What is a bully and what comes into your mind when you hear such a word? What is bullying and how does such behaviour make you feel? For some young people, a bully is the girl who always teases and makes fun of others. It could also be the biggest and toughest guy on the next block who finds pleasure in beating up kids and stealing things from them. Sometimes, a bully can be a group of kids just wanting to make fun of an innocent little kid. Bullying comes in many forms and situations. Regardless, the behaviour can make someone feel hurt and depressed. It can also keep someone from freely enjoying activities.
Bullying is rampant everywhere no matter which part of the country or town you live in. Bullying always happens and it has been around for a very long time. It is such a common incident that most adults think that having their kids bullied by others is just a phase of young adolescence. You will even hear parents tell their kids to just toughen up, brush it off, and ignore the bullies. It then appears that it is easy for them since they can say just that. However, being a bully victim is never – and will never be – easy.
If some adults assume that bullying is just “normal” during young adolescence, then why does the victim have to suffer? This is because bullying is not just a “phase”. Young people should be able to feel safe doing their everyday routine in school or in the neighbourhood. They have the right to feel good about themselves. Since bullying is becoming an increasing problem in society these days, here is some information that might help you understand about bullies and bullying.
There is a need to understand the different types of bullying in order to stop the behaviour itself. Bullying can be physical, verbal, and involve relationships.
What is physical bullying? Physical bullying involves hitting or kicking someone. Even threatening to hit someone is also considered physical bullying. Stealing or destroying someone’s property is also considered a form of physical bullying. Additionally, if someone is asking a person to do something against his or her will, that can also be called physical bullying.
There is also the verbal type of bullying which involves insulting, teasing, and calling other people names. On the other hand, relationship bullying is a type of bullying where the bully shuns the victim, spreading nasty rumours about him or her, and also forcing someone to do something against their will.
All of these types of bullying share something in common – they can make someone feel miserable, uncomfortable, unsafe, and afraid. When these actions are repeatedly done towards a certain person over a long period of time, it will be considered as bullying.
Bullying from a Kid’s Perspective
What is bullying and what is bullying for kids? How do kids these days perceive such an act? There are kids who have experienced being a victim; others are bullies themselves. Unfortunately, there are also children who can be either a bully or the victim and this is because the bullied victim eventually learns how to bully others since they know first-hand how it feels to be oppressed. It is a sad reality but it should not be an excuse for any bullied victims. The victim always has a choice to do the right thing and not make things worse.
Most kids understand what bullying is about. They have an idea that bullying is a mean act intended to hurt other people’s feelings. Kids these days also know that most of the time, the defenceless become the victim. A bully takes satisfaction in the fact that they can make someone feel powerless. It can be hard to deal with bullies and most kids will not know what to do about such an incident. However, some kids will admit that fighting back is their best option but it is likely to get them into more trouble.
The next question to ask is, “What is bullying?” What impact does it have on the victims or the bullies themselves? There are different consequences of bullying and they are not only limited to the victims. Bullying also has an impact on the bullies, the people who witness the incident, and even on the environment.
Bullying has a very serious impact on the victim. Bully-victims can suffer from physical problems such as getting headaches, sleeping problems, and even stomach pain. Most bully-victims will start to feel unsafe and afraid when going to the school, riding the school bus, or using the restroom. Eventually, the victim could lose interest in school and may develop difficulty in concentration which can cause poor performance in school.
On a more serious note, the victim can lose self-esteem which will likely result in depression and suicidal tendencies. Some victims may even become violent.
Bullying and the Bully
When you look at the bullying picture, the bully is usually portrayed as the physically strong character that has power over the powerless. However, the real story is that the bully is no better than the victim and they likely do not have a better future for themselves. These kids are most probably going to grow up getting into fights. They will probably grow up to become delinquents and violent. Studies even show that bullies have increased risk of becoming criminals later on in their lives.
Still, it is important not to close your mind to the fact that some bullies may also have a good upbringing at home. Some bullies are even socially-groomed and it may be difficult for someone to believe that such a person is a bully.
Bullying and the Witnesses
Bullying also has an impact on young people who are witnesses to the act. They can feel helpless and even guilty for not standing up to the victim. They will also start to feel afraid of becoming a potential target. With this kind of impact on the witnesses, their attitude will become less empathic.
How Bullying Affects the Entire School
If bullying incidents persist and no action has been taken by the school administration, the entire school can be affected. It will no longer be an environment filled with respect. Worse, the students will start fearing more instead of enjoying the time to learn. Students will likely feel insecure and will eventually lose interest in academics.
Bullying has several devastating consequences. Yes, bullying may stop once school is finally over, but the effects can remain for a long period of time. In some studies, the effects of bullying has shown to last even for more than 20 years. In adolescent victims, anxiety and depression are most common effects and these problems can continue even if the bullying has long been stopped.
Stopping Bullies in School
What to do if you are being bullied in school? A school is the most common place for bullying. The best way to stop this type of incident is to get parents involved. Parents play an important role in their child’s behaviour. In the case of bullies, they are usually products of homes where parents consider physical punishment as a right way to discipline kids.
Bullies usually witness their parents fight endlessly, so what they always see at home is violence. In most cases, bullies grow up in a home with poor parenting practices. The best way to stop bullying incidents in school is to implement effective discipline early on. However, parents of bully-victims do not have power over the bully’s home environment. It is up to the school to do something about bullying incidents. Here are some of the things a school can do to take control of bullying incidents.
- There is no “one size fits all” approach to bullying. However, most schools usually facilitate counselling to help victims and educate bullies as well.
- Spreading questionnaires around school can also be helpful. It is like a survey conducted on school grounds to ask the respondents’ perspectives on bullying. It can be an excellent tool to assess how rampant bullying is in a school environment.
- Organize anti-bullying programs in school. In most cases, parents (of both victims and bullies) are not aware the bullying incidents are occurring in their children’s school, so raising awareness through anti-bullying programs can help. It takes a team to put a stop to bullying and everyone should play their part. Parental awareness is important, so PTA conferences should also be held to discuss about the incident.
- Teachers can also be a target for bullies, but they should put on effort in educating students about bullying. Children should be taught everything that is wrong about bullying and the devastating effects it has.
- Schools should be clear about their rules on bullying incidents. It helps to ask experts to go to the school and talk about bullying.
Dealing with Bullies
There are so many ways one can deal with bullies. Here are some tips.
- Report any physical threats or threats about having your things stolen or taken from you. Most threats from bullies may not be considered serious but you will never know when they will mean it. If taken seriously, it is easy to track bullies. Even bullies who hide under an online persona can be tracked with proper investigation.
- While it may be difficult, letting someone you trust know about you being bullied can help. Talk to your parents, the school teacher, or counsellor about your problem. The school should be able to help in the situation.
- Make a point that bullying can be considered unlawful. Educating people about what is wrong or right can help with the problem. The prosecution of bullies can also be a hard lesson for them.
- Make the prosecution case against bullies public. This also applies to cyber bullying. This method can help reduce the number of bullying incidents.
- Anger management classes may help bullies take control over their power to oppress. Schools, combined with parental support, should be able to help bullies deal with their issues by considering anger management classes.
- Ignoring bullies may be easier said than done. However, bullies are usually desperate for attention and they usually take satisfaction in their victim’s reactions. Ignoring bullies can be an effective method. If you ignore them, you will not react and that means you are not fun person to pick on in the mind of a bully.
The Campaign on Anti-Bullying
Since bullying has become a rampant problem in society, various campaigns against it have been started. What is anti bullying? Anti-bullying campaigns exist to help stop and prevent bullying. At the same time, it is important to raise its awareness through proper education. Different groups and organizations have been established against bullying. Victims should know that they are not alone and there are people who support them in the fight against such cruel behaviour.
In the UK, an annual event exists to raise the awareness of bullying. Anti-Bullying Week is celebrated every year with students from different schools who gather together to support anti-bullying. Various activities are held in school and even in different neighbourhoods to spread the message that bullying is not acceptable.
Children who are continuously bullied, whether in or out of school, are most likely to develop poor self-esteem. They can lose confidence and the will to perform better in school. They have been known to have a dramatic decrease in their academic performance. It should be made known that bullying results in hurtful consequences which may lead to depression and worse, death from suicide.
Schools and parents should all take part in educating their children about bullying behaviours. This can help children at school at least feel safe about their environment. Children who are known to bully other kids should also be taught how to be empathic and sensitive towards other people’s feelings. They should also be dealt with the proper way in order for schools to become a much safer place for students. Working hand in hand is essential to stop bullying incidents.