Dealing with Bullying

Dealing with Bullying – Understand Bullying
When dealing with bullying in your school, office, or social circles, it is important to understand the magnitude of it. Bullying is defined as “a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.”1

Many experts categorize bullying into 4 basic types—

  • Verbal – this includes name-calling, racial slurs, and insults.
  • Physical – this is exhibited by hitting, kicking, or causing bodily injury.
  • Social – this bullying includes spreading gossip and rumors. It can also include isolation.
  • Electronic – this is sometimes called cyber bullying and is often sent through text messages or social media.
In each instance, the goal of the perpetrator is to hurt a person in order to gain power over them. Sometimes the bullying is one-on-one. Other times, the bully recruits friends to join him or her in bullying by starting group fights or sending messages through social media.

Dealing with Bullying – What can we do?
If you are personally dealing with a bully or trying to help a child who is a victim, consider the following points.

  • Talk about it. Talk to your children/grandchildren about bullying. Keep the lines of communication open. Children look to parents and grandparents for advice and help on tough decisions so reassure them that they can talk to their parents or other relatives if they have a problem. Talking about bullying directly and encourage kids to answer your question honestly. Assure them that they are not alone.

  • Help the person being bullied gain confidence. Encourage them to enjoy hobbies, sports, and special activities. If you are being bullied, work on your own personal confidence.

  • Get help. Direct children to speak to a trusted adult or relative if they are bullied or if they see someone else being bullied. It takes a lot more courage and strength to stand up for what is right than to run and hide. Get help from the school, the workplace, or your church.

  • Encourage children to be kind and compassionate to others, especially those who are being bullied. Model these character qualities in your own life.

  • Ignore the bully. When a child is bullied, encourage them to ignore the bully and walk away. Often, the bully will thrive on getting a reaction, so if the child can control anger and walk away confidently, it can throw the bully off-guard. This often works with adult bullies as well.

  • Find good friends. Surround yourself with true friends and those who love you.

  • Role play. This is especially helpful with children. Talk through the situation, discuss the options, and practice at home.

Dealing with Bullying – Do unto others…
There is a saying that many of us learned as a child. It is called the golden rule: “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Did you know this saying comes from the Bible (Matthew 7:12)? In this verse, Jesus was summing up the entire Old Testament. For example, Leviticus 19:18 says, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Jesus knew that people like to be respected, loved, and appreciated. So, He gave this command as the second greatest command, followed only by the command to love God Himself (Matthew 22:39).

Jesus also said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

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Dealing with Bullying - Watch this short video clip