁdence around, you began to discover there is no problem at all. The mate actually wanted to be nice, but not always. Some of your mates still say mean things sometimes, but, your conﬁdence says that “You are okay. Remind yourself of the nice things about you.” Now you are able to stand up for yourself. You are ready to catch the bus again, but, this took a lot of courage, so you decided that it is important to make some big friends so that you would feel safer. All these senior mates have promised to say hello to you when they see you on the bus. It is great to have a whole lot of “big sisters” looking out for you. Now you are so conﬁdent. Now you ﬁgured out that your mate is also making you worry about school work. You feel that she is whispering in your ear that you will get everything wrong and get into trouble. It made you feel bad and you took longer to get your work ﬁnished than the other children. Your mate get you so worried that you would feel sick, or need to go to the toilet, or need to get a drink so you can get out of the classroom for a while. Now you realized you need to wake up conﬁdence in the classroom, too.
Conﬁdence helped you to feel better about showing your work to the teacher and it said “Showing teacher will help you to learn, and I bet you make fewer mistakes than what your mate says.” Now you realized that most of the time your mate is misleading you. You realized that waking up conﬁdence and by putting more effort and extra practice help you to feel more conﬁdent in studies at school. “See how well you are doing?” “Keep trying—the more you do it, the better you become” encouraged confidence. This helped you to practice until you get things right. You feel really proud that you have worked out a way to solve your own problems. The processes of thinking helps to resolve the problem and the outcome opens up new possibilities or better prepares you to manage such situations in the future.
Never Get Discouraged
Nothing can be left unsolved and so is bullying. It might take some courage and confidence. That’s it. Take the help of elders to overcome bullying. Walk and think confidently. Believe in yourself and love yourselves. Body shaming, teasing, misleading and victimizing etc. can the most common forms of bullying children face at school. Parents should be aware of what is going on in school and should complaint to the higher authorities when known about such issues.
Seeking the advice of a professional psychological counsellor can be of great help. If your child is unable to make it all by herself, our experts can boost her confidence and make her ready to accept the challenges, but not running or escaping away from them. Apart from the physical disturbances, emotional issues that occur as a result of bullying could affect the children a lot. A psychological counseling session from an expert can help the child come out of it and excel in his/her life. Book an appointment today.