Bullying – Hurt kids, hurt kids!
The prevalence of bullying amongst children is a particularly important topic; however, one should keep in mind that the syndrome is diverse and complex with family dynamics playing an important role in the process. Children frequently learn communication skills, behaviours and life skills from the modelling provided by older family members.
There is a significant difference between playing and bullying in young children. Occasional roughness between children is a perfectly normal part of play, while repeated roughness or repeated planned victimization on the other hand, is not.
The intention of bullying is to cause deliberate hurt or to gain more power and control. Bullying usually occurs consistently between the same children, with each consistently assuming the same role, that of victim or aggressor.
Initially, the effects of being bullied could seem inconsequential and the victim will naturally be upset by what they are experiencing. They may occasionally return home tearful or perhaps become withdrawn, begin to have sleepless nights or bad dreams. If the bullying continues the victim may begin to make up excuses like having a stomach ache, headache or other minor illness with the intention of avoiding the location where the incidents are taking place, such as school or day-care.
Ideally the problem should never reach this stage. Bullying requires immediate adult intervention to intercede and lessen the traumatic effects of stress associated with the incident, since this can negatively impact and undermine the victim’s confidence and self-esteem, and in extreme cases could lead to self harm and suicide later in life.
Children are highly skilled at using technology but they don't always know how to respond to negative issues that may arise online. A new form of bullying called “Cyber Bullying” is on the rise and presents when a teen, preteen or child is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or is otherwise targeted by a member of their peer group using the internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.
More familiar forms of bullying consist of:
Verbal bullying - this cruel form of bullying is most likely perpetrated by girls and can leave the victim deeply emotionally scarred, the effects of which may linger far beyond the point of which the bullying took place. Verbal bullying consists of teasing, name calling, sarcasm and spreading rumours.
Social bullying – this form of bullying usually takes place publicly where an aggressor deliberately attempts to exclude another from a social group. This type of bully will often make the victim the scapegoat and humiliate them at every opportunity in front of others.
Physical bullying – This form of bullying is most likely perpetrated by boys and only occasionally girls, it takes the form of hitting, pinching, pushing, taunting and destroying or stealing possessions.
If you are a parent reading this article and are concerned about your child’s aggressive habits, please seek professional assistance. By helping kids develop the right skills early, one can prevent bullying permanently. The greatest role models in a child’s life are parents and the lessons that are taught to children in their first few years will leave an indelible mark on them for the rest of their lives.