Bullying is defined as a repetitive behavior, intended to be harmful to another, and involves an aggressor who purposely takes advantage of an identified target.
Bullying is a concern to many parents, school professionals, and children. Bullying is engrained in our culture and over the past several decades it has gained greater strength with cyberbullying. Bullying is defined as a repetitive behavior, intended to be harmful to another, and involves an aggressor who purposely takes advantage of an identified target. The target typically struggles to defend himself or herself and is perceived as less powerful. Bullying can occur in various forms:
· Gateway Bullying – this form of bullying can be more subtle where individuals use nonverbal cues to exclude or ostracize another (i.e., eye-rolling, pointing, or ignoring). Verbal cues may include whispering about another person, name-calling, or posting something inappropriate about another on social media or in a group text chat.
· Physical Bullying – an act of physical aggression toward another (i.e., hitting, kicking, punching, tripping, etc.). Physical bullying can also include the aggressor forcing another to do something he or she does not want to do or attempting to destroy the possessions of another.
· Verbal Bullying – using taunting, teasing, or unkind words to make another feel inferior and/or to inflict pain.
· Social Bullying – this form of bullying has aspects of gateway and verbal bullying in that the aggressor intends to destroy the target’s social support within the community.
Children who are bullied may experience a disruption in social skill development and lowered self-esteem. Cyberbullying in older children and teens can lead to substance use and the desire to avoid situations where a child may feel embarrassed or targeted. Of great concern is the link of cyberbullying to teen suicide. It is important for children impacted by bullying to see a professional therapist who can monitor their mood and the impact of bullying, especially due to the increased risk for suicidal thoughts, attempts, and completed suicide. Our compassionate therapists at Metta Psychology Group can provide a safe and supportive environment in which a child can learn coping skills, assertion, and boundary setting to feel secure and confident.