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6 Different Types of Bullying

What are the Different Types of Bullying

When I grew up in the 70s, bullying didn’t need to be defined. Usually, one or two kids hung around the school waiting for the nerdy kids to walk by, and they would jump out and tease them and maybe knock their books out of their hands. I wouldn’t say it was harmless, but it was not as prevalent as it is today. So what are the different types of bullying?

Bullying is any hurtful or mean behavior that occurs over and over again in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power between the two parties. There are many different types of bullying, such as verbal bullying, physical bullying, sexual bullying, cyberbullying, relational bullying, and prejudicial bullying. Let’s take a further look into the different types of bullying that occur in our society today.

Recognizing the Different Types of Bullying

Many forms of bullying occur in our world today, but they can generally be broken down into these six categories.

1) Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying is when a person uses cruel words, ongoing name-calling, and or threats to gain power and control of their target. Verbal bullies typically find something different about another person to pick on, belittle, demean and embarrass them on a regular basis. They also tend to target children with special needs.

Verbal bullying is hard to recognize because it is often done when adults aren’t around, and the victim may not be believed.

Another problem with resolving verbal bullying is that children aren’t always taken seriously and are often told just to ignore it.

2) Physical Bullying

This is the most common form of bullying. Physical bullying often involves hitting, kicking, pushing, punching, shoving, and other forms of physical aggression. Usually, the bully is bigger and stronger than their target, and they use their strength to gain power and control over their victim.

3) Relational Bullying

Relational bullying typically occurs between tweens and teens and is often seen more with girls than boys. This is a sneaky type of bullying where teens and tweens try to sabotage a peer through social manipulation. The goal is to destroy their peer’s social standing and advance their own standing in the process.

Relational bullies will often shun their victims and cause others to turn against them by spreading rumors, manipulating situations, and breaking confidences by sharing something personal with the rest of the student population that would cause others to ostracize the target.

These are the girls referred to as “the mean girls,” and the child on the receiving end of their viciousness is usually shunned, excluded, and intimidated.

4) Sexual Bullying

Sexual bullying is anything harmful or humiliating that targets a person’s sexuality. Some examples can include name-calling such as slut or whore, rude or vulgar comments about a person’s body, uninvited touching, sexual propositioning, and pornography. Though sexual bullying has been around for years, the use of cell phones for sexting has only amplified the problem.

A sexual bully will make crude comments about a person’s sexual development, attractiveness, or sexual activity. This can also lead to sexual assault.

Girls are most often the target of sexual bullying and can be bullied by both boys and other girls.

Sexting can also lead to sexual bullying. For example, a boyfriend may share a naked picture of his girlfriend with his friends. This can make her a target of unwanted propositions from other boys and body shaming by other girls.

5) Prejudicial Bullying

This type of bullying occurs when kids target other kids based on their different race, religion, or sexual orientation. Prejudicial bullying is extreme and has often led to hate crimes. For this reason, it is always wise to report prejudicial bullying.

6) Cyberbullying

Whenever a child uses the internet, a cell phone, social media, or any other digital technology to target another child and harass and embarrass them socially, it is considered cyberbullying. Some examples of cyberbullying are posting harmful or embarrassing photos, threatening and intimidating another child on social media, and spreading lies and false rumors through emails and texts.

Given the anonymity of the bully and the number of people they can reach, the repercussions of cyberbullying are huge. The target isn’t just getting bullied at school. They are being bullied around the clock, whether at home, at a friend’s house, or virtually anywhere they go. They are open to attack at any time. Bullies who hide behind a computer or phone can be even more relentless and viscous because anonymity empowers them.

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What Kind of Person Becomes a Bully?

There are several different kinds of bullies, each with a different profile.

  • Aggressive Bullies. These are the typical bullies people think of when they hear someone is a bully. They rule people with power and threats and often have a following.
  • Relational Bullies. These bullies often bully out of jealousy. They do things like spread rumors and gossip about their victim to ostracize them.
  • Serial Bullies. They tend to have a double personality. With teachers and authority figures, they come across as kind and concerned students. But behind the scenes, they are cunning and intentional. Serial bullies usually attack their targets where they are weak, damaging them emotionally with prolonged harassment.
  • Group Bullies. These bullies usually only attack when in a group. They will follow along with their leader and operate as a pack. But when they are alone, they generally do not cause harm. They get their power in numbers.
  • Indifferent Bullies. These types of bullies can be scary because they don’t seem to have any feelings or empathy for the harm they cause. In fact, they seem to get pleasure out of tormenting others. These types of bullies may need counseling or some type of intervention while they are still young.
  • Bully Victims. Bully victims have been bullied themselves. They feel the need to bully and put others down as a way to get even for the tormenting they endured themselves. Bullying someone else helps them regain a sense of power and control that they lost by being the victim of another’s bullying behavior.

Why do Children Bully Other Kids?

Why Do Children Bully Other Kids?

There could be several reasons why a child bullies another. It could be that the bully feels left out and just wants to fit in but is unable to do this in a socially acceptable way. Or they could struggle with impulse control and internal rage.

Other reasons a child may resort to bullying are:

  • To gain a sense of power. Sometimes kids will feel like they don’t have any control over their own life, and they prefer to interact with others solely on their own terms.
  • They want to be popular, or if they already are popular, they want to maintain their status. Sometimes kids will bully someone by spreading rumors and gossip as a way to gain popularity by putting others down. Or they feel the need to constantly point out the flaws of others in order to make themselves appear better than everyone else.
  • As a way to pay someone back. If a person has been bullied in the past, they may want to retaliate for all the times they have felt victimized.
  • They may be experiencing abuse at home. Sometimes if kids are being abused at home or witnessing abuse, they learn that this is how to control others.
  • To gain excitement. If they are bored, they may resort to teasing and tormenting someone else as a way to entertain themselves.
  • Peer pressure. Some kids who would never bully by themselves can feel pressured to join in with the crowd. They also may think if they don’t join in, they can become the bully’s next target.

What Should You Do if Your Child is Being Bullied?

The best thing to do is give your child a chance to talk about it and listen. Don’t explode or immediately march down to the school to try to handle things on your own. That is likely to cause your child to clam up and not say anything more.

Also, it’s best not to assume your child did something to cause the bullying. Sometimes parents will ask their children what they did to cause the teasing. That is irrelevant at that particular moment. What’s important is that your child feels safe and heard.

After your child has finished explaining everything, try asking them what they think should be done. Letting them brainstorm ways to get help can be empowering. You, as the parent, can help guide their ideas until both of you settle on something you feel is appropriate.

If things are serious and you need to speak with someone, start with the teacher. But don’t just call and talk to them on the phone. Schedule an appointment. That way, they will see that it is serious, and you need their full attention.

Also, try to remember that it is very likely the teacher knows nothing about this, so it’s best not to go into the meeting accusing the teacher of something. Most bullies know how to torment their victims in private.

When you talk to the teacher, be sure to let them know how this affects your child. That way, they can spot the signs that it may be continuing. Your child’s teacher may not know the impact the bullying has on your child because they don’t know your child as you do.

If things still aren’t resolved, you may need to take it to the principal. Using the same approach as you did with the teacher will help the principal feel like you are all on the same team trying to resolve the problem and not attacking him or the school.

Written by Alexandra Christensen

Alexandra Christensen is a freelance writer and editor. When she is not working on an assignment, she can be found hanging around with other writers on where she writes mostly about raising foster and adopted kids and those with invisible disabilities.

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