What Is Bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour mainly amongst school children. This behaviour is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over and over again. It is important to stop bullying as soon as you see the warning signs for fear of having serious, long lasting problems.
Types Of Bullying:
The common types of bullying are:
- Physical Bullying
- Verbal Bullying
- Relational Bullying – (Goes unseen by parents and teachers – sometimes referred to as emotional bullying which could cause anxiety – whereby children use social manipulation to try hurt their peers and sabotage their social standing)
- Cyberbullying – Bullying via Internet, cellphone
- Sexual Bullying – vulgar gestures, uninvited touching, crude comments
Why Do Kids Bully?
Firstly, an important thing to remember is that bullying is normal and part of the cycle. Every child, adult and teen has experienced bullying in some shape or form.
A common reason that a child becomes a bully is because he/she lacks attention from a parent at home and lashes out at others for attention. This can include neglected children, children of divorced parents, or children with parents under the regular influence of drugs/alcohol.
Older siblings can also be the cause of the problem. If they’ve been bullied, they are more apt to bully a younger sibling to feel more secure or empower themselves or very often parents are the bullies in the situation, they are angry, or don’t handle conflict well.
Children usually bully because they learn this behaviour at home. It is learned behaviour which can be unlearned.
But Some children are naturally just more aggressive, dominating and impulsive by nature. It doesn’t mean that they are bullies themselves.
More Reasons Children become bullies:
- 11% Say they do it to show off.
- 58% Say they feel the victim deserves it.
- They lack confidence.
- They have a low self-esteem.
- Trying to seek attention.
- Being bullied themselves.
- They feel powerless
- The Forgotten child (one who is seen as invisible at home)
- The entitled child (Children who are given too much power)
- Children who lack empathy.
The Response Of A Child Bully:
Why do you bully other children?
“Because it makes me feel stronger…”
“Because I see all the other kids doing it…”
“Because others bully me…”
Are You The Bully?
Did you know that bullies are more likely to do the following:
- Get into more fights than the average person.
- Drink Alcohol and Smoke.
- Steal and Deface property.
- Have Poor Grades.
It is also important to remember that parents too can be bullies
How do parents bully their children?
Parents can be bully in a variety of ways. They can be too tough on their children and expect too much and they could be calling their children a variety of horrible names.
But parents too can neglect their children and disrupt their lives and become bullies.
How some parents bully:
- By not paying school fees and getting the child suspended from school
- By forcing the child to live in horrible and cold conditions even though you have the means to change the situation
- By not providing the child with some sort of medical coverage (Medical aid or hospital plan)
- By constantly lying to your child
- By keeping harmful chemicals and other substances around your children
The Type Of Children Who Get Bullied:
Children are bullied for a variety of reasons. They target each other and even start making personality differences, an issue.
Is your child being bullied because they are… :
- Good at what they do.
- Are intelligent.
- Lack confidence and motivation
- Lacking in friends.
- Have physical features that attract attention (Glasses)
- Has an illness or disability.
- Has different cultural beliefs.
- Isn’t sporty.
How To Decrease Bullying:
- Keep open lines of communication between parent and child.
- Inform the school but only get them involved if and when the time calls for it. Acting prematurely may exacerbate the problem.
- Teach your child about Bullying and why it happens. Walk them through the process.
- Try and relate to your child with an experience you’ve possibly been through.
- Don’t shut the conversation down with “Man up” “toughen up”, “Don’t cry about it” – allow your child to experience the emotions. Remember, they are experiencing this probably for the first time.
- Try to stay in safe areas of the school at break and lunchtime where there are plenty of other people. Bullies don’t like anyone seeing what they are doing. If you are hurt at school, tell a teacher immediately and ask for it to be written down. Make sure you tell your parents.
- On the school bus, try to sit near the driver, or if it’s an ordinary bus, by other adults. If you have to walk part of the way, and you’re afraid of the bully finding you, then change your route, try to leave home and school a bit later or a bit earlier, or see if you can walk with other people who live near you, even if they’re older or younger.
- If you have a cell phone, be careful who you give your number to. If you receive threatening phone calls or emails then tell your parents. It is against the law for anyone to send offensive or threatening phone messages and if it continues, it can also amount to harassment. The police can, and do, take action.
- If you see anyone else being bullied at your school, please tell someone about it. But don’t get into trouble with the bullies, do it without anyone noticing. Tell a teacher when you get a chance and there isn’t anyone else around. People who are being bullied need friends so if you can help someone who is so unhappy please do so.
Did You Know?
- In South Africa, more than 3.2 Million Children are bullied every year
- 52% of that bullying was verbal, 22% of it was physical
- 67% of children won’t approach their teachers for help as they don’t believe it’ll change their situation
- 8% of bullying comes from teachers
- 4% of learners know of someone who is being bullied
Let’s work together to decrease the harmful affects of bullying!