How to Beat Bullying
Tips on How to Beat Bullying
What Is Bullying?
Bullying in its truest form is comprised of a series of repeated intentionally cruel incidents, involving the same children, in the same bully and victim roles. This, however, does not mean that in order for bullying to occur there must be repeat offenses. Bullying can consist of a single interaction. Bullying behavior may also be defined as a criminal act if the bully is twelve years of age or older.
Common Characteristics of Bullying
What makes a bullying incident? Certain conditions must exist for a bullying incident to occur. Lots of kids joke around with each other, call each other names, or engage in some fairly physical horse-play, and yet these incidents are not deemed as bullying when they occur between certain children. The difference lies in the relationship of the bully and the victim, and in the intent of the interaction.
Bullying usually, although not always, occurs between individuals who are not friends. In a bullying situation, there is a power difference between the bully and the victim. For instance, the bully may be bigger, tougher, physically stronger or be able to intimidate others or have the power to exclude others from their social group.
The intention of bullying is to put the victim in distress in some way. Bullies seek power. Bullying knows no financial, cultural or social bounds. Bullying may not look exactly the same everywhere, but it has the same devastating effect on everyone.
The effects of bullying last a lifetime. It causes misery for the bully's victims, and leaves a lasting impression on all those who witness repeated bullying incidents.
Kinds of Bullies
Physical bullies are action-orientated. This type of bullying includes hitting or kicking the victim, or, taking or damaging the victim's property. This is the least sophisticated type of bullying, because it is so easy to identify. Physical bullies are soon known to the entire population in the school. As they get older, their attacks usually become more aggressive.
Verbal bullies use words to hurt or humiliate another person. Verbal bullying includes name-calling, insulting, making racist comments, and constant teasing. This type of bullying is the easiest to inflict on other children. It is quick and to the point. It can occur in the least amount of time available, and its effects can be more devastating in some ways than physical bullying because there are no visible scars.
Relational or relationship bullies try to convince their peers to exclude or reject a certain person or people, and cut the victims off from their social connections. This type of bullying is linked to verbal bullying and usually occurs when children (most often girls) spread nasty rumors about others or exclude an ex-friend from the peer group. The most devastating effect with this type of bullying is the rejection by the peer group at a time when children most need their social connections.
What makes a Bully?
Bullying behavior can be identified as early as pre-school age. Some children who are bullies continue this behavior into adulthood. Most children learn to control their anger and fighting instincts as they grow older, but not the bully. These children have special characteristics. Children who systematically bully others usually have a group of children they bully regularly. Other bullies randomly target a variety of students.
Bullies have particular behavior and personality traits. These may include:
- Greater than average aggressive behavior patterns
- The desire to dominate peers
- The need to feel in control, to win.
- No sense of remorse for hurting another child.
- A refusal to accept responsibility for his/her behavior.
Reasons Why Kids Bully
- Someone else -- perhaps a parent or a sibling is picking on them
- Someone bigger or stronger is trying to recruit them to be a bully, or join a gang
- They are looking for attention
- They have family problems
- They have no friends and feel lonely
- They feel insecure and bullying makes them feel powerful
- They want their classmates to think they're strong and in control
- They don't care about anyone's feelings
What Can Parents Do About A Bully?
If bullying takes place at the school, consider contacting the principal of the child's school.
Consider contacting the police. The bully's behavior may be considered criminal if the child is twelve years of age or older.