Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Beat bullying


Bullying is a universal phenomenon. No doubt, it hurts. Though years later you may recover from the effects, while you are undergoing it, it makes life difficult and miserable for the victim. Bullying erodes confidence of the victims and when they decide to beat back bullying they can resort to unthinkable means. Newspapers are splashed with children resorting to violence to settle scores and bullying may be somewhere ingrained in the psyches of children who do so. Every day in our schools and communities, children are teased, threatened, or tormented by bullies. A very competitive school environment can contribute to bullying.

Decoding bullying

There are many different forms of bullying; it isn’t all-physical violence it is also verbal or social abuse, this can be by way of intimidation, making nasty comments and excluding the person. The most common types of bullying are–

Verbal bullying

Girls very often do this type of bullying; it is a very cruel form of bullying and can have deep lasting mental effects on your child even when the bullying has been stopped. Verbal bullying consists of —

  • Name calling
  • Sarcasm
  • Teasing
  • Spreading rumours, etc.

Social bullying

Ostracizing child is another form of bullying. The bully never misses an opportunity to humiliate the victim.

Physical bullying

Usually boys do this but girls are not immune to it, it takes forms of

  • Hitting
  • Pinching
  • Poking
  • Pushing
  • Chasing
  • Destroying or stealing possessions.

Cyber bullying

This form of bullying is becoming more widespread and consists of

  • Sending hateful text messages
  • E-mails
  • Spreading rumours by these methods.


Whichever form of bullying takes place it can have serious health related issues in future.

Some signs of being bullied may be:

  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Finding excuses for not going to school, e.g. feeling sick or being sick
  • Being very tense, tearful and unhappy before or after school
  • Talking about hating school or other children
  • Showing bruises or scratches
  • Damage to or loss of personal belongings
  • Showing problems with sleeping, e.g. not sleeping, nightmares.
  • Not having any friends
  • Refusing to talk about what happens at school.

Psyche of a bully

Studies have shown that children who bully are more likely to engage in other criminal and anti-social behaviors, such as:

  • Fighting
  • Vandalism
  • Dropping out of school
  • Stealing
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Drug addiction, etc.

The stress from being bullied can create problems for children at school. The effects of bullying can impact not only the direct victim, but also other children who witness such acts. It can cause children to experience —

  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Physical illness
  • Even suicidal thoughts.

For bullies and bullied

Parental intervention, love and guidance often help in rectifying bullies and give courage to the bullied. If your child is a bully you can—

  • Tell her the behavior won’t be tolerated.
  • Teach her non-violent ways to express anger.
  • Let her know there will be negative consequences if the behavior continues.
  • Praise and reward appropriate behavior.
  • Consider counselling.
  • Don’t allow siblings to taunt him or call him names.
  • Teach her to appreciate the differences in others instead of ridiculing them.

What to do if your child is bullied?


  • Praise and encourage your child – a confident child is less likely to be bullied.
  • Help your child develop new friends – new peers can provide a new chance.
  • Maintain contact with your child’s school. Keep a detailed record of bullying episodes and communicate with the school.
  • Encourage your child to participate in sports or physical activity to improve esteem.


  • Establish a bullying prevention committee at school.
  • Create a long-term anti-bullying plan and raise school and community awareness and involvement
  • Survey to determine if there is a bullying problem.
  • Involve parents in planning, discussions and action plans.
  • Establish classroom rules against bullying.
  • Initiate serious talks with bullies and victims of bullying.

Children are intrinsically innocent. If they are reacting in a way that is not suited to their age—(read bullying), somewhere they need help to channelise their energies or are calling for time and attention of parents. Respond to their calls before it is too late.

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