Thursday, September 27, 2012


"Bully: A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker" -Oxford Dictionary.

Bullying is an attack or intimidation with the intension to cause fear, distress or harm . It says to the victim that " I have a power on you in some ways, I have social power, i am bigger, older or stronger than you". To prove that they attack the same victim repeatedly. They subtly want the victim to feel uncomfortable and helpless. Bullying can be physical, racist, emotional and verbal which can completely knock the victim's self-confidence and self-esteem.

Anyone can be bullied. It could be a boy, girl, or sibling, no matter what their age is, who looks weak, depressed or alone. Similarly, anyone can do bully. It could be the sibling, boys and girls, anyone. Bullying is the equal opportunity for boys and girls. Boys tend to be more physical and aggressive but girls bully with their words by being ruder, subtle, and sneaky. some people do bully to hide their own inadequacy. They can have low self-esteem and feel insecure about who they are. They may also come from a background where that behaviour is not only acceptable, but normal. So they project their inadequacy on to other children by dumping their anger on the victim because of jealously, envy and even rejection.

Their are some warning signs which can give some clues to the parents, that their child is being bullied, are:

1- Victim will be quite in their temperament. They will not go and tell to anyone that they are being bullied.

2-Victim may have poor self-esteem

3-Victim may have friendship difficulties

4-Victim may have lack of assertiveness

How can parents help their child?

If the victim says that they are being bullied, parents have to discuss with them why they think they are. Some children can perceive that they are a victim of bullying when a friend unintentionally ignores them, someone jokes around with them or they are not invited to join in a game. Then, they are needed to be explained, by the parents, the difference between their friends having a joke/teasing them and bullying. And they also needed help to address the problem in the correct way.

When the parents come to know that their dear one is being bullied, they can give tools to the child so that the child feels that he also has some power. And that tool is Brave talk for younger kids and straight talk for older ones. All, parents can teach their children are:

Brave talk: Teach them how to look assertive- Use strong body language (maintain eye contact, firm tone of voice ) and face expressions to match with the message. And use 'I' statements, like- "I really don't like what you said" or "I don't agree with that".

Straight talk: Along with teaching the children of being assertive, also teach them that they can't control anyone but themselves. And that empowers them.

Also teach them positive self-talk (like-i am good and i don't care what they say), get them to speak up (like-leave me alone), when the bully say something like-'you are stupid' then they have to respond with 'Thank you, I know' and after that they could walk away.

Tips for the parents:

1- Respond, don't react- On the overreaction, child will shut down himself.

2-Investigate- Investigate the happening.

3- Stay open- Stay open to know that may be your child did something.

4-Empower the victim-Empower the children by not telling them what to do and what not to do. Encourage them to sort the things out by themselves first.

Ask your child that "do you want me to listen and understand right now or you are asking me for help and to do something?" because sometimes children just wanted to talk about the day and you might get panicked unnecessarily.

To conclude, tackling the problem of bullying is not as difficult as it looks like. The most important thing is the realization that we also have as much power to stop getting bullied, as in the person who is doing the bully.

Reference: "The Parent's Toolkit", Naomi Richards.