Bullying behaviours

Ways in which people can bully
The examples given are by no means exhaustive, but are here to increase your understanding of each type of bullying. In our workshops we look at the behaviours that someone bullying engages in, that’s not to exclude specific types of bullying such as homophobic, racist, or other prejudice based bullying but the behaviours are the same even if the motivation differs. Helping children and young people to examine their behaviour, and how that is hurting someone else is the first step in tackling bullying. It’s also vitally important that the child who is being bullied understands what is, and is not, acceptable behaviour, helping them to see that what someone is doing to them is not “a joke” or to be tolerated, that it is in fact bullying is vital to their self-esteem.

• Verbal Bullying: Teasing, jeering, name calling, slagging, mimicking.
Can leave children feeling angry, frightened and powerless. If children are unable to share their feelings with someone else, verbal bullying can leave them emotionally bruised and physically exhausted. Their powers of concentration can suffer, adversely affecting their capacity for learning. Verbal attacks can be of highly personal and sexual nature. They can be directed at the child’s family, culture, race or religion. Malicious rumours are particularly insidious forms of verbal bullying.

• Physical Bullying: Something that is physically done to an individual, or their belongings.
Fighting, hitting, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing. It’s often written off as ‘horseplay,’ ‘pretend’ or ‘just a game’ when challenged. While children can and do play roughly, in the case of bullying be aware that these ‘games’ can be a precursor to vicious physical assaults. Both boys and girls indulge in physical bullying, boys sometimes more so because it’s socially acceptable for them to be more physically aggressive, and their games and sports can allow for greater physical contact. There’s a misconception that physical bullying has to hurt, it doesn’t. It can be the “accidental” bumping into someone in the corridor, crowding them at the locker, invading their personal space. It is something that someone physically does to another.

• Gesture Bullying: Threatening signs, dirty looks.
There are many different forms of non-verbal threatening gestures that can convey intimidatory and frightening messages, for example gesturing a gun to a head or gesturing slitting a throat, or giving a “stare”. It’s very important to recognise the power of gesture bullying, often adults can be dismissive of a child who reports that another child “is looking at me” but it’s a very easy way to maintain a constant level of threat against another child, and it’s so subtle it can be happening right under a teacher’s nose.

• Exclusion Bullying: Leaving someone out, ignoring them on purpose.
This is particularly hurtful because it isolates the child from his/her peer group and is very hard for the child to combat as it directly attacks their self-confidence and self-image. Our approach at Sticks and Stones is to activate the group dynamic, getting them to empathise with their fellow classmates. This approach is vital in tackling exclusion bullying, otherwise it’s very hard for  an individual child to break the pattern of exclusion by themselves.

• Extortion Bullying: Getting someone to do something they don’t want to do. Threatening, Forcing, Blackmailing.
Younger children are particularly vulnerable to extortion bullying. Demands for money, possessions or equipment, lunch vouchers or food may be made, often accompanied by threats. Children may also be dared or forced to steal from the school leaving them at the mercy of the bully and open to further intimidation.

• Cyber-Bullying: in an ever-more technologically advanced world, a new strain of bullying has emerged amongst children, which utilises web pages, on-line gaming, emails and text messaging to abuse, intimidate and attack others, either directly or indirectly (for example spreading rumours).

For more information on Cyber Bullying, click HERE