Bullying refers to aggressive or unwanted behaviours to dominate others or to gain a feeling of self-importance. Bullying can be done or experienced everywhere- be it school, workplace, neighbourhood, family, etc.Some of the most common reasons for being bullied include-
Gender or sexual orientation
Size or strength
School bullying is a type of bullying that occurs in any educational setting. The place of learning then becomesa place of dominance and fear.One can identify if bullying in schools is taking place if these criteria are met-
a) Hostile behavior
b) Imbalance of power
c) Repetition over a period of time
Bullying is a serious problem, especially in the schools. Teachers, parents andstudents should tackle it with seriousness and sensitivity. Some evidence for this being a critical issue are provided with the recent statistics and data collected from Indian schools.
●70.6% of students report having witnessed bullying in their school–and over 71% say bullying is a problem.
●Over 10% of students who drop out of school do so due to being bullied repeatedly.
These are the two very short examples of children bullying in school-
●A young boy who does not match the sexual stereotypes is regularly called a "fag" by some classmates in the cafeteria and the gym. The other students start to ignore him and he suffers from this isolation. He looks for every possible way to avoid these places.
●A young girl with an intellectual disability frequently has her tuque, umbrella or boots snatched on the bus. She often cries during the trip and has attacks before going to school.
The effects of bullying are not short term and can even last life long. It can destroy a child’s mental and psychological self also. Depression and anxiety tend to characterize their emotional outlook well beyond the bullying years, extending into their adult lives where they become chronic. These issues make eating, sleeping, working, exercising and engaging in interesting hobbies- all the hallmarks of a full, balanced life- more difficult.
As a parent of a child who is being bullied, parents should consider and know all the details of the situation and make the best decision for the child. Different approaches and strategies may be necessary for various situations and individual children. The step should always be contacting the school. It must be ensured to your child that they are safe and should not feel insecure.
The victim should be guided to stay calm, confident and positive about the situation. It should never be advised to them to fight back with the other children. Rather they should be taught to ignore the person who is bullying and walk away and go to a place which is relatively safer. Most important of all, they should firstly be mentored to seek the help of a teacher or any adult and not curb about the situation inside them.
A child who has been bullied has a greater chance of being bullied again, even when the bullying has been dealt with. Knowing how to deal with bullying and other difficult situations around us is an essential life skill.