Although the world of parenting is constantly evolving, there is one thing that parents will always need to watch out for bullying.
It doesn't matter how quickly children think they are maturing; their minds are still developing while they're in school - up until the age they're 25 in fact. While they're developing, they may not understand right versus wrong and what's appropriate versus inappropriate behavior.
Kids tend to bully others for very specific reasons; if they're not getting much attention at home and no one is teaching them how to act responsibly, they may bully their peers for attention. They may also be learning to bully others from being bullied themselves, either by parents or siblings. Because it is a learned behavior, it's important to identify and stop it early on as well as to teach children that bullying is never okay.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 1 in every 4 children is bullied. At a time where technology and social media are so prominent, cyberbullying is on the rise. But there are other types of bullying that parents need to watch out for as well. Physical bullying is another well-known type, but kids can also be bullied verbally, emotionally or socially.
Read on to learn about the five major types of bullying that parents should be aware of.
In a global society that is heavily engaged with the latest technology and social media sites, the Internet plays a major role in our lives. It is not only used for work and play, but has become a normal part ofֲ many schools as well in the form of computer classes or iPad usage. It's no wonder that bullies have turned to the web as well.
Cyberbullying is dangerous because it can combine so many other types of bullying: verbal, emotional and social, without parents ever finding out about it. While plenty of children do tell an authority figure, more than half of children who are bullied don't report it. This is obviously an issue that will continue to grow as children spend more and more time on computers and mobile devices.
This type of harassment can take many forms, including hurtful words and images, threats or the creation of humiliating websites or mass emails. While most forms of bullying end when the school day does, cyberbullying follows children into their own home, making it a 24/7 possibility that your child can't escape.
This alone makes cyberbullying the most dangerous out of all of the types of bullying. Additionally, the Internet offers a level of anonymity that is not an option in person. Children can be bullied daily without ever knowing who their tormentor is.
Talk to your kids ahead of time and let them know that cyberbullying is not okay - about them or anyone else. Observe your child once they're done using technology. If they're anxious or unhappy directly after usage, it could be a sign of cyberbullying.
2. Physical Bullying
While every type of bullying has its own identifying factors, physical bullying is the easiest to spot. It involves using physical power or threats of violence to coerce or control others. Children may be hit, kicked, punched, pushed or simply threatened with any of the above.
Physical bullying is what most people thought of when they pictured bullying before cyberbullying came along. Since it is so easy to spot, teachers, school officials or other parents were better able to help put a stop to it and inform parents.
Students may not be likely to tell you if they're being physically abused at school, but it's not too hard to tell. If you find unexplained injuries like bruises or cuts on your child, if they come home with ripped or damaged clothing or if they stay covered up around you, there is a good chance someone is physically bullying them. Make sure to have conversations with your children about open communication and, if you do find evidence of physical abuse from a peer, consult school administrators or law enforcement - don't try to confront the abuser or their parents on your own.
3. Verbal Bullying
Just as it sounds, verbal bullying deals with kids using hurtful words, mean comments, insults, threats and name-calling to upset or control others. Those that partake in verbal bullying often harass others using something specific, whether it is their appearance, their race, their religion, a specific disability, their sexual orientation or even something about another member of their family. This can be a major problem because it can alter the way children view themselves and the world around them.
Verbal bullying is much more difficult to identify because it is not a physical action; there is no evidence left behind except for the emotional strain it can put on the child being bullied. These types of bullies also tend to strike when there is no one else around or when only their friends who support their actions surround them. When victims do speak up, it tends to start a he-said-she-said conversation that doesn't usually result in consequences due to lack of evidence.
Your child may become withdrawn or have mood swings when they are being verbally bullied, or they may tell you what someone has said and ask if it's true. If that happens, try to instill in your child the idea that he or she is perfect as is and that it's important to ignore anyone trying to say otherwise.
4. Emotional Bullying
Emotional bullying usually involves verbal bullying as well, but it is essentially harassing someone in a way that causes emotional damage. This type of bullying happens most among teens that are in abusive relationships or friendships.
Rather than explicit verbal bullying, saying things that are mean, making threats or name-calling, emotional bullying deals saying things to someone that will intentionally hurt them. Because it is likely to make them sad, parents can identify it in children if they are crying a lot after being with or talking to a boyfriend, girlfriend or close friend.
5. Social Bullying
Of the five types of bullying, social bullying is the one that has the most effect on a child's reputation, shaping their experience while they're at school or events with their peers. There are many ways that kids can be bullied socially. Bullies may spread rumors, cause humiliation, play jokes meant to embarrass the victim, reveal things the victim told them in secret or convince others to exclude them from certain groups or activities. The bully tends to use social bullying to simultaneously put their victim down and bring him or herself up.
One way to recognize students that are being victimized is to watch for changes in mood or social interaction. Children that are usually social, but have started to avoid social scenes, especially peer-related events, and would rather spend time alone are likely being bullied.
If your child begins to act this way, you can try talking to them but if they aren't responsive and don't want to share what's bothering them, take a different approach. Try to get him or her interested in a new hobby or activity, whether it's playing an instrument, trying their hand at a new sport or joining a club to make a different set of friends. Build up their self-confidence so they don't feel reduced to the things said about them socially when they're at school."