What is bullying?
Bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour that can be physical or verbal.
You are made to feel hurt, angry, afraid, helpless, hopeless, isolated, ashamed and even guilty that the bullying is somehow your fault. You may even feel suicidal.
Your physical health is likely to suffer and you are at a greater risk of developing mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety or low self-esteem.
Types of bullying
Physical bullying includes the following:
Hitting, kicking or pushing someone, or even threatening to do it
Stealing, hiding or ruining someone’s things
Hazing, harassing or humiliating someone
Making someone do things he or she does not want to do.
Verbal bullying includes the following:
Refusing to talk to someone
Excluding someone from groups or activities
Spreading lies or rumours about someone
Insulting or otherwise verbally abusing someone.
You can also read about cyberbullying here.
If you are being bullied, remember –
not to blame yourself. It is not your fault. No matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.
to be proud of who you are. Despite what a bully says, there are many wonderful things about you. Keep those in mind instead of the things you hear from bullies.
to get help. Talk to a parent, teacher, counsellor or other trusted adult. Seeing a counsellor does not mean that there is something wrong with you.
Tips for dealing with a bully and overcoming bullying
There is no solution to bullying or best way to handle a bully. It may take a variety of different responses to find the strategy that works best for your situation. To defeat a bully, you need to retain your self-control and preserve your sense of self.
Walk away from the bully. Bullies want to know that they have control over your emotions, so do not react with anger or retaliate with physical force. If you walk away, ignore them or calmly and assertively tell them that you are not interested in what they have to say. In this way, you are demonstrating that they do not have control over you.
Report the bullying to a trusted adult. If you do not report threats and assaults, a bully will often become more and more aggressive. In many cases, adults can find ways to help with the problem without letting the bully know that it was you who reported them.
Repeat as necessary. In the same way as the bully, you may have to be relentless. Report each and every bullying incident until it stops.
Find support from those who do not bully. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience when being bullied. Reach out to connect with family and real friends. There are plenty of people who will love and appreciate you for who you are.
Spot the warning signs that a child or teen is being bullied
If a child is being bullied, it may not be obvious to a parent or teacher. For example, most bullying occurs away from adults, when children are alone at school or on their way home from school. Bullies tend to be adept at hiding their behavior from adults and bullying victims will often cover up evidence, because of a sense of shame at being victimized. The following warning signs may indicate that your child is being bullied:
Your child appears worried, angry and moody.
Your child may experience nightmares more frequently.
Physical complaints increase and your child avoids explaining physical injuries.
Withdrawal from friends and activities that they used to enjoy.
Take steps to stop bullying
Talk to children about bullying. Merely talking about the problem can be a huge stress reliever for someone who is being bullied. Be supportive and listen to a child’s feelings without judgement, criticism or blame.
Find help for a child who is afraid of a bully. Make sure that other teachers, friends and counsellors know that the child is being bullied. No child should have to deal with bullying alone.
Report the incidents to the relevant authorities.