We often confuse bullying with regular childhood teasing or taunting. Bullying is an act of aggression characterized by intentional, repetitive and power imbalance. It is the severity and duration of such behavior which marks the identification of bullying. It is high time that adults stop assuming that bullying is as normal as a part of childhood. Generally, in an Indian household, we believe in telling our boys to “toughen up” and not “express their emotions openly”. Instead, it is important to teach our kids to be assertive and express what they feel is right or wrong, fearlessly.
When we talk about bullying, it can be of various kinds such as physical bullying (direct violence, injury), social bullying (isolation, humiliating, spreading rumor), verbal bullying (ridiculing, abusing), cyber bullying. Bullying involves two aspects - the offender, who bullies; and the victim, who is being bullied.
Image source: www.kidshelpphone.ca
They are characterized as impulsive, academically incompetent with the environment at home. Conversely, one of the other kind, who are socially competent and are popular in the harsh peer group. These especially become the ones to look up to for power base in peer-group.
Bullies have a tendency to target individuals with low self-esteem. The more fearful the person feels, the more encouraged a bully gets. Bullying can happen anywhere, be it school, college, workplace, neighborhood, etc. Talking about India, effects of school bullying have been felt frequently, in the form of suicide deaths of young students. IMRB, a top Indian marketing research company conducted a survey showing that “every third child” is bullied in Indian schools. Typically, boys report more bullying than girls, but girls report more victimization (Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, 2010).
Image source: www.medicalnewstoday.com
Why do teens and young adults bully?
Image source: www.healthline.com
Repercussions of bullying behavior
Children, teens and young adults who have been bullied may experience:
A child, teen or young adult might also develop self-fulfilling prophecy, where they believe what they are told. Bullying in childhood may cause the victims to develop problems in their health, sleep, work and even social and emotional functioning. In young students, issues of trust may develop, resulting in difficulty establishing relationships or friendships. Young adults might stay alone by developing trust issues. They start isolating themselves to protect themselves from getting hurt or harmed again. Such isolation may lead to loneliness and increased the risk to suicide, in severe cases.
In conventional Indian society, extended family members, grandparents, and children used to live altogether in the same household, sharing responsibilities and imbibing roles. In today’s era of nuclear families, parents have a greater responsibility in taking care of their children and providing them with support, education and basic living. They hold more accountability to protect their kids.
Image source: sites.psu.edu
According to psychologists, there are common signs shown by teens and children which are overlooked by parents sometimes:
Image source: www.easywebcontent.com
Image source: quotesgram.com
A famous quote by Chris Colfer says, "When people hurt you over and over, think of them sand paper. They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless."
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669