Bullying is a type of abuse that attempts to create power over another person. Here are some of the common types of bullying:
- Emotional/Verbal bullying includes things like name-calling, social alienation, intimidation, sexual comments, joking about someone’s race, gender, etc. It also includes threats to a person’s safety.
- Physical bullying involves a violation of someone’s boundaries. This can include behaviors such as pushing, kicking, and punching another person.
- Indirect bullying includes spreading rumors about a person or constantly talking behind their back. The purpose of this type of bullying involves someone being emotionally hurt or in pain.
- Social Bullying is hurting someone’s reputation or their relationships, such as leaving them out on purpose, telling others not to be friends with them, and spreading rumors.
- Something that is becoming more common now is cyber-bullying, which includes sending hurtful or threatening information using electronics, emails, text messages, voicemails, etc.
Why Do Kids Bully? There isn’t one specific cause to bullying. Many things could contribute to a person bullying, including individual, peer, school, family, and community factors. Here are, however, some risks to consider.
Family risk factors for bullying:
- Harsh, physical discipline (i.e. verbal threats, physical abuse, etc).
- A lack of warm, nurturing involvement from the parents.
- A lack of supervision by parents/overly-permissive parenting
- Bullying behavior role modeled by parents
Peer risk factors for bullying:
- Bullying behavior role modeled by peers
- Seeing other children use bullying as a means to gain power or attention
- Bullying used if you want to hang out with the “right crowd”
- Bullying others so that you don’t get bullied
Some Effects of Bullying
- It can affect a child’s school performance. Those who get bullied might be afraid to go to school and start to skip school or drop out.
- Some turn to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with being bullied.
- If the child is scared to tell an adult that they are getting bullied, other symptoms might start to arise, such as difficulty concentrating, low self esteem, feelings of fear, trouble sleeping and/or eating, depression and anxiety. In some cases, children could also start to have suicidal thoughts.
- The children who bully are more likely to get into fights, drop out of school, vandalize property, steal, and use alcohol and drugs.
What to do when you are being bullied
- Always tell an adult: Keeping the bullying to yourself will not make it go away. Try to talk to an adult who you can trust. If you have tried to tell an adult and they haven’t done anything about it, don’t give up. Try to tell someone else until you find someone who is willing to help you. Make sure you tell the adult what the bullying you experience looks like – who is bullying you, where is the bullying taking place, when does the bullying happen, how long the bullying has been happening, and how does the bullying making you feel. If you talk with an adult at your school, it is their job to help keep you safe. Some people to also consider talking to include: your parents, a teacher, principal, school counselor, or someone at your church or synagogue.
- Note to parents: Do not encourage your child to physically retaliate – this will likely result in your child being disciplined at school. Instead, work with your child’s school. It is their responsibility to respond to bullying in school. You must also work with the school to make sure that your child will not have repercussions for telling on the bully.
- Groups: children who bully tend to pick on those who are alone. Try to have others around you when you can. For example, if you are at school, hang out with other children or make sure there is an adult who can see you. You can also use the “buddy system.” This means that you could buddy up with a friend in places that you think you might get bullied, such as on the bus or in the hallways.
- Don’t reply to online bullying: Try to block communications from the person who is bullying you. (For example, you can send their emails to go into Spam). Keep evidence of the bullying to show an adult.
- Don’t react: The bully wants a reaction out of you, either to make you cry or get you angry. Try to not react and practice relaxation skills (such as taking deep breaths or walking away). You can also practice ways to ignore hurtful statements, such as pretending you don’t care about their words. By ignoring the bully, you are showing them that they can’t get to you. If you continuously act like the bully isn’t getting to you, the bully will get bored with trying to bully you.
- Remove the value. If the bully is coming after your lunch money, start bringing your lunch instead. If the bully is trying to get your I-pod, leave it at home.
- Ignore the Bully. Take a different route to class if you can in efforts to avoid the bully.
- Stand up for yourself. Sometimes acting like you feel brave will make you feel brave. When you stand tall and keep eye contact, you will show the bully that you aren’t scared. You can also say “Don’t mess with me” or “No, stop” in a loud voice and then walk away.
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