Bullies! Everyone has encountered a bully at least once during their lifetime. Even if you have never been bullied yourself, you probably know someone who has. However, unless you have been subjected directly to bullying, it’s hard to imagine how devastating it can be. Bullying as a problem is predominant in both school and college, before the person comes into his own and learns to stand up for himself.
What Is Bullying?
Most frequently bullying starts with harmless teasing, often targeting the person’s physical appearance, mannerisms, or background. This in itself is mean and hurtful enough, but when the playful teasing becomes a regular feature or crosses the line and becomes deliberately cruel, it needs to stop. Bullying can also involve physically harming the victim – hitting, shoving or kicking, verbal aggression and name calling or social exclusion.
Who Is A Bully?
Sometimes the bully’s behaviour is simply a reflection of how he himself has been treated. His family situation is probably unstable and he lacks the care and affection that he deserves. A lot of bullies also do what they do for the attention – it makes them feel more popular, stronger and more powerful. They normally pick weaker, defenceless individuals as their targets, to give themselves a feeling of superiority. They might also rope in others to stand by them in their bullying, to intimidate the target even more.
How Does It Happen?
Children who are normally subjected to bullying are those who can be easily pushed around and overpowered. They generally have low self esteem and see themselves in a bad light. Among boys, most often bullying involves physically harming or roughing up the person or using verbal abuse. Among girls, it is more complex as it happens indirectly – spreading rumours and socially isolating the person from a group.
How Does It Impact A Child?
Long term bullying can send a person into depression. The individual might end up with lasting self esteem issues, even into adulthood. Their poor social skills and lack of confidence, resulting from childhood bullying, can make it difficult for them to make or keep friends, or to be happy and successful in life.
How Can You Avoid Bullying?
When you know your child is being bullied, bring it to the attention of teachers, school counsellors or other adults, so that it can be solved. Divert the attention of your child, by encouraging him to pursue an activity of his choice. When he does well in something, he will be in a better situation to handle the jeers of bullies. He might then learn to shut out the bully and ignore him.
As a parent, keep communication lines open with your little ones so that they can share their feelings and experiences with you. When they are in a secure environment, they are better equipped to handle being bullied or even help others who are being bullied. Do not ignore it as a part of growing up; it is a form of harassment that can scar a person for life. Bullying must not be tolerated!