Now these days, parents seem less disposed to send their children to class because of the threat of bullying. This global phenomenon continues to plague the lives of children and adults alike. In his article “The Postemotional Bully” Stjepan Meštrović described “The bully, as a social type, is instantly recognizable in playgrounds, classrooms, the military, boardrooms, and all social institutions at every stage of life” (Meštrović 4). It is a broad problem as adults can also be victims of bullying; this can occur in their relationship, family, and their place of work. Today let’s focus on children as most parents envisage homeschooling or taking justice into their hand to protect their progenies.
To fully understand and deal with bullying, it is essential to know what it is. In the article, “The Anti-Bullying Handbook,” Keith Sullivan described bullying as, “a conscious, willful and repetitive act of aggression and or manipulation and or exclusion by one or more people against another person or people” (Sullivan 10). It means that the bully knows precisely what he is doing and want to hurt others. They pick on their weaker and shy peers repeatedly to beat them.
This description further emphasizes the types of bullying one may endure such as physical, verbal and social bullying. The causes of bullying can vary from the tormenter’s family situation, violence culture and the desire for power over others. The most frightening part is the adverse consequences that their actions have on themselves and their victims. The repercussions range from psychological, physical and academic consequences. As a parent or an educator, it is beneficial to be well-informed and prepared with the essentials tools necessary to protect the victims of bullying.
To swiftly identify the signs of bullying, one must be informed of the types. The primary and most common kind of bullying behavior is physical bullying. In the article “Basic Knowledge about School Bullying and Cyberbullying.” Peter Smith described physical bullying as “physical forms of aggression” (Smith 79). The tormentor uses his fists to inflict injury on the weaker children. The bully beat the bullied to procure corporal harms. Repeatedly, they push the weaker children around in an attempt to frighten them as much as possible and to make them feel their pain. Another common type is verbal bullying. In the article “Are You OK? : A Practical Guide to Helping Young Victims of Crime” author Pete
Wallis described verbal bullying as an “ attempt to hurt through name-calling, spreading rumors, taunting, ridiculing or mimicking” (Wallis 32). The bullies prefer to use words as weapons than punches. They make fun of their peers’ appearance; they embarrass them by calling them with derogatory names (slut, nerd, weird). It is particularly challenging for a child with disabilities as their tormentor mimic the disabilities to make fun of them. Often, verbal bullying occurs in public, so there is an audience to eyewitness the victim’s shame. Paradoxically, there is a form of bullying that is a combination of the physical and verbal bully.
It is a method used by the aggressor that is complicated to recognize and perhaps the most upsetting type of bullying. It is the social bullying. The teaser does not personally injure the victim. Instead, the bully creates a sort of social group where he is the master and choose who is worth to belonging in. The bully manipulates the victim by having them perform a brutal and shameful act in public, but simultaneously deny them access to the desired group as the victim is trying desperately to fit in. The group takes advantage of the situation the make fun of him while rejecting and excluding him.
Bullying does not occur by chance; thus it is crucial to explore the causes of the bully behavior. In the article, “Bullybusting: Six Secrets to Help Children Deal with Teasing and Bullying,” writer Evelyn M. Field states “once you understand the causes, you can work out how to prevent it” (Field 37). In other words, to be able to prevent bullying, one must understand the underlying reason a person becomes a bully. To emphasize this point further, Cleo Fante mentions in the book, “Fenômeno Bullying: Como Prevenir a Violência Nas Escolas e Educar,” how bullying occurs during “the absence of authority” (Fante 61). In more instances than one, the bully comes from a dysfunctional family. The parents are absent or do not have any idea about how to educate their troubled children. In those family situations, no one cares for one another, and there is neither love nor affection in the household. It can also happen that bullying comes from an unstructured family where no one is capable or willing to provide an exemplary authority figure for the child to portray.
On the flip side of things, the authority figure can also be the reason why the child acts out. According to Cleo Fante, specialists believe that the strong presence of the authority can cause bullying and it is “expressed by physical abuse and aggressive emotional outburst” (Fante 61). In other words, some bullies come from a structured family with an authority figure present. By repetitively and systematically normalizing the abuse, the authority symbol inculcates the aggressive comportment to the children; those children then mimic their abuser to the weaker children.
This cycle of abuse continues as the bullied becomes the bully to boost their low self-esteem. The bully wants to be either accepted or fear or appreciated, even if it has to occur forcibly. In “Alleviating Bullying: Conquering the Challenge of Violent Crimes,” author Esmail Ashraf writes that “bullies enjoy a feeling of power and control over others” (Ashraf 162). As the abused become a bully, they feel empowered because they can modify how children around them feel to their liking. The situation turns into a nightmare for the victims as their predators attack restlessly.
The psychological result is gradual. The targets live in perpetual fear, they refuse to go to school, and their grades suffered from it. They show no interest in what they usually like or enjoy. They hide in their room and avoid social contact because they feel marginalized. Most of the time, the bullied succumbed to a deep depression and contemplated suicide eventuality, because they see it as the only way available to evade the situation. Ashraf states “and at the extreme may attempt or commit suicide” (Ashraf 165). The victims become guilt-ridden and feel blamable for what is happening to them. As they feel worthless and powerless regarding a situation they cannot extirpate themselves, they choose to take their life. Generally, the physical injury alerts parents and educators. The victim shows signs of physical altercation like cuts, bruises, black eyes. They hide their marks or make an excuse for their injuries (I fell, or I knock myself on the shelves) in fear of retaliation by the bully.
Every day on national television or in the newspapers, there is always a section dedicated to the subject of bullying. As a parent, educator, nurse, and social worker it is our benefit to learn more about it because we all have the responsibility to protect the vulnerable, the weak and the ones with no voice. With the help of local and governmental organization regarding awareness-raising and accountability, countless children are saved every day.
Unfortunately, most of the available resources are for the bullied and less to the bully. It will be vile to imply that the bully is essential for the stability of the world. However, let’s not forget that the bully is also a human being; a person who is suffering in silence and used unusual and violent methods to seek for help. We should not overlook their cry for help and instead extend our hand to attend to them. They are silently suffering, and as long we are not adequately doing addressing their care and education, it will take a considerable amount of time and resources before we completely eradicate this phenomenon.
- Ashraf Esmail. Alleviating Bullying: Conquering the Challenge of Violent Crimes, edited by Ashraf Esmail, Issues in Black Education, vol 64, UPA, 2014, pp.162-165.ProQuest Ebook Central, Accessed 23 Jul 2018.
- Fante, Cleo. Fenômeno Bullying: Como Prevenir a Violência Nas Escolas e Educar Para a Paz, 2nd ed, Campinas, Verus, 2005, p.61.
- Field, Evelyn M.. Bullybusting: Six Secrets to Help Children Deal with Teasing and Bullying, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007, p 37. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://icahn.mssm.edu/. Accessed 23 Jul 2018.
- Meštrović, Stjepan G. “The Problem.” The Postemotional Bully. 55 City Road: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2015. Pp 1-12. SAGE Knowledge. doi: 10.4135/9781473910355.n1.
Accessed 1 Aug 2018.
- Smith, Peter K. “Basic Knowledge about School Bullying and Cyberbullying.” Understanding School Bullying: It’s Nature & Prevention Strategies. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2014, pp 67-103, SAGE Knowledge, doi:10.4135/9781473906853.n4. Accessed 1 Aug 2018
- Sullivan, Keith. The Anti-Bullying Handbook. 2nd ed, London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2011, pp. 11-57, SAGE Knowledge, doi: 10.4135/9781446289006. Accessed 23 Jul 2018.
Wallis, Pete. Are You Okay? : A Practical Guide to Helping Young Victims of Crime, Jessica
- Kingsley Publishers, 2010, p 32 ProQuest Ebook Central, Accessed 3 Aug 2018.