It is difficult to believe that the word “bully” originally had the meaning of “sweetheart.” How times change! Today the word has evolved to mean someone who hurts those weaker than oneself. There is also the term “bully bully.” This refers to a person who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or more vulnerable to be tormented by the neighborhood or school bully.
The Bully During Childhood
Bullies strike for many reasons. Something as simple as an accent might cause a bully to attack. A very bright pupil might receive nasty words from a bully. A weak boy, wearing glasses, and baggie clothes might invite be an invitation for a bully to attack. It does not take much to cause a bully to react. At times they want to “show off” and let everyone see how “tough” they are. Society once thought bullying consisted just of physical bullying and name-calling. However, there are other types, such as gossiping about people. This might be used to make fun of another person’s race or religion. Today we have cyber bullying, physical bullying, relational aggression, sexual bullying, prejudicial bullying, and verbal bullying. So, when your child leaves for school, you never know what s/he may face. You must hope that s/he won’t meet up with a bully.
The Bully And Physical Bullying
This happens when one person uses physical actions over another person to gain power and control. The bully is usually larger, stronger, and more aggressive than their target. The target may face kicking, hitting, punching, slapping, shoving, and any other form of physical attack. The bully generally does not fit into any one type of category. They have different styles, personalities, goals, and behaviors. Their motivations are all different. And, it’s not just boys that bully, girls can be just as guilty. They are more active in the land of cyber, however. They can even do their bullying in an anonymous manner.
The Bully And The Victim
If there is such a thing as a “typical” bully, they generally have bigger than life egos. They are condescending and very confident. They usually have a group of followers, a little “gang” that feel like they rule the school. They generally have a sense of entitlement. This can stem from their popularity, size, upbringing, or socioeconomic status. They feel exhilarated over the physical power and control they have over their victims. Sometimes the school’s star athlete or school leader is a bully. They love the attention and power they receive from bullying. Peers usually tolerate the bully’s behavior because they would rather be accepted then become a victim.
The Bully And Your Child
You will not know your child is being bullied unless s/he tells you, or bruises or injuries. There are a few other signs such as him/her seeming anxious, not eating, not sleeping well, or not participating in things you know they enjoy. They may be moodier or more upset than usual. If you suspect your child is being bullied you need to discuss this even though s/he may be reluctant to do so. You also need to make an appointment with his/her teacher to try to have a clearer understanding. If necessary, also make an appointment with the school principal. This is a critical time in your child’s growth process, and you need to help him/her in any and every way possible.
We have all known bullies in our life. This is nothing new. However, as a parent, it is up to you to help prevent your child from being bullied.