Bullying is anytime someone harms you or intimidates you – physically or verbally – or forces you to do something you don’t want to do. So, what makes someone a bully and what should you do if you or someone else you know is being bullied? There are so many types of bullying and both guys and girls can be bullies. Do you recognize bullying behavior in yourself?
You may wonder why people bully others. What would cause someone to be so mean? Well, there are many reasons why people bully and here are a few:
- Bullies have an overwhelming desire to control others.
- They get satisfaction from dominating their victims. They like to be in control.
- They feel like they have to win at everything and get jealous when other people succeed.
- Bullies crave attention and will get it any way they can, and they don’t care about the consequences.
- They make up false rumors and mean nicknames.
- Some bullies threaten through hateful emails and text messages.
- Bullies feel good when they make someone else feel bad.
- Sometimes–if a kid gets abused at home or in their neighborhood–they’ll become a bully somewhere else–like school.
- Sometimes people are bullies and don’t even know it.
If you’re in a situation where you find yourself being bullied…
- First of all, tell someone what’s happening. Find an adult or someone in authority and let them know the facts.
- Make friends and stay in a group – It’s always safer to be in groups.
- Ignore the bully if they are harassing you. Bullies often thrive off of your reaction.
- Try to avoid confrontation… laugh it off if you can.
- Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re an easy target – stay away from areas where you know a bully will be.
- Be confident but be careful. Walk away from any physical danger.
- Don’t blame yourself for how the bully acts or what they do to you.
- Don’t resort to violence or carrying a weapon.
See a bully?
Never confront a bully by yourself. And if you see someone else being picked on or being harassed by a group, don’t give into peer pressure and join in. Stand up for the victim and don’t be a passive bystander, however there are times when a bully is unsafe and the best thing to do is to get an adult – maybe even a police officer – involved.
Here are a few more tips:
- Refuse to join in if you someone else being bullied.
- Speak up. Let bullies know that what they’re doing isn’t cool or funny.
- If possible, get a responsible adult to come immediately.
- Go to the person being picked on and help them leave the situation.
- Help the victim find an adult to talk to.
Bullying has many side affects for those who are the victims. It can:
- Make the victim feel tense, anxious, and afraid.
- Affect their concentration in school or lead them to avoid school.
- Affect the victims’ self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
- Lead them to become withdrawn and depressed, anxious and insecure.
In extreme cases, teens may feel the need to carry weapons for protection or seeking violent revenge. Those that feel helpless and desperate may even consider suicide.
Bullying comes in a variety of different forms. Sometimes it is very obvious and other times it can happen without anyone else except for the victim knowing what’s going on. Here are some types of bullying:
- Emotional bullying – Emotional bullying can be more subtle and can involve the bully isolating or excluding the victim from activities (i.e., shunning the victim in the lunchroom or on school outings) or spreading rumors. This kind of bullying is especially common among girls. The bully often uses verbal abuse such as name calling, sarcasm, relentless teasing, threatening, mocking, putting down, belittling, ignoring, and lying.
- Physical bullying – Physical Bullying is where the bully physically hurts you. Sometimes verbal bullying takes place at the same time. Physical bullying often involves things like kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling, or threats of physical harm.
- Racist bullying – Racist bullying is any hostile or offensive action against people because of their skin color, cultural or religious background or ethnic origin. It can include emotional, physical, sexual or verbal bullying.
- Sexual bullying – Sexual bullying involves unwanted physical contact, sexual abuse or inappropriate comments.
- Verbal bullying – Verbal bullying usually involves name calling, mocking and laughing at another’s expense.
- Cyber bullying — Cyber bullying is a relatively new form of bullying. Through email, instant messaging, chat rooms and camera cell phones, cyber bullies forward and spread hurtful images and messages. Bullies use this technology to harass victims at all hours instantaneously.
Maybe you’re discovering some bully behavior in yourself? If you find that your anger is getting out of control or you feel the need to strike out at someone, don’t keep it bottled-up inside. Tell a teacher, or a counselor. Confide in a friend or a family member. Bullying can lead to serious trouble: suspension from school, the loss of friends, a bad reputation, now, and in the future. And if the behavior isn’t stopped, the likely end is police intervention with life-changing consequences. Find a positive outlet for that aggressive energy. Sports can be a great way to deal with stress, and they carry the added benefit of building teamwork and character. But if sports aren’t for you, just go for a walk or a run to let off some steam. Always remember, if you treat others the way you’d like to be treated, you’ll never be a bully.
- You can make a difference.
- You have the power to help yourself or someone else who’s being bullied.
- Don’t just react to a situation. Think about your actions and how they affect yourself and others.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- It’s about being who you want to be.
How to stop bullying
- Talk to someone.
- Find new outlets to express your anger (sports, extracurricular activities).
- Don’t hang out with bullies.
- Put yourself in someone else’s place.
- Look for positive characteristics in others.
Whether you’re a parent or an educator, it’s likely you’ve witnessed bullying in your life. This is often looked at as a normal part of growing up but bullying can have devastating effects on those who are being bullied.
Useful questions to ask bullies:
- What did you do?
- Why was that a bad thing to do?
- Who did you hurt?
- What were you trying to accomplish?
- How can you do that in the future without hurting anyone?
Bullies often need to learn to:
- Acknowledge their own actions
- Acknowledge the results of their behavior on themselves
- Acknowledge the results of their behavior on others
- Accept the consequences of their actions
- Change their actions to stay out of trouble
- Develop empathy for people they have hurt
- Find other ways to get their needs met
- Learn to trust others and delay gratification
- Form relationships with helpful adults