Problem Of Being Bullied At School And Ways To Stop It From Happening Again

Date December 19, 2017 16:45

According to statistics, school bullying, which is a type of bullying that occurs in an educational setting, happens to about 25-30% of children irrespective of age. This problem can occur in both senior and junior classes. Unfortunately, it's not always of the same nature, as both girls and boys sometimes sort their relationships out in quite brutal ways.

Things are much worse when this kind of bullying bears a systematic character. Even the most sociable and psychologically stable children often become victims of bullies. The improper behavior of their peers, as well as those older than them, often causes depressive conditions and general deterioration of health.

The most common reasons for such kinds of bullying are appearance or status differences and in some cases, the realization of one's own superiority over a potentially weak rival. As a rule, the first stage of bullying includes ridicule and intimidation. However, things often go as far as the application of physical force.

Insults as a method of psychological influence are mainly manifested verbally. Along with that, cases of cyberbullying with the help of social networks are becoming more frequent.

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Preconditions of bullying and the types

In order to effectively fight this phenomenon, you should first understand its nature and types. Children are not born bullies, they become such as the result of mistakes in their upbringing.  The first time a child shows aggression is at the age of 1.5-2. Parents erroneously believe that this way their child learns to protect himself.

Nevertheless, the truth is that they subconsciously feel their superiority and even some impunity. They begin to master the skill of intimidation on their mother and father and later apply this kind of attitude to their peers.

As a rule, they carefully choose their victims. They are usually those who are less confident and are at the same time afraid to confess to their parents or teachers what is going on. In most cases, these school children have already encountered bullying and prefer to keep silent so as not to make the situation even worse.

Sometimes, everything can be solved safely and without adult interference. This is because first conflicts are an inseparable part of the child's socializing process. Still, it's worth remembering that the modern world accepts neither the bullies who refuse to change the main features of their behavior at a more conscious age nor the victims who never managed to get out of that situation.

There are a few types of bullying:

1. Verbal

This kind of insult includes teasing and name-calling, for example, the use of nicknames, or jokes concerning names or surnames. These seemingly harmless phenomena lead to intimidation which can be threats of physical violence, spreading rumors, and damaging one's reputation.

2. Social

Children tend to split up into groups, which is very normal. However, it's not normal when one of them persuades others not to communicate with his victim for some reason. Bullying also occurs because bullies feel a disbalance of power. This is why they use the social aspects of another child to constantly embarrass and humiliate them in the presence of others.

3. Physical

This type of intimidation consists not only of the use of force (pushing, blows), but also of mocking the personal possessions of the potential victim. So, bullies find it funny to hide or even damage others' books and clothes, use disrespectful gestures (for example, spitting), as well as express their contempt and superiority with physical violence. In contrast to the above-mentioned types of bullying, this one is well-planned. As a rule, bullies, who can be a group, wait for their victim in a quiet place.

The psycho-emotional state of the child

When experiencing public humiliation, pupils are normally left alone with themselves and feel the following:

  • guilty of being the one who bullies chose as a victim;
  • despair because of not being able to solve the conflict themselves;
  • fear of attending school and even greater fear of having to confess their experiences;
  • shame and embarrassment caused by social isolation from others;
  • fear of the future due to the constant growth of negative experiences.

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Bullies' motives should not be left without attention, either. In most cases, the motive is the aspiration for absolute control and one of the ways of dealing with anger. It is also possible that they simply want to look stronger in the eyes of others. The reason for this is that it is the only way for them to prove their own worth.

Also, at an earlier period, they might have been victims of bullying themselves and now try to take revenge on their offenders. However, they have one thing in common, they don't understand the consequences of their actions. The reason for this is that they were not taught to respect the feelings of others.

Some bullies even have personality disorders and do not sense such normal social reactions as the feelings of guilt, sympathy, compassion or remorse.

What to do if a child is being bullied?

There are various ways of involving parents, teachers or trainers in the process of conflict resolution. After all, the offender cannot plan everything in detail, that's why they cannot even guess how adults learned about their behavior.

If you suspect that the child has become a victim of bullying, it's worth speaking to him openly and making him understand that the problem can and should be regulated. However, doing it is only possible if the child agrees to be absolutely honest and help to understand the situation from the beginning.

There are two obvious solutions that parents can apply in most cases:

  • stop reacting to the actions of bullies if the bullying is of a verbal nature;
  • teach the child to protect himself by paying more attention to his physical development.

Nonetheless, this is not a cure-all, either. It can cause an escalation of aggression on the side of the offenders, or the desire for revenge, which will make the situation much worse for everyone.

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Finland, which has one of the most successful systems of education in the world, applies an interesting approach. Psychology specialists developed a special highly-effective program for preventing bullying, which is KiVa (kiusaamista vastaan, meaning 'against intimidation'). In addition to a lecture course, it also includes a game aimed at making children ready to stand up for the victims of bullying.

This innovative approach is based on the introduction of interactive aspects of teaching. Children virtually deal with these phenomena by controlling cartoon characters. The pupils are presented with a model of a situation where they have to make a decision and support their decision of standing up for the victim's protection.

There are a few scenarios for each situation. In particular, special attention is paid to helping the bullied child socialize, for example, by offering to become friends with him or inviting him to their social group.

The results show that Finland has managed to reduce bullying incidents by 30% and increase the self-esteem of children who have faced bullying. Now, this method is being tested in other countries, including the USA, Italy, and Holland.

Intimidation is one of the oldest problems. It has only one solution and that's developing a sense of empathy in children from an early age. No matter how touching the child looks when he wants to grab his favorite toy from his father, who wants to teach him how to protect himself, it is highly possible that he will choose that method of communication with peers and older children.

Although this tool hasn't become widespread in educational systems, it can still be applied by any parent who wants to bring up a decent person.

Source: UPWORTHY, Psychology Today, ReachOut

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The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.