In schools, children often suffer physical or psychological terror from the other kids. This phenomenon occurs for both girls and boys. Victims are mostly primary school children. Such interdependence between adolescents is referred to as ‘bullying’ by scientists. “Bullying”, means a physical or psychological terror on a child by his/her classmates or a group of other children. Those who “bully”, aim to intimidate and subdue their victims.

Adults often find it difficult to identify the “bullying”. They assume the child’s real aggression is a game, this aggression is considered to be a natural part of a child’s development, and mildly call the aggressive children “bullies”. They tend to forget that this attitude may cause irreparable physical or mental harm to the victim. Specialists believe that after violence youngsters cannot be quickly cured, he/she might suffer constant fear, and anxiety, feel humiliated or depressed, his/her self-esteem can worsen.

Besides the physical and psychological terror, the victims often miss the lessons, are late for the lessons, his/her academic standing worsens.

Such children avoid participation in school public events, losing friends among their classmates.

More than that – mental trauma may be received by a child, which has not experienced violence directly, but has witnessed terror.

Such a child is afraid of not becoming a victim of the aggressor in the future.

Scientists believe that children initiators of “bullying” continue to demonstrate aggression in their adulthood, and often choose a criminal way of life.

What is “bullying”
What is “bullying”

Any child can be a victim of “bullying”, as well as its initiator. Psychologists emphasize some typical features of the character and behavior style of the victim and the aggressor. A child victim tries to be unnoticed, small, and weak in comparison to his/her peers; in case of risk he/she immediately becomes frightened, cries looks miserable, and unhappy.

The majority of the time, even breaks, the child-victim spends in a classroom, avoiding the noisy gathering of his/her peers. A child victim may present with some medical complaints, such as restless sleep, headache or abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.

The child-aggressor constantly tries to look leader and strong. Frequently he/she is rude to the teachers, parents, and with his/her siblings. In relationships between individuals or in games, a child-aggressor recognizes only force, and brutality, and demonstrates them all the time. He/she gives priority to s forcible way of resolving any conflict. Sometimes these children are unsociable and less communicative but occasionally reveal unmotivated anger.

According to psychologists, a child expresses aggression towards his/her peer because he/she wants to get attention. He/she has an excessively good or a bad idea about himself/herself and he/she is not capable of friendship, not capable of feeling guilty, as well as the ability to understand another person’s feelings, or, simply, he/she is bored.

Advice of Psychologists

If you notice that, the child is a victim of “bullying”:

  1. Help him/her to elaborate on the confidence. Therefore, thoroughly encourage him/her in any extracurricular activity, for example, the passion for sports and music, participation in theatre circles, and other activities, which he/she likes. Self-confident children rarely become objects of aggression from their peers.
  2. Teach a child to demonstrate his/her self-confidence. For example, teach him/her that in conflict situations, he/she should not drop his/her eyes and look aside, but calmly and quietly look into the aggressor’s eyes and clearly say, for example, such words: “Stop it! I do not like what you are doing”; and then not pay attention to the aggressor’s derisive tone and walk away without saying a word, with dignity.
  3. Encourage a child to keep a friendly relationship with the other children. Children who prefer to stay alone more often become the victims of aggression. The simplest way to expand the scope of the child’s relationship is his/her involvement in various hobby groups or circles, also to invite the other children at home. Friendly relations increase the feeling of dignity and self-confidence.
  4. Advise and allow the child to participate in excursions, walking tours, etc. During such events, there is much less danger of aggression, because the children are under adults’ supervision.
  5. Teach the child body language. Watching into the eyes of the interlocutor, standing upright, with head up, hands down, and a decided voice – are very effective weapons against the child-aggressor. Demonstrate and teach your children these poses and ways.
  6. Discuss the problem of “bullying” with other parents. It is quite possible that other children can be the victims of the aggression as well. If you find out their names, discuss the problem along with their parents too.
  7. Share your concerns about child safety with the management of the school. Psychologists consider this action as an extreme, but very effective way. You may require the strengthening of control over the children over the entire territory of the school and the corridors during the break. Specialists claim that such measures reduce the likelihood of ‘bullying’ during a child’s stay at school.

Peaceful resolution of conflict
Peaceful resolution of conflict

If a child behaves aggressively toward his/her peers or younger children, the psychologists recommend taking it seriously and with a very big responsibility.

Such behavior should not be considered childish pranks, because, in the absence of timely correction, it could become a way of life.

It is possible to change the child’s aggressive behavior exactly in childhood.

  1. Explain to a child that you will not tolerate his/her aggressive behavior, regardless of whom it is directed. Set specific and strict limitations, which you will use in case of repeating “bullying”.
  2. Teach a child constructive methods to achieve a goal, based on various methods of solving the problem in a non-violent manner. Elaborate and use the same methods by the way of examples of your communication.
  3. Show an example of positive behavior. Observing you a child will learn a benevolent attitude and respect toward those around him/her. Create models of situations that are similar to those situations where the child’s aggression was exposed. Show a child the other ways of solving problems and achieving goals without mental (threats, insults), or physical violence towards the other people around him/her.
  4. Strengthen the control of the child. Try to be close to him/her when he/she is playing with other children. Encourage him/her to participate in sporting competitions, hobby circles, and other extracurricular activities. Such workload would contribute to spending a child’s excessive energy in a civilized and socially safe way, and significantly reduce his/her aggression.
  5. In complicated cases, advise the specialist psychologist. There are special methods that help the child to understand the reasons for aggressive behavior, and to learn the ways of management and regulation of these problems.

Peaceful Resolution of Conflict

You can discuss the issue as follows:

  • What happened? (Ask the kids to tell us how they perceived the case). Listen to every version – how and why the “bullying” started, and what role was played by the children who were not actively involved in ‘bullying’;
  • How the observation of “bullying” could influence the aggressor child;
  • What do the children feel while observing the fact of “bullying”, and what do they feel now;
  • According to them what a child who suffered the “bullying” feel;
  • In what way they could stop the “bullying”;
  • What they can do now so that the victim of “bullying” feel better;
  • How to behave in similar situations again. Show the children the way to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The case of “bullying” you can discuss in class. According to scientists, in this case, it is important not to take an “accusatory position” and to look for a guilty person, but to find out what happened, and what role each child played in that situation. Refrain from the question “why”.