Bullying is an English word that means “Harassment”. It refers to any form of
aggressive, intentional, or repetitive behavior that occurs for no apparent reason and is applied by one or more students.
According to UNICEF, bullying is a common phenomenon in school environments in our countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, which affects girls, boys and adolescents equally regardless of age, ethnicity or socioeconomic level. Whether it involves physical or psychological violence or both, bullying has a significant impact on the lives of the children and adolescents involved. This type of violence is relevant because it negatively affects the victim, lowering their self-esteem and confidence, which can lead to frequent states of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and even lead to suicide.
This term is “trending” due to the countless cases related to arrests and assaults in schools and universities, which puts many students in a terrifying situation.
In most cases, parents are one of the last to find out if their child is involved in bullying or being bullied, so it is necessary to know details that help to learn more about the problem.
How do you know if your child is being bullied? This question is not answered, it could be with warning indicators such as low academic performance, and sudden changes in behavior.
When sudden and even gradual changes in the child’s behavior are evident, an
example of this may be that he locks himself in his room, does not want to eat, is sad all the time and/or the minor’s resistance to wanting to go to school or to stay with his friends among others who can alert parents that their child is going through an episode of bullying.
Dan Olweus, a Swedish-Norwegian psychologist and the first to address this problem, in the report ‘School Bullying. Of the Causes, origin and Manifestations of the Question About the Meaning that the Actors Give It’ elaborated by Luis Evelio Castillo-Pulido, says that ‘a student becomes a victim of bullying when he is exposed, repeatedly and throughout the time, to negative actions carried out by another or other students’.
Experts point out that bullying or intimidation involves an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim. This imbalance can be real or only perceived by the victim. The assault is carried out by a stalker or a group that intends to harm the victim in an intentional way. There is aggressive behavior towards the same victim, which occurs repeatedly.
Unfortunately, several types of bullying or bullying can appear simultaneously, so it is necessary to ask yourself:
What types of bullying exist?
– Physical: consists of direct aggression based on kicks, pushes, hitting with objects. It can also be indirect when there is material damage to the victim’s personal belongings
– Verbal: This is the most common which can deeply affects the victim. Words have a lot of power and undermine the victim’s self-esteem through humiliation, insults, nicknames, belittling in public, spreading false rumors, offensive phone messages or calls and indecent sexual language.
– Psychological: it is carried out through threats to provoke fear, to obtain some object or money or simply to force the victim to do things that they do not want or should not do.
– Social: consists of the exclusion and progressive isolation of the victim. In practice, harassers prevent the victim from participating, either by ignoring their presence and not including them. Once a family recognizes that their child is part of this problem, knowing what to do is extremely important to reduce the damage and consequences.
What should be done?
– It is imporant to remain calm and and psychologically support the child.
– It is also important to listen to the child and not question any of theirwords.
Avoid feelings of guilt for not realizing it before and under no circumstances take justice into our own hands and show a violent attitude towards the school or the aggressor, if we know their identity. Encourage the child to report the situation to their teachers and, if necessary, to the police authority. It is also recommended to also visit a specialist in psychology.