School Bullying is Nothing New
Bullying has probably been around since the days of the cave man. It is a human condition that has evolved along with the human brain and psyche. The need for dominance to compete for food may be the root of bullying. As the homo sapiens species evolved and learned to grow food and stay in one place, human relations arose. Social skills and empathy for others would have to be worked out over eons. Social problems, along with certain personality disorders, would help give rise to the bully. No state of utopia in which bullying doesn’t exist is likely to grow. However, with awareness and strategies, bullying in school can be controlled.
What is bullying?
What sets bullying apart from normal childhood teasing and taunting? The severity and duration of bullying can be used as indicators. By nature, kids can sometimes appear to be cruel. Not necessarily because they are mean by nature, but more so that they can be brutally honest. Young children don’t have the social and empathy skills that adults have. We have to rely on positive role-modeling to influence them and teaching strategies to inform them.
It is important that adults not think of bullying as a normal part of childhood. They should not have the attitude that kids need to “toughen up.” Instead,adults should teach kids assertiveness and how to stand up for themselves. Both adult and child bullies tend to target those with low self esteem. Fearfulness and helplessness greatly reinforces bullying.
What Causes Bullying?
The bullying personality will develop in childhood and is related to factors in the family, peer relations and in response to school and community situations. Lack of warmth at home, too much or too little discipline and physical punishment may contribute to bullying. An imbalance of power can occur if children are raised in non-accepting homes where the way others look, their customs or socioeconomic status are either inferior or superior to their own.
The child who bullies does so to gain attention and secure friends. A stronger person may sense the weaker one. Because of the negativity the bully is surrounded with, he will be compelled to gain power over the weaker. Fear by the victim reinforces the bullies sense of domination.
Bullies feel a need to be affiliated with negative peer groups. They tend to think bullying behavior will gain them acceptance. They are at a great risk for increase in criminal activity. Because bullying is a form of violence, so will be the crimes committed. It is estimated that one in four school bullies will have a criminal record by age 30.
Some people may bully because of poor social skills that can be traced to emotional or personality disorders. They may lack empathy as the sociopath does. They may bully in a very subtle way.
Different Kinds Of Bullying
Bullying can be classified as follows:
- Verbal. excessive and malicious teasing, insulting remarks, making fun of differences, embarrassing remarks and revealing information, cursing at someone because of something they did that the bully doesn’t approve of.
- Physical. hitting, tripping, kicking, pushing and shoving.
- Social. ignoring a certain person and out casting them from a group. making them feel left out, causing them low self-esteem.
- Cyber bullying. threats and put downs via electronic media, texting, emailing and social media sites.
- work place bullying. spreading lies, rumors, setting people up for failure, using authority to intimidate, playing “gotcha.”
- Bullying can occur between peers at school or in the community, between adults at work or in social groups. There are even cases of teachers bullying students.
Researchers note that there are differences in bullying in school between boys and girls. Boys tend to be more overt while girls use more verbal and social bullying-hurting others feelings, making them feel left out. This passive-aggressive type of bullying may be harder for adults to detect.
Pack bullying is when a group, usually older children, target one or more victims. It can be physical or emotional. It is often done by cyber bullying. It lasts longer and can be the most damaging because it is the type of bullying that can lead to long- term depression or suicide.
What to consider for prevention of School Bullying?
- Form an awareness campaign that involves the entire community.
- Have strong school-wide rules and consequences for bullying.
- Give positive attention to acceptance and respect.
- Include anti-bullying messages and information in newsletters, websites and other communications.
- Form ways to better supervise hallways, bathrooms, playgrounds or any area that is less supervised.
- Integrate the campaign into the community.
- Implement a random acts of kindness program which rewards kindness.
How School Bullying can be prevented?
It is important for schools to address bullying because it both threatens a student’s safety and impacts learning. It will be more prevalent if it is not addressed. States provide guide- lines as to when bullying requires intervention by law enforcement. Schools have an obligation to define bullying and properly report it. It is a safety issue.
A team can be formed to assess school bullying and to launch an awareness campaign. This should begin by assessing school bullying. Where does it occur, and how often? What are the kinds of bullying that is occurring? Establish a climate in which school bullying is not accepted.
What Can Parents Do If Kids Are facing school bullying?
Proactive involvement in the child’s life is the first step in preventing school bullying. Talk with them and listen when they talk. Ask open-ended questions about their relationships. Ask how they spend time between classes. Most importantly, recognize the signs of being bullied.
Signs That A Child May Be A Victim Of School Bullying
- Personal items often missing
- Asking for extra money
- Frequently “losing” lunch and other monies
- Frequent head aches or stomach aches
- Avoiding after-school activities
- Consistently going to school early or late
What to Consider in Preventing Your Child From Being Bullied or becoming a Bully
- Teach children anti-bullying habits early. Address hitting and teasing.
- Be a role model. Avoid things like road rage.
- Teach children to be assertive.
- Build trust between yourself and child.
- Teach children to report bullying in a way that keeps them safe.
- Try to find ways to report bullying anonymously.
- Teach children about cyber-bullying.
- Have the computer in a location that is open, such as a den.
- Advocate for the school to have an anti-bullying campaign.
- Provide an environment that is accepting and nonjudgmental.
- Seek counseling for the child that is a bully.
- Enroll the child in a martial art to build confidence
Along with the above guidelines on school bullying, stress that they are never to be bullies and that they must report bullying. Making this a major household rule will go a long way in avoiding bullying all around. Ending childhood school bullying may in turn end adult bullying and bullying in the workplace.