There are many reasons why school kids and teenagers bully.Some bully in an attempt to hide or mask their feelings of inferiority.To compensate for their low self-esteem, they act arrogantly and try to dominate and demean those who they perceive are weaker than them.Others bully because they themselves have been victims of bullying by classmates or maltreatment by their parents.Bullies also need to be evaluated as to whether they have a narcissistic or sociopathic personality disorder.
. When should the bullied child report this to the school principal?
It is important for victims of bullying to seek protection and support from adults.These adults include the principal, teachers, guidance counsellors, security guards, school personnel, parents of other classmates, even including the maintenance staff.All adults in school have to be vigilant and play an active role in preventing bullying from occurring inside the campus.
. Should a child fight back or go to the principal's office to report the incident?
Children should not be advised to fight back because they can get harmed in the process.Bullies usually have friends who also have a hostile predisposition, so they may gang up on the victim and maul him.There is also a risk that the bully may be carrying some weapon which could inflict serious or even lethal injury on the victim.
. Are there children more prone to bullying than others? Why or why not?
Bullies usually pick on those kids who they perceive are weaker than them.Kids at risk are those who are smaller, more quiet, passive, submissive, and fearful.Apparently, kids with these characteristics are most likely not going to retaliate against their aggressor.
. What should the parent of the bully or the bullied child do?
Parents of the bullied child should first of all talk, empathize with, and console their child.Out of fear, they may keep mum about the bullying which they experience. The bullied child will need encouragementto be more at ease in sharing his ordeal.Parents should discuss the matter with the teachers, guidance counsellor, and principal and come up with strategies and solutions.If the child is traumatized and suffering from anxiety, depression, or other symptoms, consultations with a psychologist or psychiatrist may be helpful.
Parents of bullies need to assess whether their child’s bullying behaviours stem from family problems, marital problems, or an unhealthy parent-child relationship.If these exist, then a counsellor or psychologist should be consulted. With the psychologist’s help, a behavioural modification program consisting of rewards and penalties should be designed and implemented.