Teasing is a normal part of human interaction; it can bring some comic relief and even strengthen a relationship when practiced among friends. However, it can also become bullying at one point, which is a negative and hurtful communication method.
Bullying is quite a wide-spread problem among children and teenagers; overall almost 30% of kids are involved in the bullying practices. There might be different bullying topics and reasons, but the intention is always the same – to hurt someone. That’s why it is crucial to know the difference between bullying and teasing to act accordingly and protect your child.
Cases when teasing becomes bullying
Teasing, in general, is a friendly interaction. It means to be funny and is made in a joking way with a smile. Another important factor is that the teased person doesn’t feel hurt by it. Bullying is quite the opposite and here are some criteria to change from:
- Bullying has a repetitive nature; it happens more than once.
- The content is hostile, even if it is sad with a smile.
- The person bullying has a more powerful position than the victim. Whether this person is more respected or has more physical strengths, there is always a power imbalance in the bullying practice.
- It has clear hurtful intentions; the meaning is to upset someone and hurt their feelings.
- The person who is bullied feels upset.
So if someone makes an upsetting comment, but means no harm and executes no more power than the other one, it is rather unsuccessful teasing. But if there is a clear bad intent, it is a case to consider preventive measures for.
Types of Bullying
First of all, it is important to understand that it can happen to anyone and at any place. Whether it is a classroom, playground or extra curriculum activities, there might be some cases of such interaction. Sometimes it is hard to trace because children don’t always tell about it right away, but there are different sights that your kid might be in danger.
There are three common types of bullying practices:
- It is one of the most common ones, meaning calling names, spreading rumors, threatening, lying, blaming for something. It includes any type of repeated verbal communication that causes sadness, anxiety, stress and generally hurts someone.
- It involves punching, beating up, pulling hair, throwing one’s things. It can also take a form of ignoring someone in purpose. Some bullies don’t other people let to talk to their victim or become their friends.
- This can take various forms, one of the most vicious is using modern technology, such as posting harmful information, stealing one’s identity, posting someone’s pictures without consent, online bullying.
Usually, a victim experienced several different practices at the same time.
The Signs a Child is Being Bullied
To take measures, it’s important to distinguish whether a child is experiencing such behaviors from peers. Children don’t like to talk about such things or might feel shy or intimidated. It’s important to provide them with a safe place and environment to ask about it. One might also use a play or some toys to figure out the relationship between a child and their peers. Here are common signs that might be caused by bullying:
- The drop in grades is a strong witness. If there is no visible cause of stress to children and they suddenly experience difficulties with getting good grades, it might be evidence that they have something else on their min. After all, it is hard to concentrate when you are constantly threatened and abused.
- A child cries frequently and without obvious reason. Another sign is when children become more passive and generally sadder than they used to be. Such mood swings and lack of motivation/energy can be caused by complicated communication with classmates.
- If a child doesn’t want to go to school anymore and there were no such things before that.
- Signs of physical abuse. Maybe there are some bruises, scratches that aren’t explained or hidden by a child.
- Constant head or stomach aches when there is no medical reason for it, it can be psychosomatic evidence.
If you see some sudden changes in your child’ behavior, mood, and the way of communication, it can be a warning sign. It is always important to talk to children and ask them about their experience.
What Can You Do If Your Child is Being Bullied
If your child experiences such abuse, it is important to take several measures. First of all, try not to lose temper, especially when talking to other child’s parents. If you want to communicate with them, use a patient tone and try to figure out a common way to solute this problem. After all, bullying negatively affects both parts of the conflict.
Talk to your child; make sure that they feel safe sharing with you. Teach them how to react and answer such behavior. You may also model situations with them to train a suitable response.
Consult with the teacher, makes sure they know about the situation and can control what is going on in the classroom or playground. It is important to work together with school professionals to make sure your child is safe. Always follow-up such communications with the teacher to make sure that they are working with you together.
If you see that your child is in stress, depression and has gone through vicious cases of abuse, consider psychological counseling.