In front of everyone, Tom warned, “If you come to school tomorrow, I am going to beat you to death.”―James

After being beaten within an inch of his life, James said to a reporter from his hospital room, “I was so afraid to go back after the threat. I literally threw up my breakfast that morning. My mother asked if I was sick and wanted to stay home. My stomach hurt, the stress was ringing in my ears, but I mumbled, ‘no, I will go.’”

Scenes similar to this, others far worse, and many less severe plays out around the world every day. Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year. Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying. 17% of American student’s report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month or more within a school semester.[1] 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying by their cell phone, or on the Internet. 52 percent of young people report being cyberbullied.[2]

What is Bullying?

Bullying includes more than physical assaults. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involve a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity, to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.[3]

Physical Bullies: Stealing, shoving, hitting, fighting, and destroying property all are types of physical bullying. Physical bullying is rarely the first form of bullying that a target will experience. Often bullying will begin in a different form and progress to physical violence.[4]

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures
  • Destroying property

Verbal Bullies: This is a means of using words in a negative way such as insults, teasing, put-downs, etc., to gain power over someone else’s life. Many people’s lives have been destroyed by verbal abuse at home, in schools and business settings. … Learn about the effects of verbal bullying.[5]

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Relationship Bullies: This refers to behavior that is perpetrated by one person to maintain power over the other, usually rising to abusive levels. Bullying can take place in romantic relationships, between siblings, parents and children, friends and co-workers. It often escalates over time as well.[6]

  • They spread nasty rumors about their target
  • They seek to shame, embarrass and destroy

Reactive Victims: After being bullied, some go from the victim to bullying themselves. This does not justify their bullying it only explains it.

Cyberbullying: This is bullying that takes place using electronic technology, which includes mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

  • Sending a mean or cruel email or IM to someone repeatedly
  • Repeatedly posting mean or cruel things on someone’s website
  • Using words to assault someone in an online discussion group
  • Regularly doing mean or cruel things to a person in the online world
  • Repeatedly spreading rumors or gossip about someone online
  • Taking a person’s photo without consent and then sending it out to peers with mean or cruel intent
  • Taking a person’s photo with their permission but then sending it out to peers without the person’s permission to fellow peers, in an attempt to be mean or cruel

Social Isolation: This involves spreading rumors about another person, purposely leaving someone out of an activity or group or embarrassing a person in public. Another form of bullying that falls into this category involves encouraging others to avoid a certain person or group.

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Bullying Is a Worldwide Problem

Bullying among school-age children occurs worldwide. The OECD average for boys reporting bullying was 11% (Ireland, the US, Finland, and Germany were at this average). One in five Austrian boys said they were bullied (21%), the highest rate, versus only 4% in Sweden. Girls in almost all the countries surveyed reported significantly lower rates of bullying than boys.[7]

Why Bullies Bully

They Were Bullied: Some just got tired of being the victim of their peers; they just joined the bullying to fit in, which seemed rational and the safest course to them at that time.

THE OUTSIDERThey Had Poor Examples: Many bullies learn it at home first as they watch an older sibling bully a younger one, or a parent verbally, physically, emotionally, and mentally abuse the family. Children from homes with little or no direction and guidance can produce bullies as well.

They Are Making Up for Insecurities: Those who bully tend to have a need to feel superior to others. They express this by bullying because truly, they are covering up deep hurt and their feelings of inadequacy.

They Are On a Power Trip: Females or mean girls, as they are often called, tend to be in this role as they thrive on power and control. Athletes and those who are bigger and stronger tend to bully those who are weaker to fill their need to be powerful. These ones never challenge any peer who could offer them a challenge; they seek out the weaker ones.

They Want to Be Popular: Some want to be a part of the popular ones in school, so they resort to bullying, to impress. By making fun of the less popular peers, they build their popularity.

Pleasure Seekers: This group is usually those peers who have never had to work for anything in life. They have parents with much money, big house, nice cars, and life are boring to them unless they are causing havoc for the less privileged. They resort to bullying to add some excitement and drama to their otherwise dull lives.

Social Differences: Many times, teens will bully their peers for being different in some way. It can be

  • Your height
  • Your race,
  • Your religion,
  • Your size,
  • Where you are from,
  • How you talk,
  • Who your family is,
  • Your friends,
  • Your beliefs

They are bullying anyone that is viewed as being different.

Beating the Bully at Their Bullying

thirteen-reasons-to-keep-living_021Know that bullying is temporary. Generally, it will not last past high school. If it is at all possible, ignore the bully, as attention is what draws the bully to you. If he or she is not getting the needed reaction out of you, the bully will move on to another. At times, threats are just tough talk. Being that you go to school with these bullies, you will know who is a talker and who is a fighter. For the talker, just ignore him or her. For the fighter, stand up for yourself. Bullies are looking for complete victimhood. They are only looking for ones that they know will not stand up to them. I will offer more on this in a moment. Also, do not start bullying other just to sidestep being bullied yourself. Do not let the bully see that his or her bullying rattles you. Just as a shark can sense blood in the water, the bully senses fear. There are times when it escalates to a point; you need to tell an adult. Moreover, worry about more than yourself, if you know others are being tormented, tell an adult in confidentiality.

  • Do not react to the bully, he or she will lose interest.
  • Do not seek revenge; it will only escalate things, it will not solve it.
  • Do not go where you know bullies hang out. Yes, it is a bit unfair that you have to adjust your travels because of another, but that will be true as an adult as well. Do you think adults walk through what is known as gangland territories in some cities?
  • Do not escalate things with antagonist comments.
  • Do not let the bully just keep bullying even if you are not the victim. Anonymously report the person. Use your phone to record things and then send them by email to the school authorities. Do not just walk up and record them. For example, you are eating in the cafeteria, and someone is bullying another slowly lift your phone and hit record without being noticed. Just tip the phone in that direction, so you are not actually holding it.

Self Defense is the Best Offense

You do all of the above to the best of your ability, but enough is enough if it is beyond small things. This is not one of those books, which will give you all passive answers. Even if you are eight years old or younger, eat well and exercise. Bullies do not pick on anyone that looks physically fit. Also, train to be able to defend yourself. This is not the world of Leave it to Beaver.[8] We left that world behind fifty years ago. I believe that every child should be taught unarmed self-defense.

Waging War - Heather FreemanCorrection officers that work in prisons are locked in with 2 officers and 250 hardcore inmates five days a week, eight hours a day. Some of these inmates are solid muscle with killer attitudes. Therefore, the correctional training academy teaches the officers Japanese martial art of Aikido, which is a comprehensive system of throwing, joint-locking, striking and pinning techniques, coupled with training in traditional Japanese weapons such as the sword, staff, and knife. Sadly, this training is only for 6-8 weeks and is not taught at their institution that they are assigned after training. Therefore, they learn enough to think they can handle themselves and end up getting hurt.

This author thinks that every grade school should offer unarmed self-defense training. This world is becoming more and eviler every day and violence comes out of nowhere and is on you before you know it. Some will dislike the realist attitude of this author, but I would rather save some children that please a passive reader.

Parents Need to Protect Your Children

What can parents do? You can teach your child very early about how to deal with bullies. Do not think ‘it is just the other kids, not my kids.’ You can also feed your child healthy food and encourage them to exercise. Bullies seldom if ever pick on physically fit children. Even if you train your child to stand up and sit up straight, look people in the eyes, and speak with confidence, this will change how they are perceived in school. You need to help them understand the real world and not offer any false hopes, nor some dreamy idea of what you think the world should be. The world is a battlefield between good and bad right now and to be unprepared for the reality is really an unloving and uncaring disservice to your child. Train your child right, and when he or she grows up, they will deal with bullies and even protect others from bullies if need be. For parents that truly want to offer your child the advantage, sign your child up for unarmed self-defense classes very early. A child that takes wrestling in school for two years in grade school can win against most kids twice his size. Aikido, wrestling, and a little boxing will keep your child fit and if it is ever needed, alive.

[1] 11 Facts About Bullying (June 11, 2017) https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-bullying

[2] Cyber Bullying Statistics 2014 – No Bullying (June 11, 2017) https://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/

[3] Bullying Definition (June 11, 2017) https://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html

[4] Bullying Definitions – RESPECT (June 11, 2017) http://respect2all.org/bullying-definitions/

[5] How to Counter the Devastating Effects of Verbal Bullying – No Bullying (June 11, 2017) https://nobullying.com/how-to-counter-the-devastating-effects-of-verbal-bullying/

[6] What Is Relationship Bullying? | Synonym (June 01, 2017) http://classroom.synonym.com/relationship-bullying-15957.html

[7] Austria has the most bullying in the Western world, Sweden has the least (June 11, 2017) https://qz.com/365799/austria-has-the-most-bullying-in-the-western-world-sweden-has-the-least/

[8] This sitcom defines the “golly gee” wholesomeness of 1950s and `60s TV, where dad Ward Cleaver always gets home in time for dinner, mom June cleans the house wearing a dress and pearls, and kids Wally and the Beav always learn a lesson by the end of the episode.