Bullying is a serious issue that is faced by many people. There are all types of bullies and all types of victims yet bullies have certain commonalities as do the victims. Bullying can cause lifelong psychological effects that may require therapy in order to overcome. In more serious cases, the bullying has gotten so bad that the victim chooses to take their own life just to escape the bullying they endure. It is helpful to recognize the behavior of a bully as well as the signs that someone is a victim as the sooner the signs are spotted the sooner help can arrive for all parties involved. Here you will find the signs and symptoms of the bullying/victim relationship and find out what can be done to curb this behavior and help someone who is in a toxic situation.

Bullies have existed since the beginning of time as have the victims who have suffered from the bullying. With so many different ways to bully others in this day in age, it is getting harder and harder to control it and protect the victims. The age old question though is what makes a bully a bully? Who are bullies and what are their motivations? Why are certain people targets of bullies more than others? This paper will look into bullying from a psychological standpoint and attempt to take a look into the mind of a bully. There will also be exploration into the types of bullying that are faced today which are staggering considering the new world of technology that we now live in.

Bullying Prevention and Intervention

What is Bullying?

“Bullying is an act of repeated aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.” (Ducharme, 2010). 
Bullying can take many forms. It can include: 

  • Physical violence
  • Intimidation and threats
  • Name calling and belittling
  • Social exclusion (i.e., leaving someone out of social gatherings and activities)
  • Gossiping and spreading rumors about others
  • Public humiliation
  • Using slurs, words or phrases that characterize a bullied victim’s identity to suggest that something is unacceptable or worthless (e.g., using the word “gay” when what is meant is “un-cool”, slut, blubber)

Who gets bullied?

It is estimated that nearly 30% of students are involved in bullying, as victims, perpetrators or both. Studies have found that 15 to 25% of children and youth in the U.S. are bullied and 15 to 20% bully others.

Children and youth who are overweight, gay (or perceived to be gay) or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than are other children.

What are warning signs that my child is being bullied?

Your child might be experiencing bullying if he or she:

  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, scratches and/or missing or torn pieces of clothing.
  • Seems afraid to go to school or other social activities.
  • Spends no time with friends or seems to have very few friends.
  • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school.
  • Appears sad, moody, teary or depressed when he or she comes home from school or other activities.
  • Complains of chronic pains such as headaches or stomachaches.
  • Suddenly experiences a change in sleeping patterns (either too much or not enough sleep) or has frequent bad dreams.
  • Experiences a change of appetite or eating patterns.
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.

If your child is being bullied, he or she may display one, all or even none of these warning signs. So be alert for any changes in your child’s behavior and talk to him or her frequently about what is going on at school and in other activities.

Why do kids bully?

Some reasons kids bully: 

  • Previous traumatic experiences of their own, including maltreatment or bullying.
  • A lack of warmth and involvement on the part of their parents.
  • Parent(s) exhibiting bullying behavior or violence to others, including to both people and animals.
  • Harsh, physical discipline at home, including physical abuse.
  • A lack of supervision or intervention (including little to no limits for children’s behavior) by parents, guardians, teachers and other adults.
  • Victimization by older siblings.
  • Friends who bully or who have positive attitudes about violence.
  • Models of bullying behavior are prevalent throughout society, especially in television, movies and video games.
  • Some aggressive children who take on high status roles may use bullying as a way to enhance their social power and protect their prestige with peers.
  • Some children with low social status may use bullying as a way to deflect taunting and aggression that is directed toward them and enhance their social status with higher status peers.

Bullying thrives in schools where faculty and staff do not address bullying, where there are weak policies against bullying and discrimination, and where there is little supervision of students — especially at recess or during free periods.

What is at risk when children are bullied?

Children and adolescents who are subjected to bullying are at risk of experiencing damage to their physical safety and well-being, mental health and development, self-esteem, and educational success. Often, bullied students will skip school or drop out due to their fear of humiliation and violence. Constant ridicule and torment can also have lasting effects on youth’s sense of who they are in the world, and how they identify themselves as they develop. In addition, children who are bullied may go on to harm others, which could potentially have lasting negative impacts on individuals and communities. Sadly, children and youth who are bullied sometimes turn to suicide to escape the anguish they feel. In short, we simply cannot allow children and youth to be bullied to death.

What can schools and communities do to prevent and address bullying?

  • Implement solid school and/or social policies that explicitly specify that bullying on the basis of race, ethnicity, language, gender, class, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and appearance (including weight) will not be tolerated.
  • Educate parents on cyber bullying and the use of technology that compromises both bullies and innocent children unaware of internet challenges.
  • Develop a counter culture of by-stander resistance, that models kindness, compassion, empathy and no tolerance for bullying and violence.
  • Implement regular teach-ins and other strategies like theatre improve, social clubs and class credits for embracing norms of by-stander resistance.
  • Use frequent teach-ins to embrace these norms of by-stander resistance, kindness, compassion, sharing privilege and civic responsibilities.
  • Hold every adult, including parents, school authorities and community members accountable to stop bullying in the school and community

Bullying thrives in schools where faculty and staff do not address bullying, where there are weak policies against bullying and discrimination, and where there is little supervision of students — especially at recess or during free periods.

Bullying at school, on the playground, on the bus and in cyberspace. What is bullying and Who does the bullying?

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