What Is A Bully
A bully refers to someone, especially a school student, who uses force, coercion or threats to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. Bullies rely on their real or perceived strength. This essentially means that the victim may not always be inferior to the bully in terms of age or physical strength, but may rather be dominated from a point of psychological advantage.
How Does One Become A Bully?
A school bully is not born, he is made. Bullying tendencies are developed from the cozy notion that any student, by virtue of their long existence in a particular school, earns some privileges and should therefore exercise these privileges as a way of proving a point to new entrants in that school. Bullies literally put the fear of God into their victims and no matter their size or shape, most are the times when their victims are coerced or intimidated into submission.
Categories Of Bullying
Bullying falls into various categories namely;
- Physical bullying that involves inflicting of physical pain through kicking, punching, hitting etc.
- Verbal bullying that involves name calling and taunting.
- Relational bullying that involves eroding of social inclusiveness by straining friendships and peer acceptance.
- Cyber-bullying which is one of the new forms that is characterized by the use of electronic media to harm others.
Signs Of Bullying
As a parent it is important to be aware of some of the signs that will indicate your child is being bullied. Many parents may not easily notice bullying signs on their children, owing to the fact that many children themselves are known not to speak out for fear of further victimization. As difficult as it may be, the following are some of the sure indicators that your child may be a victim of bullying in school;
- Unexplained injuries especially on the child's hands or feet may indicate defensive confrontations with a bully.
- Lost or damaged books, clothing, pieces of jewellery or electronics.
- Self-destructive behaviors including running away from home or school, violent tendencies or suicide contemplations.
- eelings of helplessness, dejection and decreased self-esteem.
- Sudden loss of friends due to the avoidance of social situations.
- Deteriorating performance patterns occasioned by frequent absenteeism and loss of interest in school work which culminate in dropping of grades.
- Erratic sleeping patterns punctuated with frequent nightmares and discontinuous sleep.
- Erratic eating habits characterized by binge eating.
As a responsible parent, it is not only fair to look out for signs for a bullying victim, but of a bully as well. As children stay for longer periods in schools without the watch of their parents, they may develop bullying habits and just like the victims, this may impact negatively on the child's physical, mental, emotional as well as academic well-being. The following are therefore some of the signs that your child could be the bully;
- Frequent victim of physical or verbal fights.
- Keeps company of friends who bully others.
- Increasingly develop violent tendencies.
- Is a frequent victim of detention.
- Has unexplained extra money or other belongings.
- Blames others for their problems and do not accept responsibility for their actions.
- Are competitive and are particularly concerned about their reputation and popularity.
What To Do About A Bully
Handling bullies require tact and skill. Though many people often approach the situation casually, it normally calls for more than just punishment, as the problem is known to develop into a psychological one.
The procedure for reporting a bully in a school is often slightly different from that followed when the bully is out of school. If the bully is in a school, the normal procedure to follow is by reporting to the class teacher, teacher on duty or the principal. The bully is then summoned and asked to defend themselves. Based on the extent of damage inflicted on the victim, the bully may either be subjected to a course o physical punishment, detained for a defined length of time, sent home and asked to report back accompanied by their parents or in the worst case, may be arrested and detained in a police cell.
When outside a school compound, the dynamics may be a little different.The first question one should always settle is, 'is the bully in school uniform?'. If so, then the procedure unfolds as in the case when the bully is caught inside a school compound. If the bully is not in any school attire, then they can directly be reported to their parents or the authorities depending on the location they are caught.
In the interest of safeguarding the physical and academic welfare of your child, every parent must see to it that their children do not fall victims of bullying situations. Truth of the matter is, it may be quite difficult to tell whether your child is being bullied or not, until you open up your eyes to these hidden signs. If at all possible, you can also endeavor to find out if your child is being the bully for as it were, whether the perpetrator or victim, this uncalled for behavior is equally destructive.