Bullying occurs when one or more children deliberately and repeatedly harm another child. Bullies prey on weaker children with the intent to physically hurt, emotionally harm or to intimidate. They wisely choose their victims, selecting individuals who will typically not fight back. Bullying can be motivated by personal characteristics such as race, gender, body shape, religion or a physical or mental disability.
Four Types of Bullying
Bullying can occur with spoken or written words. It can be physical as well as non-physical. There are four common forms of bullying.
Physical bullying is more common among boys and involves bodily attacks against another child. The following are examples of physical or direct bullying:
- Pinching, and
Verbal bullying, as its name implies, involves nasty, threatening words. The following are examples of verbal bullying:
- Teasing and name calling,
- Playing mean jokes,
- Putting-down (a verbal attack, bad-mouthing),
- Taunting (a mean insulting remark), and
- Making offensive comments.
Once words leave your mouth, you can never take them back. Our school’s counselor did a fabulous job of illustrating this to my daughter’s second grade class. Using two common household items, she put toothpaste on a toothbrush. She gave it to a child and asked him to put the toothpaste back. Of course, he said he could not. Our school counselor discussed with the class how when a child says mean words to another you cannot take them back.
Psychological or social bullying is more common among girls but can be extremely vicious as one or more children intimidate and terrorize another child. The following are common psychological bullying tactics:
- Intentionally excluding from groups,
- Spreading malicious rumors, and
- Persuading peers to reject another child.
Cyber bullying is a relatively new form; it uses computers, cell phones, MySpace, facebook, text messages or other electronic devices to send offensive or threatening messages. Cyber bullying occurs when a child uses an electronic devise that contains:
- Hurtful or threatening messages,
- Malicious rumors, and/or
- Embarrassing photographs.
All types of bullying are unacceptable and should not be tolerated by parents or educators.