Bullying is generally defined as an intentional act that causes harm to others, and may involve verbal harassment, verbal or nonverbal threats, physical assault, stalking, or other methods of coercion such as manipulation, blackmail, or extortion. It is aggressive behavior that intends to hurt, threaten or frighten another person.
The aggressor often has real or perceived power over the victim. Bullying occurs in a variety of contexts, such as schools, workplaces, political or military settings, and others. It is often associated most with school-age children, but can happen among people of any age.
When you, your child, or someone close to you is being bullied, there are many ways to help resolve the situation. Make sure you understand what bullying is and what it is not, the warning signs of bullying, and steps to take for preventing and responding to bullying, including how to talk to children about bullying, prevention in schools and communities, and how to support the children involved.
How can I tell what is bullying and what is normal interpersonal conflict?
In order to stop real bullying, it’s important to make sure other behaviors aren’t incorrectly labeled. According to the National Education Association, a bully:
- Picks on their target regularly, even daily (repetition)
- Wins because their victim is smaller, younger, or less able to cope socially (a power imbalance)
- Enjoys seeing their target afraid and upset (intent to harm)
When You Should Call
If you or someone you know is being bullied and/or exhibiting any of the following warning signs, the Arkansas Crisis Center is here for you to provide emotional support and resources in your area. If someone is in immediate danger or you are unable to connect, please dial 9-1-1.
Warning signs of suicide:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches/feeling sick or faking illness
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem