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psychology and counseling understanding bullying behavior

PSYCHOLOGY AND COUNSELING: UNDERSTANDING BULLYING BEHAVIOR

Bullying can have devastating effects on kids. Families need to learn about common bullying behavior, and they should communicate regularly to make sure that students aren’t facing bullying situations alone. If bullying occurs, parents need to act swiftly to prevent long-term effects. Counseling can help kids recover if bullying happens.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is aggressive behavior carried out by an individual or a group of people against another person. Bullying behavior is intended to hurt another person with words or physical actions. Behavior is categorized as bullying if it is intentional, repeated, and carried out by a person or people with either more social or physical power than the victim. Bullying causes emotional and/or physical pain.

Types of Bullying

Different types of bullying can happen separately, or more than one type of bullying can happen at the same time. Physical bullying involves harming someone else physically, possibly by punching, kicking, or pushing. Verbal bullying is name-calling or yelling at a victim repeatedly. Bullying that happens between people in a friendship is relational bullying; this may involve exclusion or spreading rumors. Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that happens on electronic devices such as smartphones or computers.

Who Can Be Affected by Bullying?

National statistics on bullying in America indicate that about 20 percent of all students report some type of bullying. Male students are more likely to be physically bullied than female students, and female students experience relational bullying such as exclusion and rumors more often than male students. Reasons for bullying often focus on physical appearance, race, gender, religion, and/or sexual orientation. Schools with bullying prevention programs are often able to decrease bullying significantly.

All About Cyberbullying

When a bully uses electronic communication to harass or harm another person, this is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can be just as devastating as bullying that happens in person. Sometimes cyberbullying happens anonymously, since it’s possible to hide identities online. Cyberbullying can have a far-reaching impact thanks to the reach of the Internet. Even strangers can find and see incidences of cyberbullying when content is shared publicly online.

Bullying Prevention

Bullying prevention requires vigilance. Teachers and administrators need to be constantly supervising students and watching for bullying situations. If bullying is suspected, it’s important to intervene immediately. Parents also need to watch and supervise activities to make sure that interactions are positive. Teach kids that bullying is unacceptable, and urge them to confide in parents, teachers, or friends if a situation arises. Kids also need to know that they should intervene if they ever see bullying happen.

Bullying Behavior

Most bullies share common characteristics. Underneath, bullies are afraid and insecure about themselves. Bullies deal with these fears by trying to create fear in others. Bullying behavior usually involves some type of dominance over others. Bullies tend to have quick tempers and an inability to control their impulses. Bullies also have an inability to feel empathy for others, and they don’t tolerate differences in other people well.

Resources for Parents

Parents should explain both sides of bullying so kids understand the positions of both the victim and the aggressor. By communicating, observing kids, asking about friends and peers, and finding out about daily activities, parents can stay tuned into kids’ lives. Parents should also model healthy habits such as empathy, respect, and kindness. Talk about the proper response to a bullying situation so kids are prepared and know what to do if they are confronted with bullying. If a child reports a bullying situation, ask questions, offer support, and report it to school officials. If bullying is severe, it may be necessary to consult with a psychology professional for counseling.