As mentioned in a previous article, there are two aspects of teasing; playful teasing which brings laughter and feeling of inclusion, and harmful teasing which initiates fear and feelings of isolation. Harmful teasing is one aspect of Bullying Behaviors, but Bullying is more than teasing.
Bullying is a repeated, unprovoked behavior that can include; harmful acts, talk, or even physical or the threat of physical acts against a child. These repeated threats, or acts, have long-term, lasting, negative effects on the Victim.
There are several reasons, why children display Bullying behaviors; they see this behavior modeled, at home, at school, in the media, or in their neighborhoods. The mistaken behaviors of Bullying are reinforced; when the Bully gets attention (negative attention is better than no attention), when the victim reacts with shame or fear, and when other children join in the “bullying game”.
If your child is a victim of being bullied, they need your help! Teach your child; to remain calm, and to say in a direct voice-STOP, I do not like what you are doing! Remind your child, that they are not the ones displaying mistaken behaviors, and not to be scared to ask for adult help. Encourage your child, not to be afraid of the Bully; they are the ones making the mistake, not the child who is a victim of the behavior. Also, keep in mind, that the Bully is the person in NEED of positive guidance, and are a victim, themselves.
Children who display Bullying Behaviors are most likely having difficulties in their own lives, and an inability to understand the needed skills to build positive relationships. In other words, bullies are in as much need of positive reinforcement and guidance, as the children who are victims of Bullying.
Adults can help victims, as well as, perpetrators by; modeling respectful treatment of others, protecting the child who has been victimized, not tolerating actions or words that are harmful to others, developing a code of conduct, sharing books with children about cooperation, and playing non-competitive games to encourage cooperation.
For more information on Bullying and what you can do to discourage this mistaken behavior, here are some web-sites: