Bullying has become a significant problem in schools, with children who have unresolved personal issues causing problems for others in their classrooms. Such issues include teasing, quarreling, property damage, and peer fighting. It is important to understand the root cause of these behaviors in order to effectively tackle bullying.
When is it bullying?
Teasing is a common occurrence among siblings and friends, but when it becomes unkind, hurtful, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying and must be stopped.
Why do kids bully?
There are several reasons why kids bully others, such as:
- They see someone as emotionally weak and try to overpower them.
- They tease others to feel important, famous, or in control.
- They use their larger and stronger physical build to bully others.
- Past ill-treatment they have received causes them to inflict similar harm on others.
- They may believe that shouting and getting angry is normal behavior, based on what they see in their families.
Signs of bullying?
There are warning signs that a child may be experiencing bullying, such as:
- Sleeping problems, changes in eating habits, or lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Acting differently or appearing anxious
- Avoiding certain situations, such as remedial classes or riding the school bus
- Mood swings or an increased sensitivity leading to being upset
Also Read: How students can provide constructive feedback and help each other?
What can teachers and parents do?
Children often hesitate to share instances of bullying due to feelings of embarrassment and shame. Kids worry their teachers and parents would be disappointed in them and become upset and angry. It is crucial for educators and parents to make their children feel comfortable sharing these experiences.
As educators and parents, you can support children by:
- Listening to what their child is saying
- Asking kids frequently if everything is okay at school
- Observing any changes in the child’s behavior or activities
- Consoling the child and reminding him/her that they are not alone
- Explaining to the child that it is not their fault, but the bully’s behavior that is problematic
- Staying updated on child’s behavior and challenges through communication with school teachers
What should kids do?
There are some situations where parents might tell their kids to fight back. But it is noted that a fight might lead to injuries and escalate into violence. It is best to move away from such a situation and inform an adult. It is also best for them to:
- Talk to someone: Children need to share their experiences and troubles with someone they trust, such as their class teacher, counsellor, siblings or a friend. Victims can feel at ease by sharing about the situation.
- Walk away: Aggressive behaviour in any situation leads to a bad ending. A victim needs to walk away from situations where there is a chance of fighting and violence by ignoring the bullies and avoiding them by acting bravely. The victim should have the courage to hold back and not be timid from the suppressing position.
- Talk to an adult: Kids must talk to any adult they feel comfortable with, such as parents, teachers, elder siblings etc.
- Handle their emotions: It is common for introverted and timid students to get bullied. Such kids should control their feelings and not get affected. It is very normal to feel angry or frustrated at the time of being bullied. Talk to someone about how to handle and channelise the emotions.
- Participate in the buddy system approach: Teachers and parents should advise the children to socialise more and make their buddy groups where they hang out and share. Victims should ensure that they are not alone around bullies.
Confidence and motivation are key for a child’s overall growth. To help rebuild confidence, parents and teachers should encourage children to participate in group activities and try the buddy system. Adults should also listen to children who face challenges and share positive news to help boost their spirits.