Bullying never really goes away. Every so often a horrific act of bullying gets headline attention in our newspapers and on TV but the reality is that bullying is always happening. It occurs in playgrounds, in classrooms, on playing pitches, in workplaces. Wherever there is human interaction, there is always the potential for bullying.
Just because it can happen in just about every social environment does NOT mean that it is ever socially acceptable! That it’s part of growing up, part of the ritual.It is never acceptable!
The stereotypical image of a bully is of the big lout in the playground picking on the smaller weaker kids but bullying is in fact a very complex issue. In general it can be broken down into four sources: Physical, Verbal, Social / Emotional & Cyber. Bullying is an action or actions repeated over and over again by an individual or group of people with the intent to harm through one or more of these sources.
At Hummingbird Learning Centre, bullying often is something that we have to help families through. The natural instinct of a parent is to protect their child. They can feel powerless if their child is being bullied. The child too is dealing with emotions and situations that can be overwhelming. They really don’t want to talk about what is going on because talking forces them to emotionally go through the experience again and that can be way too painful.
Every action has a positive intention, even bullying. There is a positive intention behind every act of bullying. The positive intention is not focused towards the victim, it is for the bully themselves. They are doing it to make themselves feel better. That may be because they are afraid of being seen as weak, or they want to make others like them more, or they need to feel powerful.
Knowing why you’re being bullied, doesn’t change the fact that you are. BUT realising that it’s not actually about you at all, that it is about the bully’s need to feel better about themselves, tips the balance of power in your favour. They feel so bad about themselves that they have to try to make you feel bad about yourself so that they can feel good. It’s rather sad really! You can even feel sorry for them. And once you start to feel sorry for them, then they no longer have any power over you.
There are things in life that we can control and there are things in life that we can’t. We can’t control other people, but we can decide on how we are going to react to them. For a bully to have power over you, the bully is expecting a certain reaction – fear, shame, anger. When you react repeatedly with a very ‘don’t care’ attitude, then the bully is not getting the reaction that they crave. They may attempt to intensify their efforts but when they are no longer getting their power trip, then they will stop. The power of the bully dies when you stop reacting in the way that they wanted you to.
If you or your child is being bullied, make sure you record everything! No matter how slight. Bullying is never a one off event. It is a repeated action. In isolation the bullying incidents can appear innocuous but it is the accumulation of many small acts that create the pattern of bullying. If you need (and you probably will) to bring the bullying to the attention of the school / sports club / other authorities then having everything documented will make your case stronger. In the case of cyber bullying, screen shot everything.
Keep talking to your child. Take action to stop the bullying. Go to the relevant authorities.
If your child is not being bullied, but knows of children being bullied, encourage them to stand up and support that child. Bullying can be stopped.
Hummingbird Learning Centre 087 2996054 www.hummingbirdlearning.com