How to deal with bullies Pt. 1 – Topics For Parents Mini-edu Session
There are many different types of bullying that can be experienced by children and adults alike. Some are obvious to spot while others can be more subtle. The different types of bullying that we look at below are some of the ways that bullying could be happening:
Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying causes both short-term and long-term damage.
Verbal bulling includes name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. While verbal bullying can start off harmless, it can escalate to levels which start affecting the individual target.
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as covert bullying, is often harder to recognize and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation.
Social bullying can include:
- Lying and spreading rumours
- Negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks
- Playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
- Mimicking unkindly
- Encouraging others to socially exclude someone
- Damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.
The Cyber Bullying Research Centre defines cyber bullying as: the intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, phones, and other electronic devices.
Cyber bullying can be overt or covert bullying behaviours using digital technologies including hardware such as computers and smartphones, and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms.
Cyber bullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying.
Cyber bullying can include:
- Abusive or hurtful texts, emails or posts, images or videos
- Deliberately excluding others online
- Nasty gossip or rumours
- Imitating others online or using their log-in.
Bullying Is Meant to Hurt
Verbal bullying is different from teasing. It’s not done to make friends, or to relate to someone. Just the opposite: The goal is to embarrass the victim and make the bully look better and stronger.
The tricky thing is that bullying may start out as teasing. But when it’s done over and over and is meant to be hurtful or threatening, it becomes bullying.
Verbal bullying includes calling a victim names, taunting and sexual harassment. It can happen in person, through texting, and online through social media and email.
Bullying also involves an imbalance of power. Bullying victims usually don’t provoke it. Rather, kids may not be able to defend themselves because of their physical size, or because of their social position in school or in a group. And if a victim gets upset, bullies typically don’t stop. The bullying may even get worse.
Unlike kids who are being bullied, kids who are being teased can influence whether it continues or ends. If they get upset, the teaser usually stops.
Sometimes, kids who are trying to tease end up bullying. For example, a child may say something mean-spirited to another, thinking it’s playful. This can lead to an argument. Or a child may react angrily to a comment that’s friendly, which may cause other kids to keep their distance.
To address these struggles, it’s important to teach kids about the rules of conversation. Help kids sort out when teasing is okay and when it becomes hurtful or borders on bullying. One way to do this is by role-playing with them. This lets kids practice a situation where they get teased, don’t like it, and need to respond.
Questions to Ask Kids About Teasing:
Maybe you’ve heard that kids are teasing your child or your student at school. You can ask a few questions to see whether it’s good-natured or harmful:
- Are the kids who tease you your friends?
- Do you like when they tease you?
- Do you tease them back?
- If you told them to stop teasing, would they?
- If you told them that they hurt your feelings, what would they say sorry?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” or “I don’t know,” then it may be a case of negative teasing or even bullying. It’s important to find out more.