So often when we hear the term “bullying” we immediately think of the person who is the target of harmful behaviours and we conjure up an image of a group of young people circling around a single student and taunting or pushing the individual who is the focus of their attack. Alternatively, we may associate bullying as harmless banter between kids (or adults) who are only seeking to get a rise out of their intended victim. In both these examples, the scenarios described are examples of bullying but they are not limited to the school playground or the office lunch room nor are they “innocent” or “harmless acts”. Rather, bullying is happening across our country at staggering rates and it finds itself in daycare centres, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, organizations, corporate boardrooms, and in different levels of government. In all cases, the consequences are serious. According to one source, bullying is defined as repetitive, aggressive behaviours where an imbalance of power is exercised either through verbal bullying, social bullying, physical bullying or a combination of all three forms. Further, the effects of bullying can be long lasting and the consequences are far reaching for the victim, the offender(s) and the witnesses to this behaviour. Those who bully, those who suffer at the hands of the bully, and those who observe bullying behaviours all risk potential physical, social, and mental health problems.
Although the focus of this article is specific to bullying in young people, the efforts to eliminate or at the very least, curtail the incidence of bullying requires a societal response and it must start with adult intervention. At the core, bullying is about disrespect and those who bully use power and control in their relationships. How adults respond to bullying will either be from a position of action or from a position of indifference and what is modeled will ultimately determine whether the abusive behaviour continues or is extinguished.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy has written a short article that deals with the topic of bullying and it outlines what adults can do, when to seek outside assistance, and the signs to look for in a child who is being bullied. Also included is a link to PREVNet, Canada’s leading authority on research and resources for bullying prevention. Further, you will find a link to a U.S. government website that deals with the topic of bullying. Follow the links below to read about bullying and to access additional resources directly related to the topic of bullying. Also included are two short videos from Health Choices First that deal with the topics of school bullying and teenage bullying. Each video is less than two minutes and is well worth the watch.
I am here to help if you have a child who is being bullied or is the perpetrator of bullying behaviour. Call me at 250-212-6001 for a confidential appointment. You may also fill in the confidential contact form found on this website and I can work with you and/or your child/teenager or young adult to develop strategies to help end bullying.