So your child comes home from school complaining that they’ve been bullied! You’re horrified! I can feel your pain now – the colour drains from your face as you see the anguish in their eyes and the sadness in the face as well as the fear that has washed over them at the same time. You immediately want to jump to their rescue, to protect them, to manage the situation and deal with this quickly and effectively the best way you can. Bullying is a no no and there’s no way on earth your child is going to left to face this alone!
And what’s more you are not alone as thousands of parents feel the same way about this very matter every single day when their children look up at them with this very issue! But what if the bully is not the normal stereotypical bully that we have all read of in the media, seen on the TV, heard our friends talk about; the sort of bully that fits into the box that we have labelled in our minds eye saying “how I would deal with a bully” sort of a box. Bullies come in many different formats and children need to be aware that anyone who persistently or, deliberately attempts to hurt or humiliate someone on a repeated basis creating an imbalance of power is using bullying tactics and this is wrong. Bullying can also come in many different forms and they need to be aware of this:
- · Physical
- · Verbal
- · Racial
- · Faith Based
- · Sexist
- · Sexual
- · Homophobic
- · SEN/Disability Bullying
- · Gifted/Talented Bullying
- · Cyber Bullying
This list is not exhaustive!
At this point, however, it is worth saying that the first point of call is to listen to your child’s concerns and then discuss it with the relevant authority that can help. If the bullying has happened at school, your school (in the UK) will have an anti-bullying policy. You can ask to see this, and from there you will know exactly what you can expect from your school in terms of sorting out this behaviour. Remember, though, schools, have a duty of care to your child, but hard as this is to swallow, they also have a duty of care to every other child in the building and whilst you may want immediate punishment and see the light very clearly, you may well need to give the school a little time to carry out their own investigations to find out what they can and to deal with it in line with their policy. If the bullying doesn’t settle after that, or they dispute what you are saying, or what your child has told you, try to climb out of the picture (hard as that is) and see where the school are coming from. I only say that so that you can assess what they are saying if you were in their shoes so that you can decide what is going to be your next move. Additionally, stepping out of the picture and taking the altitude view of the situation can sometimes throw a new light on the matter which may give you a new angle of enquiry which will ultimately get a faster answer for your child. Hopefully, you can resolve the matter directly with the first port of call with your school – if you don’t like the way the matter has been handled, and you’ve assessed the matter again, go through their appeal process. Again the school will have another policy for this and it will be a matter of requesting this, reading it through and following it carefully.
The key is for the bully to learn that their behaviour leads to consequences and without consequences behaviour cannot be challenged, adapted and improved. This, however, is all focussed on dealing with the bully’s behaviour. It will not help with your child per se for whilst it may it may stop that episode of bullying there may have been fall out for your child and also there is the issue of helping your child build the muscle if they come across another bully in the future. If your child has been severely affected then, again the school may be able to offer advice, or alternatively you can obtain professional help through your GP. However, in addition to the above helping children (moreso teenagers and older)to understand their bullies, whilst not condoning the bully’s behaviour, may provide rhyme and reason (ie. explanation) and thus empower the child that is being persecuted to develop intrinsic muscle to believe that they can overcome the suffocating suppression that the bully leaves in their wake.
As a side note, it may, however, be that it isn’t your child that is being bullied, but it may be that you are! Possibly by an ex partner, a work colleague or someone you have come across and to this end the following rationale may proof helpful in providing a platform of understanding. Particularly in situations of divorce, where emotions are rife and each party subscribes to a different version of events, this can be a most unpleasant situation to be in.
From our observations it appears that those that bully and dictate like to control which appears to be born out many things. Sometimes this comes from of a deep insecurity and buried fear that stifles any ability to open oneself up to the freedom of self. This freedom of self is an internal pathway within us that allows us to challenge and question ourselves and press for true answers, encouraging us to be responsible, answerable and autonomous. Such responsibility, answerability and autonomy serves a purpose but some regard this as it as a threat towards them because it reminds them of their own flawed internal referencing and insecure value systems. These people have little substance with limited personal and weak foundations and so often resort to the means of dictatorship and control. They perceive (maybe unconsciously) that without their harsh outer dictate they are nothing and have nothing that is of anything real and meaningful. To take away the outer layer they are then without the values and standards that they envy in others. Bullying and dictatorship is a mask of a fragile state that has no meaning.
To walk in freedom, however, is to know ones inner self, to accept the person and self that you really are and to be confident with the person that lies within, that is the essential being. To be happy with the spirit of the person, the part of the person that cannot be seen, yet still controls the outer person, is the fundamental path to true happiness that a dictator has no control over. Only a truly secure and real person that is developed and nurtured will be able to understand and sit safely and happily in this vector. A bully or a dictator, however, will be able to discern and will envy a person such as this and will attempt to destabilise this person from a stance of envy and fear.
However, by recognising the strength of internal freedom the victory belongs to those that subscribe to the camp of responsibility, answerability and autonomy as the freedom that they have internally will loosens any chains that a potential autocrat will try to bind it’s victim with and the spoils of victory will not reside on the side of blame of the bully or the dictatorship but in the democracy of the alignment of truth and responsibility.
To know yourself, therefore is to have purpose, fulfilment and freedom and therefore to empower yourself when you come across those who choose to bully under whatever guise. There is only one answer in face of bullying and that is NO!