Bullying is a conduct of a person who frightens vulnerable people or a set target to harm them deliberately in a repeated manner. It includes different kinds of threats such as verbal attacks, intimidation and others. The misuse of power against people is prevalent with aggressive behaviour at all times.
It happens in schools among children where the children getting bullied often get upset when they return home. It’s not always physical, as it could involve teasing and making fun of someone. Instead, practices such as shoving, pushing, hitting, kicking, name-calling or harsh trading, posting lame messages on social media or texts are often adopted.
“Typical bullying symptoms include physical complaints such as tummy aches, as well as worries and fears, and a child not wanting to go to school. A normal defense is to avoid or withdraw from things that are making her stressed,” says Steven Pastyrnak, PhD, the division chief of Psychology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Types of Bullying
- Verbal bullying: It is either stating or writing mean things to make them feel lower. It includes taunting, teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual remarks.
- Social bullying: It is also known as relational bullying, making someone hurt or their reputation and relationships. It includes leaving someone with no interaction, spreading rumours, slamming, asking other children not to be friends with someone.
- Physical bullying: It is painful for a person’s body or possession and involves spitting, hitting/kicking/pinching, breaking someone’s things, making rude hand gestures.
- Cyberbullying: With the use of digital technologies, it takes place on electronic devices to harass others and causes psychological, emotional and physical stress. It is an extension of physical bullying and results in traumatisation. Examples: Tracing a person’s location through illegal routes, posting obscene pictures on social media platforms.
How to deal with bullying?
- Open the line of communication: One should use calm and be amiable when conversing with a person who has been bullied. Ensure there is a secured room to talk freely and wholeheartedly. There should not be fear while discussing such issues and look forward to a solution-oriented approach.
- Building confidence: When it comes to children, adults should always move toward setting up a scenario where there should be optimism and hope for the future. Parents should discuss the unique qualities of a child with encouragement. “As parents, we have a tendency to focus on negative situations, but kids actually listen better when their good behaviors are reinforced,” believes Dr Pastyrnak.
- Teach them ways to react in the circumstances: When a bully speaks badly of a person, one should stay strong and determined irrespective of their behaviour. Reminisce about your achievements during that period.
- Report to authorities: When there is repetitive bullying leading to anxiety, one should report to the concerned authority for action. Taking help from seniors or experts is acceptable and suitable for one’s peace.
- Being an upstander: If you see someone getting bullied, you should raise your voice for something wrong happening in front of you. Professor of counsellor education at Minnesota State University, Mankato and author of Working With Parents of Bullies and Victims, Walter Roberts states, “When it’s the kids who speak up, it’s ten times more powerful than anything that we’ll ever be able to do as an adult.” Taking a stand can let other people feel good in their bad times and provides support to resolve issues.