No one likes a Bully!

Bully : a blustering, browbeating person; especially :  one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable (Merriam-Webster). There are four types of bullying, physical, verbal, social, and cyber. Physical bullying is hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching, pushing or damaging property. Verbal bullying includes name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. Social bullying is harder to recognize, it is designed to humiliate and harm someone’s social reputation, it includes spreading lies and rumors, playing nasty pranks to embarrass the victim, mimicking, and encouraging others to socially exclude someone. Cyber bullying is similar to social bullying but one of the main differences is that bullies use technology (computers, smartphones, social media and other online platforms) to abuse and intimidate.

Bullies don’t have to just be kids, teachers and adults can be bullies too. I experienced a lot of bullying growing up while in school, it was physical and verbal.  I was bullied from elementary into middle school, I started getting bullied in third grade, being a minority I was an easy target, not saying that minorities are the only ones being targeted. The bullying started with verbal abuse and then gradually turned into physical abuse. The kids used to call me names and make racist remarks, and would make fun of my appearance. The physical bullying started with pinching and kicking at the heels of my feet, and then turned into tripping and pushing. I never spoke up, because I was afraid if I did it would only get worse, I told my mother, but she didn’t comprehend how bad the situation was and told me it’s just ‘kids being kids’. Fourth grade was the worst, not only were the same kids in my class but my teacher was a nightmare, she would constantly ridicule my work in front of the class and would make remarks about the way I talked (I stammered), the kids picked up on her treatment and continued with their torture. It wasn’t until middle school that I finally told my father, who pulled me out of the school and registered me into a private school, and that was the end of it.

It’s sad that in this day and age bullying is still an issue, and its only getting worse with time and with the boost in technology.  Bullying can leave a lasting negative impression both mentally and physically. It hurts the victim’s self-esteem and they lack confidence in themselves and in everyone around them. Kids who are bullied are more than likely to experience anxiety, depression, and loneliness, these feelings can carry on into adulthood. As adults they can have trust issues and have trouble socializing. Unfortunately some effects of bullying are so severe that children have committed suicide.

There are many ways to prevent bullying, the first step as parents is to listen to your children when they come to you, ask them details about the incident, ask them exactly when and where it happened, how many people were involved and were there any witnesses. Keep in mind that not many kids come forward about being bullied, but it is our job as parents to ask kids about how they’re doing in school, let them know they can always come to you for whatever they need, look out for cues in their everyday routine and behavior, are they more closed off or anxious, watch their appetite. Always inform your kid’s teachers and school representatives about the incidences. Come up with a way to handle the situation and inform the bully (and their parents) that there are consequences for their actions. Even after informing the authorities and confronting the bully the menacing does not stop, its time to seek legal help.

In an ideal situation the bully will realize their mistake and repent and try to better themselves, but that is not what happens in most cases. In most cases parents have to transfer schools because you can’t have both kids going to school when the school doesn’t want to take measures to ensure a child’s safety i.e. expelling the bully. I honestly believe that there should be counseling given to the kids who are bullies, because there needs to be a better understanding as to why they are behaving in that manner, and then come up with a consequence. I believe that we as parents need to teach our children to stand up for themselves and others, and to embrace people from all walks of life. We need to teach our children to be compassionate and empathetic.

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