In the same survey that was done about how sad South African reading statistics are, they also mentioned that our Grade Four children are among the most bullied in the world.
There is often some confusion regarding conflict and bullying.
- When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s RUDE.
- When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s MEAN.
- When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it – even when you tell them to stop or show them that you are upset – that’s BULLYING.
Conflict is normally a disagreement or an argument. Bullying is normally a show of strength or influence to intimidate somebody else, or typically to force them to do something that they do not want to do.
Conflict turns into bullying when there is an imbalance of power. This can come from someone being bigger, older, stronger and more confident or having more friends. Their mean behaviour happens over and over again.
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes – some use their fists (physical) others use their voices (verbal) and in the last few years, cyberbullying has become a big thing too – using the internet, social media, text messaging, e-mail and other electronic mediums to say mean or embarrassing things.
No matter what shape the bullying takes, they all leave you feeling broken and humiliated.
Bullying does not only occur at school either – it often happens at home and in the neighbourhood.
Warning signs of somebody being bullied:
- Withdrawal from friends and activities.
- Physical complaints.
- Worried, angry, quiet or moody.
- Declining schoolwork.
One of the major forms of bullying in schools is EXCLUSION.
For various reasons, kids shun other kids. Often for stupid things like they don’t have cool enough clothes or hairstyles. We all know having a friend to sit with at break or lunchtime makes the world of difference.
That’s what the friendship bench is all about. If you don’t have anybody to sit with – you can sit on that specific bench at school and somebody is always there to chat with you and see that you are not alone. We have a roster and take turns to do bench duty – you get to meet all sorts of interesting people too.
More on how you can beat bullies next week.
Be kind people!