Bullying is a complex issue, however where bullying is occurring (beyond normal childhood ‘nastiness’) we need to recognise both the bully and the victim have some problems with their emotional and social competence. Prolonged bullying can be fatal and professional help is encouraged as soon as possible and removal from a toxic environment is often recommended. However, without serious help the issue will come up again in a child’s life – both for victims and bullies. I firmly believe that bullying is a sign of low self-esteem, poor social and emotional skills, and human disconnectedness.
Bullying is when someone (or a group of people) with more power than you, repeatedly and intentionally uses negative words and/or actions against you, which causes you distress and risks your wellbeing.
National Council Against Bullying (Aust)
In my book Real Kids in an Unreal World, I write:
“Bullying has become such a hot topic in schools that it too may have contaminated some of today’s key life skill development for children. As children are still developing skills to be assertive, they will make mistakes at times. An over-focus on bullying instead of developing friendship skills encourages adults to feel under pressure to take every misdemeanour seriously and to step in and work out conflicts—we may be interrupting a normal part of social and emotional development. We need to be careful not to dilute the value of everyday unpleasantness, and of children learning for themselves how to deal with it. At the same time, we must protect and act when real bullying occurs. At other times we need to learn to step back and let kids be kids when other social challenges occur. Vital emotional learning may be taking place.”
Below are some articles, videos, audios and books in which I talk about bullying. As well as checking out these resources, I regularly encourage people to check out the work of the folks at www.bestprograms4kids.com.au who have some fantastic resources on teaching kids social and emotional skills. Also if your child / teen is experiencing cyberbullying, please check out the work of Rachel Downie and the team at stymie.com.au and also the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner has loads of great resources for parents, plus practical mechanisms for reporting abuse: esafety.gov.au/