In talking to a Elementary School Principal the other day, the question was asked, “Do you have an Anti-Bullying program?” Their response may be interesting to you. “No. We teach the children the difference between a Bully and someone that is just mean.”
Is there a difference between a bully and just a mean child?
We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us. We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to. But that doesn’t make them or us a bully. Learning to deal with mean, rude, or unkind people is really a part of life that we all have to learn.
Bullying, on other hand is a different matter entirely and it needs to be addressed immediately. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An intentional act to hurt or harm someone
- An imbalance of power
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Why do people bully? People who bully do so for many reasons. They often find someone who will not stand up to them and go after those who have low self-esteem, this is where the “imbalance of power” happens. They keep poking fun at and hurting the victim without remorse. Some of the most popular reasons for bullying include:
- Sexual orientation
No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim. Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel. Individuals that are bullied and those whom bully others may have serious, lasting problems. People who have been victimized by bullying carry with them for the rest of their lives the scars of the past. The brutal words and actions create an impact on the heart. Many victims don’t reach out for help, but there are signs to look for. Does your child…
- avoid activities that he used to love doing
- make up excuses to avoid going to school
- miss a lot of days from school
- seem more irritable and moody
- appear to be more stressed out and anxious
- not sleep enough or sleep too much
- eat more or less than usual
- prefer to be alone and avoid friends and family
If you notice any of these warning signs and suspect your child is being bullied, you need to take the necessary steps to get help.
“Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away.”
― Donna Schoenrock (Donna Lynn Hope) Author of “Willow”
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