Children facing bullying in schools

Bullying is a social problem that affects educational development in schools worldwide. It has negative consequences for the school climate and for students who want to learn in a safe environment without fear, disappointment and depression. This phenomenon can be analyzed from two points of view: from the person who bullies and from the victims.

Bullying is defined as teasing, hitting, stealing, taunting or threatening behavior initiated by one or by a group of students against a victim. These actions have a direct influence on victims, such as injuries or accidents, but also an indirect one, affecting their social and psychological development. Boys usually engage more in direct bullying methods, while girls who bully spread rumors and enforce social isolation. No matter the type of bullying or the methods involved, you all need to know that on long-term it leads to pattern abuse, harassment, impossibility to express feelings, self-confidence or problems with trusting people.

Characteristics of Bullies and Victims

On a psychological level, students who engage in these types of actions against other people are usually those who want to feel in control or to have the power. They feel satisfaction in making other people suffer by hurting them on a direct or indirect manner. Bullies often defend their actions by stating that they were provoked on some level and that they used their attacks to defend them from other people. Studies regarding this topic reveal the fact that, students who bully come from homes or families with physical punishments, where they are taught to fight back violently as a way to handle or solve problems. The family environment from where these kids come from lacks of calm, warmth, understanding or support. Another characteristic is that students with bullying behaviors have an oppositional stand against adults; they are often antisocial, looking for friends with the same behavior. Also, they are most likely to oppose to higher authorities and are apt to break school rules.

On the other hand, victims of bullies are students who face insecurity, anxiety, caution, suffer from low self-esteem or self-trust. They rarely defend themselves against their bully or narrate to teachers or family about the problems they face at school. Victims of bullying lack of friends or social abilities, being socially isolated and having difficulties in expressing their feelings. The major physical characteristic of students who are bullied is that they are weaker than their peers: weight, dressing manner, wearing eyeglasses or other elements that make them feel inferior to their colleagues.

Solutions for this problem

- Initial questionnaires distributed to adults and students. This helps them to become aware of the problem or the extent of the problem;

- Parental awareness campaigns during parent-teacher conference days. The objective is to increase parental awareness of the problem;

- Programs where teachers and students collaborate, discover problems and develop class rules against bullying;

- Implementing cooperative activities that involve students, for improving their social skills and avoiding isolation.

Parents need to be aware of this problem because it can dramatically affect the ability of a child in progressing socially and academically. Intervention plans that involve parents and school staff are required, so that all students learn and develop in a safe and fear-free environment.

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Zana Tonegaru

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