Bullying is mostly well known amongst kids and teenagers. However, adults also experience bullying at work places, association clubs and even at home. Even though this articles refers mostly to kids and teenagers, adults can take one or two things from it.
As previously discussed (here’s a link to the previous article on bullying), bullying isn’t just physical abuse, there is the verbal, relational and cyber forms of bullying.
It was also established that bullies pick on people they feel are weaker or appear to be intimidated. They also pick on people that seem not to fit the norm; they could be really smart people or people with “weird” interests. People who have disabilities sometimes are not left out from being bullied.
As a parent (aunt, uncle, cousin, what matters is that you are looking over a child), it’s important to note when your child is bullied, so that it can be handled before it gets worse. This is because it can affect a child’s self-esteem and even psychological and mental space up until adulthood.
How to recognize when someone is being bullied
From experience, when someone is bullied, they tend to be withdrawn and shy.
They try to avoid being in places where they are usually bullied. For instance, if your child gets bullied mostly in the school bus, perhaps, that’s when the bully gets to have his time; your child might not want to use the school bus.
A child might break from his routine. An example is if a child is teased for playing the violin (perhaps it’s seen as uncool) and your child stops playing it, it’s an indication he/she is being bullied. So in order to stop being teased by friends or to appear “cool”, they may stop what they like.
Related: How to deal with Peer Pressure
Do you notice that your child gets injured, or has marks on his/her body? Do you notice that your child doesn’t eat well in school or he/she keeps asking for money but you can’t seem to see where the more money you give is going to? Your child might just have a bully.
Other characteristics you may notice in people that are bullied include, not eating well, not sleeping well, anxiety, not being themselves, moody most times, avoids certain people. Basically, the child does things that may raise suspicion.
How to deal a bully/bullying
Now that you notice that your child, niece, nephew, cousin and what-have-you is bullied, the next step to take is to stop it so that it doesn’t affect the child in one way or the other.
Once you notice the signs, talk to them. Make them feel comfortable and let them know they can tell you anything. Don’t come off as strict or disappointed, this will make them withdraw the more and they could even lie to you. You could tell them your experience (if you were ever bullied) and let them know how you were able to overcome it.
Also, talk to the teachers or authority about this so they can watch out for the bully and do something about it, if possible, they could bring in the parents of the bully so they can be aware of what their ward is up to and to talk to them.
Apart from all that has been mentioned above, you can teach a child that is being bullied to do any of these:
- Ignore and walk away: Rather than physically fight the bully, the best thing to do is to walk away. Fighting might result in more violence which is not advisable as the kids may get hurt. Also, the kid may get into trouble with the authorities. The best thing to do in times like this is simply to ignore and walk away. The kid should however make sure that their parents or guardian knows about this so they can take it up with the authorities.
- Do not look scared or bothered: It’s important that the person being bullied doesn’t show that they are scared or intimidated. They want you to cry, feel angry, frustrated and so on. Bullies love that and they love it when their preys fear them, that is really what they want. It makes them feel powerful. So if you don’t give them that, they eventually get bored and move to another. I read somewhere that the child should show a poker face at the moment of being bullied. This way, the bullies realize that they can’t get to him/her. Is it easy? No, but it can help.
- Speak up: I’m sure someone is like, “Why are you contradicting yourself? You just said ignore and walk away”. Yeah, I know, I know. However, there are some cases where the child/person might have to speak up. For instance, if people make fun of someone because of their interests, perhaps, they prefer classical music to hip-hop or something, the person bullied can speak up and let them know there is nothing wrong with loving classical music. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily stop the bully, but it makes the bully aware that you are not ashamed of what you like, or the things that make you happy. It also could help someone who has the same interests as you do what they like.
It’s important to note the true aim of a bully, which is to put the individual down so they can feel good. They do this by way of intimidation, making the people they bully fear them, making them feel ashamed and having a low self-esteem. If you are able to control all that; not being ashamed, not feeling intimidated, feeling as good as you can, a bully generally has no power over you.
As you try to find out if your child is being bullied, you should also make sure they are not the bully causing trouble to another child.
What do you think? What are the ways you used to deal with a bully? Are there any other signs to look out for if someone is being bullied?