Anybody who has been a child or a teenager has likely experienced bullying, whether they were the one being bullied or they were the bully themselves – sometimes both, as a matter of fact. It can be an incredibly difficult and complex situation to deal with, especially in the modern day and age with access to smartphones and social media. It’s not an understatement to say that bullying is even more difficult to deal with today than it might have been ten years ago. However, the basics of understanding bullying behavior and dealing with it are the same as they have ever been.
One of the first places to start when trying to deal with bullying behavior is building a strong support network. There are many support system building workshops available on Udemy that can help you learn the basics of this process. However, this is only the beginning of ending bullying behavior. To truly get to the source of bullying and end it for good, you must know as much as possible about the different types of bullying, some of the root causes, and the best ways possible to disrupt the patterns of bullying.
The Types of Bullying
You may be surprised to learn just how many types of bullying there are. However, before we get more in depth on the different types of bullying, there is one thing that must be understood: no one type of bullying should ever be treated as more severe than another. While it’s true that physical bullying that has escalated into violence can be the most dangerous, you also need to realize that emotional bullying can be incredibly devastating for young individuals. At its worst, emotional bullying can lead to self-harm and, in some cases, suicidal gestures. So let’s pause and look at the types of bullying that you might be confronted with.
- Physical Bullying – One of the more common and most easily identifiable types of bullying, physical bullying can consist of any types of physical gestures that might be harmful to an individual. This includes hitting, slapping, hair pulling, and other acts, as well as the destruction of another individual’s property. Remember that certain “pranks” of a physical nature also fall under the umbrella of physical bullying.
- Verbal Bullying – Name calling, the use of racist or homophobic slurs, and other types of verbal abuse can all constitute bullying. If you or your child have been targeted by these types of verbal attacks, it is important to remember that these do constitute bullying.
- Emotional and Social Bullying – This type of bullying may be the hardest to identify. It often relies on emotional manipulation, and may be the action of either a single individual or a group. Excluding an individual from a social group they once belonged to or spreading lies and rumors about an individual all fall under this type of bullying.
- Cyberbullying – As the newest form of bullying, there has been a lot of talk about cyberbullying lately. Cyberbully attacks take place primarily through social media channels, and can be especially difficult to deal with, especially when attackers choose to remain anonymous.
Dealing With Bullies
The first thing that any individual should do when they or their child is being bullied is to see what resources are available to them. If the bullying is taking place primarily in a school setting, it is crucial to let the proper authorities at the school know what is happening, when it is taking place, and who is involved in the situation.
Often, children are frightened to tell when bullying occurs, especially if they know that they might get the bully in trouble. It is important to explain to them that bullying behavior is never okay, and that the school cannot help create a safe environment for them and for other students if they do not know what is wrong.
However, going to a school official or a teacher is not always possible, especially if the bullying occurs outside of the school. In these situations, there are a few things that anybody – whether they are a child, a teen, or even an adult – can do to stop a bullying situation.
Defusing the Situation
In instances of physical or verbal bullying, the most important thing that you can do to stop it is to defuse the situation as quickly as possible. Often, this means simply walking away from the situation or not responding. Bullies do what they do to get a reaction out of the person that they are bullying. Even though it can hurt, responding in a sad, angry, or fearful manner will only make the situation worse.
Some responses that you can use include, “I’m not interested in fighting,” or even simply, “Stop.” Do not raise your voice, and do not insult the bully back, as this could provoke them further. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible, and if necessary, get help as soon as you can.
Stopping Social Bullying
Social bullying can be much more difficult to deal with. However, with social bullying, there is often a source for the issue, even if the bullying has spread to include multiple individuals. Try speaking to a school principal or a counselor who can help to mediate the situation and try to resolve it. Once the tension between the main parties is dissolved, the rest of the situation usually manages to resolve itself.
However, this is not always the case, and in situations where social bullying is an ongoing problem, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Though you may want the acceptance of the individuals bullying you in this situation, remember that these people are not your true friends. Focus on the network of supportive friends and family you have, and remember that the social situation you are in is only temporary. Don’t try and fight back with your own rumors. This will only make the situation worse for everybody involved.
Dealing With Cyberbullying
Though it can be incredibly difficult, there are ways to stop cyberbullying. The first thing to keep in mind is that even young individuals need to know how important it is to keep social networks such as Facebook private, and to only accept friend requests from people that you know and trust.
Not all social networks are private, though. Websites such as Tumblr or Reddit don’t even require other users to have an account to see posts and comments that you have made. It’s okay to use sites like these, but the safest and smartest way to conduct yourself on these sites is to use them in anonymity. Everyone, from children to adults, should learn the basics of cyber security in order to stay safe online.
Keep your username to yourself, or only let a few of your closest friends know your username. Omit information such as where you go to school, or even the exact town that you live in. Also realize that these sites do have a blocking feature, which will allow you to disallow people who have been abusive to you in the past from communicating with you in the future.
And one last thing to take note of – it is not only kids who experience bullying. Adults will come across bullies throughout their lives, especially in workplace situations. You can learn how to deal with workplace bullies right here on Udemy, so check out the course if it is applicable to a situation that you are in.
Parents might also want to check out this course that can help them manage stress in their children and teens. Bullying is not always avoidable, but there are ways to deal with the effects it has on kids to ensure that they stay safe, healthy, and happy, regardless of what they may be dealing with.