Bullying

8V-S

Bullying may be defined as repeated aggressive behaviour intended to cause physical, emotional or mental harm to another individual who to a bully seems to have less physical or social power. Bullying is often considered as an act of displaying one’s dominance over another person.

It can be

1) Physical -> Kicking, hitting, sexual aggression like pinching, touching, groping

2) Verbal -> Name calling, teasing, threats of harm

3) Relational bullying -> Spreading rumours, gossiping, spoiling social image and friendship

4) Cyber bullying -> Using mails or social websites to cause harm.

The first 2 are forms of direct bullying more common in boys; while relational bullying is a form of indirect bullying more common in girls.

Bullying is prevalent in school population with physical, verbal and rational bullying being more prevalent in primary school and cyber bullying in secondary school.

Characteristics of Bullies

Research shows that a bully might have following reasons to show aggression towards others :

a) Envy

b) To conceal anxiety or shame

c) To boost self esteem

d) Personality disorders like engaging in aggressive behaviour, anti-social traits, low frustration tolerance.

e) Lack of parental warmth, parental supervision

f) Over protective and permissive parenting

g) Harsh discipline

h) Being in company that accepts violence

i) Hostility at home with siblings or parents

j) Dominant or authoritative personality

k) Having prejudice and racial views

l) Research show that Bullying is also associated with low Emotional Intelligence

Characteristics of victim

a) Lack of social skills

b) Low self esteem

c) Isolation from peers

d) Negative home environment

e) Low emotional tolerance

f) Physically weak

The effects of bullying on victims are –

Bullying can sometimes leave permanent emotional scars on the victim making him avoid social contacts and complete withdrawal and sometimes it can also give the courage to the victim to stand up to any ill-treatment and become a strong person. Some known effects of bullying are listed below

a) Lack of interest in school

b) Complaints of Psychosomatic Symptoms when asked to attend school

c) Sometimes suicidal thoughts and actions

d) Severe depression

e) Avoiding peers

f) Victims of bullying are more prone to being very violent, aggressive in adult age, for e.g. most serial killers are bullied by direct or indirect methods.

g) Sometimes being bullied results in positive development like enabling one to develop self-protection skills, to stand up for oneself, etc.

Prevention :

1. Early intervention at low grades level in schools.

2. There should be strict rules in school against bullying.

3. Teachers and parents should be vigilant towards any signs of bullying.

4. Teaching students how to deal with bullying and developing their pro-social skills.

          Vidhi Pipara Adolescent Psychologist – Guidance on personal or psychological problems in Ahmedabad,Gujarat and India

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