Bullying

By: Melody Lavian, Loma Linda University Student

What you should know:

  • What is it?
    • Bullying occurs when a child or group of children act antagonistically towards another child or group of children in order to assert power
      • Bullying is often a repeated act
    • According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, about half of children are bullied at one point in their lives while at school, and 10% are bullied regularly and continually
    • Bullying can cause severe problems later in life, both for the bully and the bullied
    • Bullying can occur anywhere, especially when children are at school
      • In the classroom, in the halls, on the bus, on the playground, etc.
      • However, bullying has spread to the home, as well – cyber-bullying, or bullying that occurs over the internet / through mobile communication, is on the rise
  • What types of bullying often occur?
    • Verbal
      • Insults / Taunts
      • Threats
      • Inappropriate remarks that are sexual in nature
    • Physical
      • Pushing / Shoving
      • Hitting
      • Tripping
      • Spitting
      • Stealing / Destroying Belongings
    • Social / Psychological
      • Purposefully not including someone in a group activity
      • Spreading rumors
      • Humiliating someone while in a group setting
      • Advising other children not to be a certain individual’s friend
      • Stalking
  • Warning signs that a child might be the target of bullying:
    • Injuries that the child cannot explain
    • Disappearing or damaged belongings
    • Increases in stomachaches, headaches, or other general ailments
    • Avoidance of school or lowered grades
    • Loss of friendships or loss of interest in social situations
    • Sleeping problems / Appetite changes
    • Self-esteem problems
    • Self-injurious behavior or suicidal ideation

 

What you can do about it:

  • To avoid being targeted/how to react if targeted:
    • Try to always be with a buddy or around other groups of children, as bullies often pick on solo children
    • If a bully does tease you, act as though his or her tease is neither hurtful nor clever, even if it does sting
    • Never react using physical violence
    • Alert teachers or aides if teasing escalates into a serious physical or verbal act of aggression

 

  • What teachers can do:
    • Set firm rules and standards that bullying will not be tolerated
    • Teach students about the harmful effects of bullying
    • Be trained on how to effectively handle bullying, and what the school’s consequences are

 

  • What parents can do:
    • Use positive reinforcement to help your child improve his or her self-esteem
    • Listen to your child if he or she needs to talk about the experience of being bullied and encourage your child to share about his or her school day on a regular basis
    • Take the experience of being bullied seriously and understand how hurtful it can be
    • Never condone violence

 

  • What other children can do:
    • Don’t laugh at a child being bullied; try not to reinforce the bully’s hurtful behavior
    • Along with other students, speak up about how bullying is not okay if you see it happening
    • Don’t join in with the bullying
    • Alert an adult if the situation escalates

 

Sources Consulted