Bullying happens to all people of all ages. One of the things kids need to learn in order to get through life is how to deal with bullies. As long as there have been people, there have been bullies. Unless there is a major evolutionary change in our species, it’s safe to assume that everyone will eventually encounter problems with a bully.
At heart, all bullies are alike. They want to feel big by making others feel small. Just why some people become bullies and others do not is unknown. Some theories as to what causes bullying include:
- Abuse in the bully’s home or work life
- Cultural encouragement to have “normal people” pick on the outcasts of a particular culture, such as children of gypsies or children with physical handicaps
- Mental illness
- Pressure from work or school to succeed under highly stressful conditions. The students or workers then take their frustrations out on each other
- A combination of all the above.
Types of Bullies
In order to know how to deal with bullies, you need to know what type of bully you are dealing with. Although bullies can happen just about anywhere people are, the three most common types of bullies are:
- School bullies
- Cyber bullies
- Workplace bullies
Bullying behaviors are common to all types of bullies, whether you need to know how to deal with bullies at work or how to deal with bullies at school. All bullies are aggressive. They do not like to be disagreed with. This aggression could be physical or verbal. They may hit you or take your money. Threats can come to the victim, the victim’s family, the victim’s possessions or the victim’s pets.
The common result of bullying behavior is that the victim feels powerless. They never know when their bully is going to strike next. They also are confused as to why they are getting bullied in the first place. The reason why bullies pick victims really doesn’t matter. Bullies pick victims because that is what they do. Bullying behavior does not stop until bullies meet bigger and more powerful bullies.
According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, many victims of bullying will hide the fact that they are being bullied from their parents. Each victim will have his or her own reason for doing this, but mainly they fear retaliation of some sort if they tell their parents about their bullies. It can be hard to know how to deal with bullies at school if a victim won’t talk about it.
If you think your child is being bullied, have the child talk to a doctor or some other authority figure while you are out of the room. Children tend to be more open with strangers than with their own parents.
How to deal with bullies at school is a multifaceted plan, according to StopBullying.gov:
- Talk to school authorities to see what can be done, such as an increase in adults supervising recess
- Get the victim to a doctor to see if they need treatment for depression or anxiety
- Get a doctor or pediatrician to write a letter to the school stating the victim’s problems
- Intervene whenever you witness your child or any child being bullied. Let the bullies know that they are always being watched. DO NOT HIT A CHILD, even if the child really deserves it.
- Teach the child self-defense moves, if the child is physically and psychologically able to perform these moves.
It is very hard for anyone in modern times to avoid the Internet. People need to go online for schoolwork, to find the latest news and as part of their jobs. Cyber bullies prey on the imagination of their victims. Unlike school or work bullies, you never know if you are going to have a face-to-face confrontation with your cyber bullies.
How do you deal with cyber bullies if you are an adult? Here are the steps you need to take:
- Write to the cyber bully, “Do not contact me again.” That’s all you need to write. Copy this message if possible as proof that you did tell your cyber bully to leave you alone.
- Do not respond to any messages, posts, emails or texts from the cyber bully – even if you really want to
- Keep a separate file containing copies of all communication from the cyber bully
- Block cyber bully whenever possible when on social media sites such as Facebook
- Contact webmasters with copies of your bully’s harassments to see if they can do anything such as ban the bully from their sites
- If you ever feel that the cyber bully is going to harm you, your property, your pets or your family, contact the police immediately.
- If the bully sends you pornographic messages or images, contact law enforcement immediately.
- If you have proof that your cyber bully sent your computer or smartphone a virus, talk to a lawyer. In some cases, you may be able to prosecute the cyber bully.
What if you are a parent of a cyberbullying victim? Here’s what you can do:
- Make copies of everything sent to your child from the child’s bully
- Send these copies to webmasters, email providers or phone companies to see if the bully can be permanently blocked
- Make sure your child does not respond to the cyber bully’s threats, taunts or insults. Impress on your child that cyber bullies tend to thrive on attention. If the child ignores the cyber bully, then the cyber bully may voluntarily leave the child alone.
- If the cyber bully is known to be another student, talk to the bully’s school about the situation
- Contact law enforcement officials immediately if your child is threatened by violence or is being sent pornographic emails, images or texts.
Also, remember to thank your child for bringing this to your attention. Children often are as silent about their cyber bullies as they are with their schoolyard bullies. It takes a lot of courage from a victim to admit to anyone that they are being cyber bullied. Some victims feel as if no one else in the world can understand what they are going through. Let your child know that he or she is not alone in being bullied.
You need to be very careful in how to deal with bullies at work. Expect to be alone in your struggle against your bully. Your co-workers, even though they may be witnesses to your abuse, may be terrified to say anything on your behalf because they are scared that either they will be your bully’s next target or that they will lose their jobs.
It’s important that you tell your workplace bully that you feel you are being bullied and want the behavior to stop immediately. It’s best to do this right after a bullying incident and before you confront your human resources manager or boss.
How to deal with bullies at work is similar to how you deal with cyber bullies. It is very important to document everything. Write down face-to-face confrontations and when they happened. You do not need to go into extensive detail. Just write down what was said or what was done and how you reacted. Also keep copies of any bullying emails, memos, notes, texts or phone messages.
Practice telling your story to a good friend or even just a mirror. This will help you before you talk to your human resources manager or whoever is the immediate boss of your workplace bully. Now it’s time to bring your evidence and your complaints to your human resources manager or to whoever is the immediate supervisor of your workplace bully.
To recap, here are the main steps in how to deal with bullies at work:
- Tell your workplace bully to stop
- Write down all incidents of bullying that you clearly remember, adding dates when possible
- Get copies of harassing emails, phone calls, texts or memos
- Practice telling your story
- Go to your human resources manager or your bully’s immediate boss with your story and your written proof of harassment. Be honest and be calm.
- Each business has its own way of how to deal with bullying. You will have to be patient while investigations are under way.
- Contact the police if you feel that your life is being threatened by your bully or if your bully is sending you pornography.
Sources: http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/bullying, http://www.stopbullying.gov/index.html