Family System’s Approach with helping the bullying victim
No one can live on his own. No one can go through his life without needing the support of others and without feeling the need to support others at the same time. Most of us would have families we can ask help from when we are in distress. In any case, everyone would need someone else to help him out with things, most especially those who are victims of different social offenses like bullying. Because the bullying victim has been ostracized by his peers and other individuals, it is important that he is not made to feel isolated by his family. This is mostly because the bullying victim may see his family as his last resort for coping with his experience. However, this may only be pertinent to cases where the bully comes from outside the family and not from the family members themselves.
What do we mean by family though? Do we refer to groups of people related by blood or to individuals who have related to one another in emotionally significant ways over a long period of time? The latter definition is actually a more applicable term when defining a family as families no longer need to consist of the usual mother, father and children combination. With victims of bullying then, the one helping the victim may want to know first who are the people the victim considers as his family in order to help him out with his situation. Taking into account the victim’s everyday social environment will give venue for interventions that will best work out for him. If for instance, the bullying victim only has his friends for his main support then the friends may be included in the victim’s healing. On the other hand, the victim’s distant relationship with his parents and siblings does not immediately mean that the main family cannot serve as a pillar during these times of trial. The person whose task is to aid in the victim’s mending will just have to explore this familial relationship and see what can be done to involve the family members in the victim’s healing process. It may even be possible that the bullying experience might be the bridge leading to the patching up of the distance between the victim and the victim’s family.
But what is with the family that can help the bullying victim’s healing? A family is relatively a stable source of support and care. When family members show that they are affectionate to one another, they show that they are united in everything that they do. The misunderstandings and disagreements that occur between and among the members are just little compared to the commitment the members have to contribute to one another’s wellness. This commitment is essential in helping the bullying victim stand up against his bully and move on with his life. When the family members give word that they will be with the bullying victim all throughout his cross, then they will be there no matter what, this is why, they can be crucial when it comes to giving the victim the chance to take back his life. Without the family, the bullying victim’s likelihood of wanting to prove that he can assert against his perpetrators will perhaps be lesser than when he has his family‘s unwavering support.
Furthermore, the family who is concerned about the wellness of their member will respond to the needs of their member consistently. In such ways, the family environment will be contributing to the self-worth of the victim, making the victim feel that he is important and not just someone who can be taken for granted. The victim’s self-worth is an indicator whether he is more prone to being bullied compared to other people. If the victim does not believe that he can do things, he will be helpless when he is harassed by his peers and other individuals. This lack of sound self-worth will trap the victim, disabling him from moving on from his experiences. It is the family then who can help the victim feel good about himself and as a result, increase his sense of worth.
People also learn through observing other people. If the victim will see that his family members know how to assert themselves and handle bullies, he will learn these behaviors from them in the long run. It would be like social contagion in a sense because the victim will catch the assertiveness he sees in his family members. Thus, the victim’s family can further help him heal through actually being models of assertive people who do not tolerate any form of bullying. Naturally, the family members must definitely be firm and confident in their ways of dealing with bullying cases simply because they cannot teach to others what they don’t have.
In line with the task of being models of assertiveness for the victim, the victim’s family can function as individuals whom the victim can converse with about his pain over his experiences. In this case, the family members may want to encourage the victim to practice dialogues with them about what can be done to pull out the bullying victim from feeling helpless and vulnerable to bullying. Conversing with the bullying victim can help the victim objectify things or at least see his own self in the different possible bullying situations he might find himself in when he chooses reintegrate to the outside world. Additionally, the victim’s family can also take turns in monitoring the victim’s whereabouts. Since it is highly advisable never to leave the victim on his own as much as possible, then the members can take turns in being with the victim as he goes through his daily routines. It would be perhaps more convenient for everyone if things are done this way because only having one or two persons to help monitor the activities of the victim can be a taxing feat. The parents for instance have their jobs to do as well thus it will be impossible for them to be always the ones who will watch out for the victim’s welfare. Involving the siblings and other people whom the victim considers as part of his family will give everyone else a chance to do their own things too since there will be many of them taking turns to accompanying the victim and heeding out for situations where the victim will likely be bullied again.
What is then the role of the person seeking to help the victim of bullying? His first role is to find out about the relational dynamics of the victim and his family. This is because some families are troubled and thus would actually be a contributing source to the profile of the victim as at risk of becoming bullied. Members of troubled families are often in a power struggle and are unable to meet the needs of one another consistently. This is contrary to well families with members who can complement one another’s needs, resolve conflicts and communicate openly and flexibly when the other members expressed their demands. If the person aiding the victim’s healing process would see that the victim’s familial relationship is smooth then well and good. He would simply have to ask the members to help the victim recover from his trauma and then find a mean that will best suit them to make the steps to the victim’s recovery easier for all of them. On the other hand, if the person seeking out to the victim finds that the victim’s family is troubled, then he may have to set some boundaries and limitations first to make the family members understand that their personal issues should be set aside when they are doing things to help the victim get over his experience. When the latter scenario is true to the victim’s case, then the person trying to help him out would need to understand that the victim can heal only after his family’s healed as well. The family’s wellness is thus vital to help rebuild the bullying victim’s life.