Adults and children can experience many different types of bullying, and some levels of bullying are more straightforward to spot than others. It’s necessary to be aware of the different ways that someone you know could be affected by bullying, so you can prevent and end the behavior.
The different types of bullying are:
- Physical – Physical bullying can cause both short-term and long-term damage, and it includes behaviors like hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching, pushing, or damaging property.
- Verbal – Verbal bullying includes name-calling, insults, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, and teasing.
- Social – Social bullying is also called covert bullying. It is often harder to recognize because it is sometimes carried out behind the bullied person’s back. The goal of social bullying is to harm a person’s social reputation or cause humiliation.
Social bullying includes lying and spreading rumors, making negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks, playing offensive jokes to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking another person unkindly, encouraging others to exclude someone socially, and damaging someone’s social reputation.
- Cyber – Cyberbullying includes overt and covert bullying behaviors using computers, smartphones, social media, instant messaging, text messaging, websites, and other online platforms. Cyberbullying can be done in public or in private. Sometimes cyberbullying is only known to the target and the person doing the bullying. Typical cyberbullying behaviors include abusive or hurtful texts, emails, posts, images, or videos as well as deliberately excluding others online.
How to Stop It
If you have noticed that someone is showing signs of being bullied, the big question is how to stop bullying. The first step is to get the person to open up about what is happening in their life by showing them that you will not judge them and that you understand.
- Listen – Try to listen to the person’s whole story about their bullying experience without interrupting and remember they may need to tell their story more than once. Be empathetic, calm, and show you get what the person is saying.
- Talk – Talk to the person about what happened without letting your emotions show since your feelings can intensify the other person’s feelings or make it worse for them. Remind the person that it is reasonable to feel hurt. Also, tell them the other person’s behavior was intentional and meant to hurt them, and it is never okay to be bullied. Ask the person what they want to happen. Typically, all a person wants is to know how to stop the bullying.
- Find Out What Is Happening – Note when and where the bullying occurred, who was involved, how often, and if anybody else witnessed it. If your child is being bullied, do not offer to confront the other child or their parents yourself because it might make things worse for your child.
- Contact Your Child’s School – Bullying arises from social situations: e.g., family, school, clubs, and work. If possible, it is best to deal with cases of bullying where they occur. For children, school is the most common location for bullying. Therefore, it is vital to alert your child’s school to the situation. Your child’s school may not be aware of the bullying.
If you need to set up a discussion with the school, make an appointment to speak to your child’s teacher or counselor. Before the meeting, check the school’s anti-bullying policy and note what the administration will do to keep your child safe from harm and stop the abusive behavior.
- Give Sensible Advice – Encourage the person that fighting back is not a good idea. Instead, coach them to use neutral language in response and help them explore other possible reactions. Explain that it is safer to avoid people, places, or situations that could expose them to further bullying. If your child asks to stay home from school, explain that it won’t help and may make things worse.