If anything is unwanted, it is often desirable to nip it in the bud itself. Otherwise, things can get out of hand. The same principle applies to bullying as well. It is absolutely imperative to figure out how bullying progresses. What are the different steps involved in it? What is the root cause for this malicious act?
Bullying evolves after a series of events. It’s like a slow cancer. Bullying goes through five distinctive stages. It progresses from minor exasperation to constant annoyances. That’s why it is critical to impede bullying before it inflicts severe damage on the victims.
Waiting for the right time
Bullies normally pick out someone who is smaller and vulnerable than themselves. The victims often will be of a different culture or race and will be marginalized by other aspects. A bully usually will keep an eye on a possible victim over a period of time to assess their vulnerability and to know whether they will retaliate or not.
After watching closely their possible victims for a while, bullies starts interacting with them and then measure their response. The initial contact is usually inconsequential and may include a mere push in the hallway or a sarcastic or unpleasant remark about body color, shape, etc. At this initial stage, victim cannot predict whether the bully was just feeling nasty or if it was an indication that something nastier is to come.
At the onset of the third stage the victim will start to understand that the harassment is on purpose and is really disturbing. They may even seek help from their teacher or their parents but is provided with slick advice to stand up for themselves. The bully observes these all the while and if the path remains clear, as is often the case, he steps up a notch.
If the executor or the bully feels that the victim is acquiescent to the bullying they begin to take advantage and bullying gains momentum. They may even start harassing them in classrooms or even outside the school. At this particular stage the victim begins to sense insecure and show signs of behavioral changes. Parents and teachers tend to misinterpret this change which only contributes to make things worse.
By this time the victim will be in a state of immense distress and agony. The bully will be tormenting him no matter where he is. At the school, in their class room, playground and even on his way back home. The bully even starts harassing him or her sexually or even resort to cyber bullying. The bully starts sending out disparaging texts and e-mails.
Hence, it is very important for teachers, parents, guidance counselors and care givers to know the different stages of bullying. Look out for any warning signs in your child and if at all you see any, take time to discuss with him/ her in private. Bullying can only be stopped by adult intervention.
Academic instruction isn’t the only responsibility teachers have in today’s classrooms. More and more, teachers are being called on to teach students about values ... things like making good decisions, the showing of respect, taking responsibility, choosing friends, and having a positive attitude. It’s a responsibility that could be overwhelming, considering the limited hours available in a school day, the number of kids in the classroom, and the diversity of backgrounds and personalities each child represents.