- The Campaign Against Bullying
- Methods that Don’t Work
- Unacceptable Tactics: Pressure, Humiliation, Intimidation
- Inaction Causes Damage
- Bullying Prevention Programmes
- Improving School Climate
- How to Help Victims of Bullying
- Support from Peers
- Educating Bullies
- 6 Signs You’re An Adult Bully And Why You Seriously Need To STOP
The Campaign Against Bullying
Educators do not always deal with student aggression in the most effective manner. Sometimes teachers resort to severe and unsystematic methods that only make the bullying worse. According to researchers of the HSE Laboratory for Prevention of Asocial Behavior, the problem requires a comprehensive approach: aggression prevention programmes need to be incorporated into educational policy, and, in turn, schools need to foster supportive psychological climate and trust between teachers and students. Teachers should help adolescents solve conflicts, and demonstrate alternatives to aggressive behavior by their own example. HSE News Service spoke with Arthur Rean and Maria Novikova about how to effectively address bullying.
Methods that Don’t Work
School bullying occurs when a student (or a group) repeatedly and intentionally hurts another student who is in some way vulnerable.
This behavior is often associated with strong negative feelings in the victim — anger, fear, frustration, and the desire to improve one’s status among one’s peers. There are many types of bulling: fights, insults, exclusion, cyber aggression (on social networks), etc.
A meta-analysis showed that 35% of schoolchildren worldwide are involved in traditional bullying (both as initiators and victims) and 15% are involved in cyber bullying.
To reduce these numbers, it is critical for adults to respond to adolescent aggression. Responsive actions taken by teachers can often prevent bullying.
However, researchers have revealed a bitter paradox. Despite the severity of the problem of bullying in many countries and educators’ awareness of its causes, forms, and consequences, educators rarely address the problem in an effective manner. Not only is the range of approaches commonly employed limited, but the tactic most commonly employed by teachers is a ‘means of suppression’. This ranges from a relatively harmless appeal to one’s authority as a teacher, to humiliation, and punishment.
In a survey, the majority (82%) of German teachers considered ‘compulsory disciplinary action and appeal to their own authority’ appropriate. The situation is similar in the UK, Finland and the USA. Comprehensive work — not only with aggressors, but with victims and the class as a whole — is infrequent.
Unacceptable Tactics: Pressure, Humiliation, Intimidation
It is forceful methods such as these that are counterproductive: they only reinforce cruelty. Yet not intervening in the conflict is also not an option.
Arthur Rean and Maria Novikova explain why suppression strategies should not be used:
The aggression does not decrease insofar as adolescents reproduce the ‘repressive’ behavior of their ‘significant others’—i.e., their teachers and parents. It is no coincidence that, as one study shows, the extent to which a teacher exerts pressure on his or students can influence the prevalence of bullying. Moreover, students perceive teachers as people who are not ready to help.
Resentment of the teacher’s actions and accumulated aggression can then ‘detonate’ in the form of school attacks, for example.
The bully (the aggressor) never comes to understand the harm he or she has done the victim and the fact that the victim is actually suffering.
The results of disciplinary action are usually short-lived. The aggressor often switches to more hidden forms of bullying, which can be even more destructive. After all, adults do not always become aware of these instances and in turn are not able to help the victim.
Psychological pressure in the form of excessive control and intimidation of adolescents is also extremely unconstructive. An Estonian study revealed how teachers, picking on adolescents’ ‘weak spots’ and humiliating them actually provokes increased attacks on others.
It is important for adolescents to feel independent, competent, and part of a team.
‘If, as a result of the teacher’s controlling behavior, the adolescent does not feel autonomous enough, his need to control his peers increases. When a student is deprived of the opportunity to feel competent, the student will try to demonstrate his or her physical superiority. When a student feels isolated from his or her classmates, that student may begin to behave aggressively,’ say Arthur Rean and Maria Novikova.
Inaction Causes Damage
Research shows that Russian educators have fairly accurate ideas about teenage bullying. But in practice, they often react inconsistently or take the position of an observer. Lack of intervention from the teacher is also common in the United States and Australia. Most American families are met with resistance by school administrations when they demand action against bullying. They are advised to simply transfer the child to a different school.
Not interfering in adolescent conflict leads to dangerous consequences. The victim is convinced of his defenselessness. The student’s self-esteem suffers, and the risk of depression and suicide increases. In fact, it causes damage that lasts the student’s entire life. And a bully who acts with impunity in turn becomes accustomed acting aggressively.
Bullying is effectively reduced only with systemic action at different levels, the researchers emphasize.
At the national level, this involves the implementation of bullying prevention programmes.
At the school level, this involves fostering a safe and child-friendly psychological climate. This means an ecosystem in which there is trust between teachers and students, as well between the students themselves, and students feel part of a community. This helps adolescents both become better socialized and perform better academically.
Action is also necessary at the level of interpersonal relationships between individual members of the community.
Bullying Prevention Programmes
A meta-analysis of studies showed that in countries where bullying prevention programmes are common (the US, the UK, and Scandinavian countries), bullying rates are 20% lower than in others.
The first successful anti-bullying program, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), was begun in 1983-1985, and it is still growing. It includes a set of strategies for working at several levels: the school level, the classroom level, and the individual student level. The OBPP clearly outlines why adult bullying is unacceptable and what measures can be taken to protect potential victims. Another world-famous anti-bullying programme, KiVa, was developed in Finland and is now used in many countries around the world.
However, the existence of such initiatives does not always guarantee long-term success.
Improving School Climate
The school-level strategy has two points of action: establishing clear, fair, and consistent rules of behavior for all, as well as creating trust between teachers and children.
Rules of conduct can be enshrined in the school charter. It is advisable that students also participate in its development. A school’s code of conduct must be immutable. It is important that non-compliance with the rules, such as engaging in bullying, come with clear consequences.
According to studies, in groups where aggression is not tolerated, manifestations of aggression actually decreased. Bullying was simply not perceived as a way to solve problems, and offenders could not impose their communication style on everyone.
It is equally important to build constructive relationships between teachers and students.
Trust between an adult and a child at school reduces the risk of victimization.
Students must feel confident that, in the event of a problem, they can turn to the adults for help.
There are fewer instances of bullying in groups in which teachers and other employees are guaranteed to intervene in student conflicts.
But the problem is that victims do not always seek help. There are significantly more children who are attacked for a long time and remain silent about it than those who report it and manage to put an end to it. Increased work with students who have been victimized is necessary.
How to Help Victims of Bullying
Simply giving advice on how to stand up for yourself (and this is also a common, albeit ineffective, teaching strategy) is inadequate. Victims need support from adults. But the very process of asking for this support itself is stressful for adolescents.
When deciding whether to report bullying to a teacher, a child weighs the possible negative consequences of this. A study on British students found that adolescents avoid reporting to teachers primarily for three reasons: disapproval of their classmates (75.5%), feeling like a victim (64.2%), and the desire to solve the problem on their own (58.8%). In other words, the search for help can be associated with a decline in social status and loss of self-esteem.
That is why an adult’s reaction to the first mention of bullying by a child is critical. Any attempt to make light of the conversation can lead to a silencing of the problem, and the adolescent will suffer alone. For children who do not have good relationships with their parents and teachers, the risk of victimization is higher.
Support from Peers
It makes sense for educators to separate aggressors and victims in the classroom so that they are less likely to meet face to face. But this is not enough. We need to help children who feel helpless find a social circle that is right for them: experiencing a sense of belonging is extremely important. ‘Finding a suitable social circle is not an easy process—it often requires teachers to team up with school colleagues and the parents of the child,’ says Maria Novikova.
You can get your child involved in activities that will help increase his or her confidence and self-worth – in activity groups, for example. There may be a lot of options; you may find clubs and activity groups that are private or not affiliated with the school. ‘Volunteering is becoming more popular, and this is something students can get involved in,’ says the researcher. ‘There are interesting activity groups in contemporary art, where professional artists work with teenagers, such as the Cascade project, for example. At these group meetings, there is always a psychologist present to facilitate effective team communication.’
A circle of friends is a good defense. Support from one’s peers reduces aggression towards vulnerable students.
The researchers identify the main components of working with aggressors.
Firstly, it is necessary to convey to the aggressor the seriousness of the harm they inflict on the victim, and to make sure that the aggressor understands how the victim feels.
Secondly, the aggressor needs to be able to take responsibility for what has been done and be given the opportunity to correct the situation. What exactly the aggressor can do is decided in dialogue with an adult—a teacher or a school psychologist. ‘If there has been physical damage to a victim’s property, the question of compensation may be addressed,’ explains Maria Novikova. If the bullying was committed via rumors and gossip, then you need to officially refute them and apologize to the victim.
‘It is important to remember that under no circumstances should the adult humiliate the aggressor or attempt to make them suffer as the victim did. This, as we have already said, will only lead to more aggression in the future,’ the researcher stresses.
Thirdly, many aggressors have excellent communication skills and leadership qualities. These qualities should be used for good: they can organize school events, help those who need it with their studies. ‘They also need to interact more with those who are older: it will be easier for them to maintain positive behavior,’ adds Novikova.
Fourthly, as part of preventive work, it is important to convey to students the difference between dominance and leadership. Without understanding it, active students can ‘go too far’ and hurt others.
And finally, sometimes the cause of bullying is simply boredom. When the educational process involves the active involvement of students and they are interested, then they have less time and energy to bully their classmates, Maria Novikova concludes.
Study authors: Arthur Rean, Professor, Laboratory Head, Laboratory for Prevention of Antisocial Behaviour, HSE Maria Novikova, Research Fellow, Laboratory for Prevention of Antisocial Behaviour, HSE Author: Olga Sobolevskaya, August 22, 2019
Summer means a reprieve from school bullies, right? Not if the bully lives in your neighborhood. Instead of simply having your child try to avoid the bully on your block, experts help SheKnows readers stop neighborhood bullying for good.
Your child is not alone
Susane Colasanti, former high school teacher and author of Keep Holding On, says that sharing her own experiences being bullied as a teenager by her peers has helped her heal and she hopes it will help others. She says, “If I survived those experiences, then there are lots of kids out there trying to survive those same experiences today. Which means it’s time to speak up.”
Read more on how a bully can change your life >>
Take Susane’s advice and reach out to your children to make sure they do not feel alone, that they know they can talk to you about anything and that they should speak up if the neighborhood kid is trying to push him (or others) around.
Silence is not an option
Dr. Sheldon Horowitz, Ed.D., the director of LD resources and essential information at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), agrees that speaking up against bullying is essential. He stresses talking to your child about bullying — even if you don’t think your child has a problem with a bully. Horowitz notes, “If they are bystanders when bullying is taking place, help them to know what options they have — doing nothing not being one of them — without fear of being targeted themselves.”
More on how to talk to kids about bullying >>
Horowitz continues, “The perceived consequences of ‘tattling’ could be keeping your child from sharing their bullying experiences. Help your child know the difference between ‘tattling’ and ‘reporting an incident of bullying.’ This is equally important for children who are being victimized, who are themselves the aggressor, or who are bystanders and not speaking up on behalf of those directly involved.”
Check out SheKnows’ review on the movie Bully >>
Horowitz advises parents to be proactive to stop bullying in your neighborhood before it even starts, saying, “Let everyone know (your child and his friends, school personnel, the bus driver, sports coach… everyone!) that you are on the prowl for signs of bullying and that you expect everyone else to do the same. Preventing and stopping bullying is a shared responsibility, and one that is not voluntary.”
Talk parent to parent
Edie Raether, MS, CSP, known as “The Bully Buster,” says that while it is important to teach your child to speak up for herself and address the bully with confidence and conviction, in some cases, the parents need to get involved.
She says, “You may wish to talk to the parents or have a discussion with your child and the other child, asking questions that will help the bully be more aware of his or her behavior and the effects it has on the target or victim. I would also be clear on the consequences the continued behavior may have on the bully.”
If the bully’s parents become defensive it may be time to bring in authorities and legal help to stop the neighborhood bully once and for all.
More on bullying
Why do kids bully?
7 Bullying resources for parents
Is your child being bullied at school
Timothy Masters/iStock/Getty Images
Disputes among neighbors are a part of life, and most don’t reach past the point of a minor annoyance. You take a deep breath and endure it because in most cases it’s just a quirk or question of personal opinion. Bullying, on the other hand, is a serious issue. If things escalate to the point where you feel intimidated or would rather walk the other way than risk seeing your neighbor, it might be time to do something about it.
Identify the cause. Although your neighbor has no right to bully you, he might feel justified because of a current issue or conflict between you. If you can figure out the problem, you can work toward a solution and maybe stop the bullying.
Have a talk. Outline the problem, and ask questions if you’re not sure what’s causing the conflict. Be specific about what’s bothering you, and ask if there’s anything that he wants to say or ask. Be calm but firm. Point out that you don’t want the situation to continue and would like to find a solution.
Try to reach an agreement. If he’s bullying you for no reason, don’t budge and agree to something you think is unfair or threatening. Try to understand your neighbor’s position and offer an alternative if his requests seem unreasonable. Try to reach a middle ground that will solve the problem.
Put it in writing. According to Consumer Reports, if the friendly chat fails, you can write a formal letter that details the problem and why it can’t be tolerated. If your neighbor is breaking any city law or ordinance, tell him why this is not acceptable. Gather signatures from other neighbors if the issue is something that affects them as well.
Try the Association for Community Mediation to find a neutral third party to help you communicate. Mediators work for free or for a very small fee. Mediators are not lawyers, so they won’t be able to deal with regulations and legal issues. They will help you open lines of communication and try to find a solution that doesn’t involve the authorities.
Call the police or contact the court system only as a last resort or if the bullying is out of control or you feel like you’re in danger. If you take the case to a court, you might be directed to mediation, according to Consumer Reports. But at this point your neighbor might feel a lot more resentful toward you and less open to finding a solution. Small-claims court can help only if there’s money or broken property involved, but it’s unlikely to solve the conflict.
6 Signs You’re An Adult Bully And Why You Seriously Need To STOP
Out of these signs, which describe you? Could you be a bully? It’s more plausible than you think.
Bully is a word that has been known for a long time, but the idea behind it and the scars it creates have become a recent “hot topic” for schools, families, communities, and relationships all around the world. It is not a new idea. I would guess it has been around as long as we have (Adam and Eve, The Big Bang, whatever your belief).
The word, according to the dictionary, comes from 16th century Dutch, and meant lover. However, it has since come to mean a person who intimidates, coerces, and habitually picks on smaller or weaker persons (also according to the dictionary).
My children are learning about bullying at school. It has become an “epidemic,” according to many parents and educators. However, bullying was always there—it was just not as recognized as it is today.
It is my belief that Columbine (the tragic high school shoot out) and similar instances have brought bullying to our attention. We have had too many things happen where we can no longer look away and pretend it is “just how it is.”
This is often how we are still learning our lessons as humans. It has to really be painful in order for us to want to create change. We do not change what we do not notice or what we accept as “part of life.” We change what has hurt us deeply.
We all bully to some extent. … What?!
I know, I know, not you. You would never. But, we do … all of us. It is part of being human. I hold out hope for all humankind that we continue to combat this need to bully, and continue on a path to greater connectivity and enlightenment where we learn to truly treat each other well. Okay, that was my pulpit speech, back to the bullying.
How do I bully, you ask? Or, maybe you do not ask; maybe you already know you do it. I will tell you, the ones crying, “I am being bullied” are often the best secret bullies. I have been one myself, though it is sad to say.
We all know about the bully who steals your lunch money and tells you he will “kick your ass” if you tell on him. This, or a similar stereotype, may spring to mind when we hear the word “bully,” but bullying takes many forms, and I want to bring to light a few that are even more dangerous to another’s psychological well-being. Because, they are more subtle, less obvious, and sometimes hard to even recognize—I call it emotional bullying. Yes, that kind of bullying.
1. Lying or Pretending
What? Lying is lying. Yes, it is, but it can also be used to bully.
- Saying you did not do something that you did do, in order to prove your point or get your way.
- Pretending you did not understand or do something, to save your butt and get your way … or, just to get your way.
- Blaming someone else for your mistake to get your way and save your butt.
- Taking credit for someone else’s work/idea to get your way or look good.
Do you see my point here?
Pretending everything is okay while doing things behind another’s back is also bullying and lying. It is also referred to as passive-aggressive. I will get my way, but not when you are looking and not when you know about it. I will quietly do things while smiling to your face. I can say no more; you know what I mean—the secret, smiling bully (the passive-aggressive).
2. The Silent Treatment
Did you say something? Oh, I was not paying attention because I do not care about what you say because you are of little or no consequence when it comes to me getting my way. I will not talk to you until you cave and tell me I was right and you are wrong, or you apologize for not letting me get my way.
I think I have made my point here.
3. Withholding Emotions or Approval
We do this to our children, our siblings, our spouses. We call it “teaching them,” and, “behavior modification,” instead of what it really is—bullying with a nicer name. Until you do things exactly the way I want them, I will not give you any emotional feedback or approval.
While I have used this technique because I did not know any other, I have since learned it does not support my belief that we are all creative, resourceful and whole … which is what I learned in my coaching certification and always knew it deep down as seeing the “good” in everyone.
If you truly believe that someone is creative, resourceful and whole, regardless of age (I do understand age limitations on cognitive understanding of abstract ideas, mind you), then the conversation changes and you do not need to withhold. (More on that later in the part of stopping these behaviors.) With children, you may need to withhold toys/games/privileges, but not emotions.
4. Wearing Another Down to Get Your Way
There are numerous ways to do this, and two of them are listed right above: Withholding and the silent treatment. There are also other methods:
- Talking someone to death—asking the same question over and over and over until they tell you what you want to hear.
- Discussing it to death (same idea)—not ending the conversation until the other party agrees with you.
- Financial force—if you control the money in the relationship, it is taking away things that you know they want.
- Repayment—making your spouse submit a detailed business plan for the repayment of family money for something that they want.
The list is endless. Again, I think you can “read my mail,” or “see what I am saying.”
5. Saying “No,” “You Are Wrong,” or Constant Criticism
When the first thing out of your mouth is “no,” there is little room for negotiation or discussion. When you start from “no,” there is no place for your spouse/friend/child to go. And, discounting everything your spouse/child/friend says, by telling them they are wrong or saying no, just creates deep emotional issues of not being worthy of being heard or known. It stops all communication. It taints the communication that has already happened.
When you set out to “prove someone wrong” at every turn, you completely undermine who they are. You are, in essence, telling them that they do not belong in the world because they think “wrong.” The thought process inside of them is broken. What a sad way to feel about yourself, and it is a sad thing to show someone else.
6. Adult Temper Tantrums
Oh, yes. I know we all recognize them in children, but I have seen so many adults have them, too. I have no doubt you have as well.
An adult temper tantrum can be humorous and a bit scary … the scary part being that it can often work. The temper tantrum gets the adult’s way even more often that the child’s because they know how to “wear the opponent down,” and can play better mind games. They can throw barbs that hit just the right emotional triggers for the other person(s), and lead all feeling abused and scarred. It is ugly, while still child-like.
- Yell and scream.
- Call the other person names and call out insecurities loudly—sometimes in front of others, sometimes alone. This is also called verbal abuse.
These examples may seem like everyday things that we all do, and they are. However, to elevate our relationships, we need to really look at these items and work toward eliminating them. I hope we can learn how to look at one another as creative, resourceful and whole, and allow whatever anyone else needs or feels to become just as important as our own needs. Not because we need to meet them for that person, we just need to allow them to express them and be able to meet them themselves.
Here is a very important lesson for all humans (myself included): we do not always need to get what we want. No, really. For those that are bullied: we do not always need to give up what we want.
There is a balance that needs to be found in each relationship. I know, crazy idea: balance. Our whole existence is about attempting to find balance, if you really break it down. But, that is a topic for another day.
All of these behavior examples hold the same basic premise for the bully: I need to control something or someone mentally or physically or both, and how I control them is by getting my way or making it all about me through physical or emotional means.
If we can heal this, it can make all of the difference. Even bullies are not broken. They are also creative, resourceful and whole, but somewhere along the way they found a method of social and personal interaction that feels like it is beneficial to them. Underneath, it hurts them as much as it hurts the person they bully.
If this list is your way of life and you see nothing wrong with it, then go right ahead and keep it up. You are living a lonely life, though. Always being the one to push and get your way pushes people away, maybe not physically, but emotionally, it certainly does.
If we are all equal, then our conversation changes. We say what we need; we do not need to throw a fit and make everyone else really unhappy to get what we want or need. Or, we quietly ruin them behind their backs. This is not an easy task to put aside years of conditioning and actually “say out loud” what you need or want. If you need to discuss it, present what you want, not what is wrong with the other person for not giving it to you.
This is really about learning to live together, not working on furthering our own agenda in every action. This is about building real relationships and connections with others.
In what I refer to as “real” relationships, we are not proving ourselves, forcing ourselves, or competing with each other. We are supporting and loving without all of that other noise. A rivalry-type relationship can help bring out the best in each other, but can destroy a vulnerability that needs to exist in deeply connected relationships. Save the rivalry for people you do not wish to be deeply connected with.
So, what now? We need to stop all of this, but how?
How do I stop bullying?
There are questions you can ask yourself when you feel that you MUST get your way and begin to unravel the knotted cord that has been building on itself your whole life. If you are unable to do it before you push to get your own way, then look at it after you have been an emotional bully.
As I tell my children, it is never too late to apologize. That does not mean it will fix anything, but it will allow you to let it go, knowing you tried to fix it. And, learning how to really communicate and “be together” takes time and practice.
Here are questions to begin the process:
1. What is it I really want?
Say, for example, you want a new car, and you are used to just pushing until you get what you want. You are ready to do just that … push. Ask yourself: what is this really all about?
- Do I need to be noticed?
- Do I need a new car because mine is dying?
- Do I need a new car because I am jealous of someone else?
- Do I need a new car because I just think I deserve one?
Then, take it deeper.
- If I am jealous, what am I really jealous of? The envy of that person or the car?
- What do they have or I think they have that I want? Is it approval? Is it a good relationship with their spouse?
- If I deserve it, what makes that the case? Because I work hard? Am I the only one who works hard? Am I the only one who deserves it because I have not had one in a while?
So, what is not being noticed inside of you that needs attention? Do you feel appreciated?
Another example is criticizing your spouse about something like not closing the dishwasher. If you continually discuss this issue, and you are not making any headway in resolving it, you need to look at what it means to you. What message am I getting when he does not close the dishwasher door? What is important about it to me?
Does it just look sloppy? Have you hit your shin on it too many times? What is under that? Do you feel like your spouse does not care that you like it to be clean? Or, that you are getting hurt because it is open? And what is under that?
Do you feel rejected by your spouse because they will not do what you ask? Is that really what you think is happening? Could it be that they are just not understanding the importance of it and may never understand it? Can you be okay with that and just look for it and close it?
We often make more out of little things than is actually there because we do not look at what is really underneath the thought.
2. Is this important enough to potentially hurt those that I love?
If you are willing to hurt others by forcing your way, it must be pretty darn important.
- What makes it so important?
- Is it a basic need?
- Would it cover a basic need for your family or friends?
- Is it life or death?
Bullying often takes on this dramatic “life or death” aura that is just not true. Who would benefit most from this? Who else would benefit?
3. Is it important or is it just about my ego?
Winning, proving, and showing off are all things that your ego requires, not your deep personal relationships. Does your spouse care if you drive a brand new Whamatoozi car, or that you are communicating deeply and sharing what is really going on in your heart and mind?
Well, maybe they do just care about what you drive, and maybe that is where you are. That is okay, but that is not what this article is about. And, if they do not actually care, then you need to think about what makes it so important to you, as stated earlier.
- Does it matter if all of the neighbors really like your car?
- Does it matter if you look good driving up to your friend’s house?
- Does it matter if you look good driving down the road and others turn their heads and look?
- Really? What do these things give you that you are not getting?
Bullies need to feel control. Often, it is because they themselves have been bullied and do not know of another way to get what they want. If you have read this far, you are thinking, seriously? This makes it sound like we are all bullies if we try to get our own way at any time in our lives.
Maybe we are. I would guess that most of the population has used one of these tactics at some point in their lives. Or maybe, it is not about getting our own way, but how we go about it. Maybe it is more about hoping to get what we want, but not counting on it and hurting others if we do not.
Isn’t war just a larger scale form of bullying? Isn’t it about one country or group of countries wanting to control something at the same time as another country or countries? Not that I am simplifying some of the horrific things that have brought on some wars, but really … look and break it down. It is bullying.
What if it is time to elevate ourselves from this type of treatment and behavior? What if it is time to really start treating each other well? That is what I hope for every singe day.
Honestly, I am tired of watching the anger and the fighting on all levels—personal, city, state, country, whatever. There is always a middle ground. There is always another way to say what you need or want. There is always another reaction to someone else saying what they need or want, even if they approach it in a way that is like a bully. You do not have to take the bait and play victim. You can just calmly respond to whatever is said and let it go.
There is so much more that can be said about this, but I think I may have written too much already.
Let me break it down into three steps:
- Look at what you really need/want.
- Say it with kindness.
- Let it go.
If you get what you want/need, great; if not, you can try again another day. However, if it truly is about survival, getting your basic needs of food clothing and shelter met, then these rules do not apply. Then, you are trying to survive, and that must be fulfilled in order to move on in your spiritual growth.
I hope this article reached you in some way, good or bad.
No one should have to put up with bullying. It can make people feel unsafe at school and miserable when they get home.
The following will equip you with the skills to spot different signs of bullying and some of the symptoms that could come from this.
Emotional and behavioural signs of bullying
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in eating patterns
- Frequent tears or anger
- Mood swings
- Feels ill in the morning
- Becomes withdrawn or starts stammering
- Becomes aggressive and unreasonable
- Refuses to talk about what is wrong
- Begins to target siblings
- Continually ‘loses’ money or starts stealing.
Physical signs of bullying
- Has unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches
- Comes home with missing or damaged belongings or clothes
- Comes home hungry.
School signs of bullying
- Doesn’t want to go to school
- Changes their route to school or are frightened of walking to school
- Doesn’t want to go to school on the bus/tram/train
- School grades begin to fall.
Other signs of bullying
Sometimes signs bullying can be far more hidden. They can include:
- Often alone or excluded from friendship groups at school
- A frequent target for teasing, mimicking or ridicule at school
- Unable to speak up in class and appears insecure or frightened.
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So, this week, minding my own beeswax, scrolling down good ol’ Facebook, I stop. I stop dead in my tracks because I saw a screenshot that was disheartening. If you are a grown adult, with any respect for others, you are fully aware that life is not “fair”, everyone does not see the beauty in the same things, and of course, not everyone is going to like you. I mean this is just the way life is. We also try to raise up our children to treat others with kindness, respect, and to not exclude people for any reason (unless they are being jerks of course, AKA bullies)
That is fine. I get “that”. What I don’t get is the onslaught of grown adults, both male and female, who find it is worthwhile to spend time in their day, belittling others, bringing people down on purpose, and being hurtful when in reality, they are just grown bullies who never learned how to shut their mouth and be respectful to those around them. I shake my head as I wonder if this is what they are teaching their children.
A woman who obviously has had her fair share of self confidence issues in the past, taking precious time out of her day, (maybe a mental snapping point of self destruction, who knows) just to message a “friend” and I say that very lightly….and tell them basically they need to stop sharing photos of themselves because they are not pretty enough to look at.
I mean, are you flipping kidding me?!?! 1) Who needs friends like that when enemies will just ignore you and leave you alone and 2) Really?!!?! I mean I can’t even wrap my head around this, are we in freaking high school and fighting over a boy? GROW UP!!! If the best you can do in life is get the title of “Internet Bully”, I think you missed a few steps on how to be an adult.
Let us sit down and discuss this in a manner that most children would even understand. Being a bully is being a jerk. One of the very first lessons most children learn in life is, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
So how do you spot an adult bully? How do you know who to distance yourself away from and to not let fester on your emotions or spread poison within your tribe of loving, respectful, real friends who love you? Here are a couple signs to keep a look out for!
- If a woman has had a major transformation but is not getting enough praise, she may find that belittling others about their flaws, insecurities, and lifestyle come naturally. This person is insecure with themselves. They are bitter. They crave attention and dislike when anyone else around them is getting it. The same go for men, weight loss and income status can always change the way people treat others.
- They say things do you that they would not say publicly or to your face. They email it, private message it, text it, or avoid their behavior all together. If others do not see it, no one else can judge their behavior or actions. No one else can condemn them for treating others like shit, because in their mind, they did or say nothing wrong. If someone can not speak to you face to face about something that may hurt you, they aren’t worth speaking to at all. If there is distance, Skype it out or pick up a damn phone!
- They don’t have a steady relationship. Maybe you see them changing their status, or using social media to highlight how fabulous their life is. Do you know how many times I have seen what I thought were relationships worth envying on social media, only to find out in a split second that the couple is divorcing? Having fights on custody of children? When people are losing control of their own lives, they like to nit pick at other peoples lives. This could also include job issues, school issues, etc.
- The friend that demands your attention but can’t answer the phone when you call and need something. The friend who is too busy for you during important moments in your life but they say they just can’t have you miss something so important to them. They expect you to drop things to fit in to their schedules but never would do the same for you. Not only is this a tactic of an adult bully but it’s a self preservation tactic of a really bad friend who wonders why she feels so alone and empty in other areas of her life.
- Instead of apologizing for what they have done they point blame. They want you to be the bad guy. They are always the victim. Ever meet the “friend” who when something goes wrong or they have a fight with someone else, their first question to you is, “I’m right, right?!?!” They need someone to condone their actions, once again, they need to grasp for straws to feel that they way they treat others is acceptable.
- An adult bully will come at you in a million ways. It could be so much as making fun of people as they walk by with you, insulting people they see you hanging out with, other than them. They will compare their relationships to all of yours. They will try to always focus the attention to themselves online. They will always speak and never listen. This again, is a bad friend, a toxic relationship, but the way a person acts to others is a very tell tale sign of how they treat anyone. Are they shitty to wait staff at restaurants? Do they mock people with a fashion sense that they don’t approve of? Some of the really scary things may lay in comments made about other peoples children, the way people parent, or about significant others of mutual friends. Remember, if a person is ranting and raving about others to you, they are probably ranting and raving about you to others.
Photo Credit: www.lessonslearnedinlife.com
Don’t be a victim to adult bullies. Many of us have dealt with them from preschool to college. Someone is always going to have it in their mind that they are prettier, more successful, make better choices, do better things, and have a better life. It is insecurities. Eating at their very heart and well being. These are the people who will sit alone in a nursing home with no visitors because they run off all their family and friends with their nasty behaviors.
Be the change you want to see. Raise your children up right. Be respectful to all, even if you don’t agree with things. If it is not HARMING YOU or your loved ones, you have the ability to just walk away. Slam that door! End it, for good! You are too good for relationships with bullies.
I’d love to hear from you in comments below on how yo have dealt with any adult bullying or tips to share on how to encourage our kids to be better friends to those around them rather than bully those that are not in their group of close friends.
Let us all not forget, if you don’t want things shared on the internet, don’t put it there. Being nasty will bite you in the booty!
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.