Bullying has taken many forms over the years, wreaking physical, mental and emotional havoc on people’s lives. Children and teens have been primary victims in bullying attacks in schools. Name calling is a common tactic of school bullies to make other children feel inferior and rejected. Although name calling bullying doesn’t involve inflicting physical pain or harm, its effects can be just as devastating to a young children or teens who are subject to a bully’s attacks.
Few children escape being called names at some time in their lives. Sometimes children tease their friends by inventing silly nicknames for them in jest. These names may not be so pleasant, but they don’t necessarily fall under the category of bullying.
Name calling crosses the line to bullying when the perpetrator is purposely abusive in his or her actions with the intent of hurting others. There is a marked difference between teasing for fun and being malicious in calling others hurtful names. Slander, lying, labeling and gossip are all forms of verbal abuse.
When verbal abuse goes viral, it falls under the category of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has become quite common in society today. Many high school teens have become victims of lying, gossip and other forms of verbal abuse online, without even knowing who is behind these attacks. Because it’s so easy for bullies to disguise their Internet identity, they can make whatever claims they want to defame their victim’s character. This makes cyberbullying a very dangerous and destructive means by which teen bullies can hurt their peers.
Dealing with bullies is much easier said than done. Children, in particular, often find it quite difficult to confront a bully on their own. Bullies generally have quite aggressive personalities that overpower and intimidate their victims. When children succumb to bullying tactics, however, it only makes matters worse.
When it comes to name calling, one way your children can deal with bullies is to ignore their taunts. Bullies resort to such tactics as name calling, lying, gossip, etc. to get attention from their peers. When victims ignore their actions, it often deflates the attacks as bullies see they are not getting the response they desire.
Bullying efforts can also be curtailed if friends stick together and stand up for each other. Encourage your children to make friends with others who will band together against bullies and report bullying incidents to teachers and staff. By banding together, children may be able to isolate the bully so that he has no recourse but to stop. Your children can also try avoiding places where bullies gather to evade their ugly remarks.
Children should be encouraged to report all bullying incidents to their parents and school officials. Parents should be on guard for changes in their kids’ behavior that could indicate trouble with bullying at school. Many kids hesitate to talk about these experiences for fear of retaliation. Silence only promotes more abuse as bullies get the impression they can get away with their actions.
Dangers of Name Calling Bullying
The effects of bullying name calling may vary depending on the nature of the child. A child with a strong personality and character may have little concern for what their peers think as they are already secure in their identity. In contrast, a shy or sensitive child may be devastated by the verbal abuse, making it even more difficult for them to be accepted by their peers.
Name calling bullying can put a negative label on children that’s difficult to overcome as they grow. This can cause mental and emotional upheaval in a child’s life. Through persistent name calling, bullies can completely alter a child’s perspective of himself and destroy his confidence and self-esteem.
When a child is labeled in a negative way, it also affects how others perceive his or her character, intelligence, personality or appearance. Children often develop opinions of their peers by what they see and hear about them in school. The more negative gossip they hear, the less likely they are to want to associate with the victim. This further alienates a child from being accepted in the school environment. Children who are subjected to constant verbal abuse in school will eventually begin to feel inferior and incapable of measuring up to their full potential.
The following are just a few of the negative repercussions name calling and other verbal insults can have on a young child or teen’s life:
- Makes a child feel unworthy and lowers his self-image
- Causes children to compromise on their values and beliefs
- Alters a child or teen’s identity
- Destroys confidence in abilities and skills
- Causes fear, tension and grief
- Can result in violence due to angry retaliation
- Impacts a child or teen’s moods, making him or her more susceptible to mood swings
- Affects physical and mental health
- Prompts critical and cynical behavior
Some children never encounter bullying throughout their school years while others may be victimized on a regular basis. Bullies generally pick on children who are weaker, shy or more susceptible to their actions. Children from different nationalities, backgrounds or religions may also be easy targets for bullying. If your child suffers from a mental or physical disability, he or she may be susceptible to a bully’s taunts.
By maintaining a close relationship with their children, parents can help nip bullying problems in the bud before they have a chance to escalate into major affairs. Kids who are close to their parents are more likely to report bullying problems at school and seek their help in resolving the situation. Parents can then work with their children’s teachers and staff to put a stop to bullying behavior. If a school is unable or unwilling to counter bullying actions, parents always have the option of removing their children from the institution and finding a safer place to educate their kids.
In addition to providing a quality education, schools have a responsibility to protect the welfare of their students. Bullying not only endangers a child’s physical, mental and emotional welfare, but prevents children and teens from receiving the quality education they need for their future. Bullying victims have been known to cut classes, neglect their studies, drop extracurricular activities and even quit school altogether due to fear and pressure from bullies. Those who choose to continue may find it difficult to concentrate on their studies, resulting in a poor learning experience and low grades.
Bullying is a serious matter that cannot be ignored or put off. The negative aftereffects of school bullying can often be felt years after a child has grown. By taking an active stance on this abusive behavior from the start, parents and teachers can make a positive difference in the lives of countless children who are unable to defend themselves against bullying onslaughts.
Countermeasures to Bullying
There are many measures schools can put into effect to counter bullying. Many schools have adopted anti-bullying policies that include punishment for bullying behavior. Students who are caught bullying may be put on detention, suspended or even expelled. Bullying incidents are judged on an individual basis. First time offenses may be judged less harshly than repetitive cases. What’s important is that bullies are made aware that their actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated within the school environment.
Schools can also counter bullying actions by including moral education in their training. Studies on bullying behavior reveal that bullies share many of the same wrong mindsets and attitudes towards others. Many children today are growing up without learning basic morals and values of generosity, kindness and mutual respect. The result is a generation that sees nothing wrong with being selfish, aggressive and egotistical.
Even if parents are failing to teach moral values to their children, teachers can help turn this trend around by incorporating these values into the classroom. Through their own actions of kindness and respect, teachers can encourage their young students to follow suit. Teachers can also reward children for their good behavior, instilling in them a desire to uphold positive moral values.
Teachers should never underestimate the influence they have on a young student’s life. They have played an important role in the lives of countless celebrities, successful businessmen and influential figures over the years. The combined effort of parental and teacher support in combating bullying will continue to make a big difference in the lives of students today.
Name calling bullying is dangerous and destructive and should have no place in today’s school environment. The more students, parents and teachers get involved against bullying tactics, the less effect it will have in destroying the lives of promising students and lowering our schools’ educational standards.