Bullying of a young person can happen by an individual or by a group. Bullying can be both direct or indirect both physical and emotional in its actions..

The duration of buying can vary. It can be a one-off event or something that is repeated over time. While long term buying can have profound effects on a child, one off events can equally be harmful.

Those who bully other children can be  older and appear to be popular with other children; they frequently are physically stronger.. Bullies often have deep rooted emotional difficulties and are more likely to have suffered bullying from older siblings or parents or indeed being bullied by other peers. They seek to address the impact of the bullying they have experienced onto others through their behaviour.  Exerting control on others helps them come to terms with the emotional trauma they have suffered by being controlled.

Often to emphasis their control, bullies with act violently towards their victims in front of an audience. The presence of other children can reinforce the bullies authority across that group. While a bullies behaviour can be curtailed when a group shows their displeasure at their behaviour it is often than such witnesses do not speak out for fear of becoming a victim themselves.

Young people often get into difficult situations with their peers, it is not unusual for children to fight or have verbal disagreements with others at school or elsewhere. Not all such behaviours are acts of bullying. In fact, it is crucial not to confuse bullying with other forms of peers’ interaction (e.g. discussions, different opinions, jokes, fights, quarrels). Children must learn to manage differences that are not harmful, it is part and parcel of normal child development.  However harmful interactions with their peers should not be seen as normal development.

Typical characteristics helping in distinguishing bullying situations from other forms of aggression are:

  • Intentionality. Bullying implies actions that are intended to offend, create discomfort, intimidate, harass, embarrass, and exclude other(s).
  • Persistence over time. Bullying implies actions which usually occur repeatedly and frequently. However, as previously noted, a once only situation is a behaviour to be taken into account and not to be underestimated.
  • Relationship asymmetry. There is usually power imbalance between the violent child and the victim. This imbalance can be based on both physical characteristics and psychological and/or cultural factors. 

21 November 2019

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