Dubai: According to research conducted, a lot of children are bullied in school.
Unfortunately, those bullied aren’t always ready to talk about their experiences.
A major reason why children aren’t forthcoming is because there are afraid of the consequences and expect to get bullied further.
According to teacher and former head of wellness at Gems Modern Academy, Sreekala Sureshkumar, many children have opened up to her about bullying. She said that children are more likely to raise such issues if they “feel that the adult is trustworthy and can help them or listen to them.”
Sureshkumar said that whether a child comes up to you, or if a teacher notices an incident and steps in, it is important to make them feel “comfortable.” She said: “Usually, children who are bullied need to know that someone is there for them. Being a patient listener is important.”
Furthermore, the child needs to see a “result of sharing” his or her issue, which entails speaking to the bully as well.
A school environment is set as such that it can foster different types of bullies. Some bullies are looking to gain power over others and some are reflecting on what they have been exposed to themselves.
“People who might be more likely to become bullies are people who feel they are above the law or don’t like to follow rules, people who are especially aggressive or express a lot of anger and have difficulty regulating emotions, followers of a group, for whom belonging is more important than what is ‘right’, and people who are intolerant to differences, to name a few, as well as manipulative people who will get what they want at all costs,” said Clinical counsellor Christina Burmeister.
One example of bullies who tend to want to “control” others are the “popular bullies” or “group bullies with a leader and followers” commonly seen at schools, she said.
There are some signs educators and parents can look out for when dealing with children to identify a possible bully. Burmeister said, “I find the strongest predictor to be if a child can intentionally hurt animals, as this is a sign of extremely low levels of empathy, which can be a strong predictor of bullying.”