Family members (parents, siblings, grandparents), and close friends play a key role in facilitating the prevention of bullying. They also provide children and other youth with coping skills needed to minimize the severity of a bullying experience.
Bullying can take many forms, such as: violence (hitting or punching) teasing, name calling, intimidation through gestures or facial expressions, social exclusion and sending insulting messages or pictures by mobile phone or the internet (cyberbullying).
General advice for parents is to follow these steps:
- Brush up on the modern forms of bullying that your child may be subjected to at school, on the playground and other places in the community.
- Use strategies to try to prevent bullying and help children deal with bullying experiences.
- Go to your local library or search online for useful materials that you can use to assist children in your family, school and community.
Who are the Bullies?
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. It is nearly impossible to spot a bully by their physical appearance alone, however, studies have revealed two general types of bullies:
- THE AGGRESSIVE BULLY - This child gets their way by openly harassing someone. Usually, this bully rejects rules and regulations. Brute force and rebellion makes this bully feel superior and they believe that other children look up to them (when they are usually just feared by other children).
- THE MANIPULATIVE BULLY - This child is more reserved and wants to avoid being recognized as a bully. They control by trying to say the "right" thing at the "right" time and lying. This type of bully gets his or her power indirectly through cunning, manipulation and deception.
Although these two types of bullies are different on the surface, they do have some characteristics in common. They:
- are only concerned with themselves and their own feelings
- want power over others
- are willing to use and abuse other children to get what they want
- cannot see things from another person's point of view
- feel pain inside from their own shortcomings
- are often acting out because of insufficient attention at home
Most bullies don't understand how wrong their behavior is and how it makes the person being bullied feel. No matter what kind of bully someone is, they have not learned kindness, compassion and respect.