Bullying comes in many forms and takes place among all groups and all ages. Although when we speak about bullying, we usually speak of the behaviour that takes place among children and adolescents, bullying is found among older adults as well. Bullying runs the gamut from playing tricks on others, teasing them, trying to intimidate and embarrass them to insulting, ridiculing and harassing them.
Bullying among children is often thought of as a little teasing, and sometimes parents and even teachers dismiss children’s complaints about bullying. The approach that is often taken by well-meaning adults is that children should learn to sort things out for themselves. Sometimes, if there are boys involved in teasing girls, adults would sometimes dismiss this with the attitude that “boys will be boys”. The general approach here is that children may be overly sensitive, and if parents and other adults stay out of the situations, children would eventually learn to work out their problems; and as they grow up, they would soon forget about the bullying.
But in more recent years, what has become apparent is that this teasing is so serious that some children and teenagers resort to desperate methods in dealing with bullying. While many young people are teased in person, others are teased online, thereby making cyberbullying an even more serious problem for teens and young adults.
But bullying is much more than teasing. In our everyday lives, we find bullying becoming a way of life. Even on the road, some teens and young adults, and even older adults, display bullying in their driving. This is often apparent in road rage situations, but it is seen in the everyday attitude of some people to get ahead of others on the road. What is senseless is that their attitudes and behaviours often put these drivers and others at risk of serious accidents and injuries. Some drivers try to intimidate other drivers by trying to pass them or overtake them with very little space to accommodate this. Some drivers, even as they approach a red light, may bypass another driver in a very dangerous manner, striving to get through the red light, and often just barely missing a serious accident.
Basically, bullying seems to be based on the idea of one person trying to force others to do what he or she wants. Bullying can sometimes be seen as a form of blackmail, where others are forced to take certain action or else face the wrath of the person who bullies.
But as is often said, the person who bullies is generally a coward, who may be bullied elsewhere, and who may be trying to compensate by bullying others. A person who bullies may also be trying to keep others from bullying him or her, and may join with others to bully someone else, thereby taking the attention from himself.
There can be no justification for bullying. People should be free to pursue their own goals. Forcing someone to do what that person does not want to do is a violation of that person’s rights. No one has the right to do this.
However, people who bully should be made to understand that they could change their bullying behaviour. There are no permanent bullies. They display bullying behaviour which they could stop doing, if they want to. If those who bully acknowledge that what they are doing is wrong and realize that their behaviour is having a terrible impact on those that they bully, then they may be able to make positive changes in their lives by stopping their undesirable action.
People who are bullied must also understand that most bullies engage in their bullying behaviour, because they crave the attention of others. Recognizing this, people who are bullied may learn to stand up to bullies, and may find out that bullies often do not want confrontation. They just want to intimidate. When bullies can no longer intimidate, many of them would walk or run away. One good practice that works is to not suffer in silence, but to speak to someone if you are being bullied. Report the matter and get relief.
There’s no room for bullying ANYWHERE. Whether it is among children and found in the school yard, classroom, or on the streets, among teenagers online with cyberbullying, in the workplace among employees, or among groups where people in authority bully those with little power, bullying is despicable and should not be condoned. In fact, it should be called out wherever it appears.