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BULLYING AND TEASING

Hostility and aggression directed towards a victim who is physically or emotionally weaker than the bully are signs of bullying. The result of this behaviour is pain and distress for the victim.

Reasons for Bullying

a. Some bullies have themselves been victims of bullying and therefore do the same.

b. Since bullies have a low self-esteem, they want to potray an image of being powerful or in control, therefore they behave in such a manner.
c.

Bullies want to feel more important.

d.

Bullies may attempt to achieve popularity among friends and use this approach to gain popularity.

     
Types of Bullying
a.

Physical bullying such as kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, etc.

b.

Verbal bullying such as calling names, spreading rumours or persistent teasing.

c.

Emotional bullying such as excluding a child from group activities and hampering him emotionally.

d.

Sexual bullying such as unwanted physical contact.

            
Reasons for being Bullied
a.

A child, who is more anxious and insecure than his peers, is an easy target for bullying. They realize these children are less likely to retaliate.

b.

Some children are more intelligent than their friends. They may score a high percentage to get their peers jealous and may resort to bullying.

c.

A meek, feeble physical structure often attracts the bigger stronger boys to bully the weaker ones.

d.

A very low self-esteem also is an easy target to be bullied.

        
Sign to recognize that your child is being Bullied
a. Sudden appearance of bruises.
b. Avoiding, going to school.
c. Mysterious illnesses or stomach aches.
d. Feeling very low and insecure.
e. Disinclination to go to play.
      

If you learn that your child is being bullied, try to help him in the following ways

a. Talk it out with your child.
b. Tell him you understand his problems.
c.

Comfort him and assure him that you are there for him anytime.

d.

Do not overreact as you can further affect the child.

e. Reassure your child that he did not cause the bullying.
f.

Explain to him that usually children who are confused or unhappy are the one's who bully.

g. Help him to regain his sense of dignity and self-esteem.
h.

Complain to a higher authority, i.e. principal or teacher if a bully tries to physically / sexually abuse your child.

i.

Ask your child to confront the bully, eye to eye and look into his eye and tell the bully, "I do not like your teasing, stop it".

j.

Tell him to be in big group for some time, as this will keep a child away from being victimized.

             
If you realize your child is a Bully
a. Do not over react.
b.

Try not to become angry or defensive as this could make a bad situation even worse.

c.

Bullying often stems from unhappiness or insecurity, try to find out what is troubling your child.

d. Try to control your own aggression.
e.

If any sibling is bullying or teasing your child, stop it immediately.

f. Praise your child for good and appropriate behaviour.
g.

Spend a lot of time with him, pay attention to his needs.

h.

Build a good rapport with him and share his day to day happenings. Tell your child's teacher that he is trying to change, so that she could cooperate and help the child to change.


CASE STUDY


Past History

Mohan's parents came to the child guidance clinic very anxious. They were concerned about Mohan's behaviour in school and in the neighborhood. They were tired of complaints.

Mohan, an active six year old hates the constraints of classroom life and is repeatedly frustrated when he is not able to achieve what he wants. He hates friends who dominate others. He always wants to be the leader in all his playgroups. He tends to mumble when he speaks, mispronouncing words and using short, poorly sequenced sentences. When he has an urgent need to communicate an idea, he expresses himself physically rather then verbally. The urge to push, grab, hug and wrestle strikes him long before he thinks of talking things out. Many of his friends avoid him for fear of becoming one of his targets. Most of the boys parents, unsure of how to deal with Mohan's frequent tears and wild behaviour, discourage his presence in their homes.

He has problems with writing and is restless during class hours. Mohan is aware of his academic shortcomings, but is powerless to change his activity level and attention span. He cannot accept defeat. He must win all the time.

In school, he requires a place to work where he cannot create too many distractions for others, a place to calm down when he becomes upset and lots of support and encouragement in the form of pats, hugs and handshakes. This bullying nature is really a compensation for his low inferiority feeling that he is not as good as children who rank in the top five in class. His poor self-concept further makes him desire to win in games and be a leader.

Treatment
In therapy sessions with the counsellor, Mohan is helped to concentrate on his work, by the undivided attention of the counsellor. He is encouraged to do physical education and join art classes. He is firmly told that bullying would not work any more, as everyone has a right to win and sometimes one has to lose.

Teachers and his parents were asked to remain non-judgmental in their remarks towards him and to show interest in his complaints about others. He needed to be listened to. He felt many a time that he had been labelled once too often.

It was made to understand that bullying and dominance was a compensatory strategy, which Mohan used to cover his real or imaginary weakness. He needed to feel more secure and self-confident and he should not place himself in very competitive situations.

 

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