Children torment others for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it has to do with low self-esteem. Often times, it comes from a desire to fit in and earn a reputation among peers. Even though it may seem that being known as a bully would be a bad thing, they are now often considered the strongest, funniest and most popular kids in school. After all, in a teenager’s world many think they only have two options anyway; either be a bully or be bullied.
It is a common misconception that all bullies come from unstable homes, abuse drugs, have issues with anger, or have other emotional problems. A lot of times parents do not even know that their child is conducting this type of crude behavior. These are the most common types to watch out for:
1. Physical Bullying
The first and most obvious form is physical. Physical bullying is the old-fashioned way: Using physical assault as a means to terrify and control the victim. Physical assault isn’t limited to causing bodily harm. It can also include damaging personal property, and it is always punishable by law. The problem has become so severe over the past decade or two, often leading to suicide of the victim; many states have enacted anti-bullying laws. This means that these behaviors will no longer be tolerated.
Bullies can now face serious charges, especially if their harassment directly impacted the victim by inspiring him to self-harm or attempt suicide. If the victim was physically assaulted, the consequences could lead up to juvenile incarceration. In this case, it is advisable that you seek legal guidance. Per the criminal defense lawyers at www.devorelawoffice.com, “Any person under the age of 18 who has committed a crime is deemed a juvenile delinquent.”
This means that your child’s school record and more will be tarnished, which can also haunt him for an indefinite amount of time. However, most instances, “juvenile crimes are treated in a special court which focuses on rehabilitation rather than only punishment. The goal of the juvenile system is to offer youth the opportunity to learn how to or choose to stop criminal behavior before they go past the age of 18.” (DevoreLaw) Therefore an early intervention is a key component to stop misbehavior.
2. Verbal Bullying
Before the Internet came to be, verbal bullying was most common. It includes any attempt to purposefully use words to harm another person’s emotional state. It’s fairly easy for children to get away with verbal bullying as there is usually no evidence that anything took place. It is the accused’s word against the victim’s, and if the accused has many friends in his corner, they will most likely provide back up. Often times, teachers, parents and school administrators feel helpless in stopping verbal abuse.
3. Undercover Bullying
Another form is undercover bullying. This type is more careful about his actions by choosing to avoid direct insults or physical altercations in favor of covert tactics that are designed to humiliate the victim. For example, an undercover bully who is jealous might start a nasty rumor about someone, pretending all the while to be on his side.
Pranks also fall under this category. This type is also seen very often in siblings. Therefore, parents should be take great caution when it occurs in the home. The situation could get really ugly quickly resulting in some level of a family feud.
4. Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying is the preferred method for today’s generation. Harassing or threatening someone over the Internet, is much easier and less time consuming. Plus, usually there is not a witness. The abuse can be covert or straight forward depending on the child and the reason behind the harassment. Examples include harassment on social-media profiles under fake usernames, creating defamatory websites or purposefully blocking the victim from taking part in online conversations. The only positive about tormenting online is that it often leaves an evidence trail.
Could your seemingly well-behaved child be bullying others without your knowing? Pay close attention to how your child interacts with his peers when he thinks no one is watching. Get to know his friends a little more personally. If he has a trend of bringing home timid or naive friends, it is quite possible that they are his unaware victims. Desperation to be with the “in” crowd can sometimes allow other children to be easily manipulated and are easy targets for their overly assertive peers.