BULLYING is a phenomenon of deliberate verbal, physical or psychological maltreatment that a person receives from another. There are several factors that can contribute to the creation of a bully since childhood: aggressive behaviour in adults, violent TV, problems with processing emotions like frustration. In fact, some researches have revealed that aggressive children often respond aggressively because they feel frustrated they are not as skilled as the victim. Also, they feel unsure about the intentions of others, so when someone does something or looks at them a certain way, they tend to respond aggressively as a way of protection.

Furthermore, sometimes when a person gains power bestowed by a leader (an adult, a job position…), the person can get sick of power and bully others. So, the bully leads via intimidation to fulfil their lack of skills, self-confidence or esteem. For example, in an office the bully is going to remove power from the colleague they are targeting and retain that control for themselves, to feel powerful and reassured.

How to end bullying?

According to Aryanne Oade, chartered psychologist, “it’s what the target says and does at the moment of being bullied that interrupts or maintains the bullying dynamic, and that is where their true power lies”. The best way to end with this dynamic is to get the bully out of balance, so the power between you and the bully alters in your favour.

This can be done by identifying the choices you have, behaviourally, verbally and intellectually at the moment of the attack.

The psychologists give us an example (published in Psychologies Magazine UK), if a bully told you that your report is rubbish, you should challenge the bully to write down his or her criticisms and then discuss it (you and the bully) with your manager.

This way you will show that “you are not affected by the bully’s statement, and instead hold the bully responsible for what they said, the dynamic is changed completely and the bully gets the message the tactic of undermining doesn’t work”.

How do you avoid children becoming a bully?

To avoid creating bullying monsters we should teach our children to respect people who are different and to care about their self-esteem.

This can be done by showing them that everyone has their one skill and abilities, and that even if something is hard to get, or to learn, they have all the capacities and support to achieve it. Also, traveling and meeting different people is a way to show children that we may not agree with the way of looking or thinking of others, but we can respect them. This is very important that the example of the adults must be consistent with what they are saying and doing.

According to Jenny Hulme, author of How To Create Kind Schools, “we might know kindness and empathy is important, but if we’re suddenly learning not to expect it, or that it isn’t valued or is seen as a sign of weakness, it can cause us to hesitate before we act”.

Avoid the negative and violent actions

In order to achieve this, a proper development of the Emotional intelligence is necessary. It will provide a control over the emotions of one and the other, in order to avoid the negative and violent actions. Moreover, it will contribute to developing frustration tolerance and, consequently, persistence. This is important to overcome setbacks and disappointments of life. Also, it gives tools to respond more effectively to the emotional aggression of harassment.