Verb: bullying (present participle)
seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable).
“her 11- year-old son has been constantly bullied at school” · “a local man was bullied into helping them“
persecute · oppress · tyrannize · torment · browbeat · intimidate · cow · coerce · strong-arm · subjugate · domineer · push about · push around · play the heavy with · pressure · pressurize · bring pressure to bear on · use pressure on · put pressure on · constrain · lean on · press · push · force · compel · oblige · put under an obligation · hound · harass · nag · harry · badger · goad · prod · pester · brainwash · bludgeon · persuade · prevail on · work on · act on · influence · dragoon · twist someone’s arm · blackjack · bulldoze · railroad · put the screws/squeeze on · bounce · hustle · fast-talk
A lot of words to accompany the dictionary meaning of the word “Bully.” I’m sure as you take the time to read this blog, many of those words will be familiar. I believe a great many of us have either, been bullied at some point in our lives, or still are. Or perhaps some may well have been the bully! Sadly it is all to familiar in our lives now whether it be our children suffering at school, or online through various social media outlets, or even online gaming. Or to adults being bullied be senior management within companies, or suffering at the hands of their colleagues, the prevalence of bullying is all around us. In so many different formats its staggering, the reason I’ve decided to write this is, I’ve been bullied in the past as a child, plus also later on in life as a working man. Bullying can have devastating consequences one of which I’m going to share with you, such a tragedy. But also quite common and numbers are increasing year on year. Bullying is very hard to stop in children. Due to the many forms and reasons which can be peer pressure, wanting to fit in, size, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, parents status (financial and personal) fear of being beaten up etc.
In adults it can be all the above, but also fear of losing ones job ranks high when allowing corporate bullying. As does believing your not good enough, or the feeling of alienation from the your co-workers, financial pressure etc. again this list could take an entire blog on its own, before I jump into this and highlight the worst case scenario, its important to understand, the number and statistics, now I’m using United Kingdom based statistics, for readers in other countries, the statistic relevant to your area/country are all widely distributed on the internet, a little research and you will see your own alarming figures. so lets inject some statistics to strengthen my post.
What is bullying?
People often think of bullying as being physically violent towards another person, but bullying can take many forms – it can be physical, verbal, social or psychological. Bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour by a person or a group that is directed at another person or group, and is intended to cause harm, distress or fear. Bullying could include making threats to someone, spreading rumours about them, attacking someone physically or verbally, or deliberately excluding someone from a group. Bullying doesn’t just affect the person who is being bullied – it also has an impact on those who are witness to the bullying, as well as on those who bully. Whatever form bullying takes, being bullied can have a huge impact on a young person’s life, impacting on their self-esteem and mental health. Sometimes someone may try to justify their behaviour by finding something different about the person they are bullying – this might include what they look like, how they express themselves or what they do. But this does not mean that the person being bullied is to blame. There is never any justification for bullying.
How does bullying affect people?
Bullying affects young people in many different ways. It can impact on their self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, education and life outside of school. Young people experiencing bullying may feel that they aren’t worth help or that nobody likes them. They may feel self-conscious or embarrassed lots of the time. They may also feel scared, sad or overwhelmed, and find it difficult to sleep or eat. Many young people who have been bullied find it really hard to ever feel safe or confident in anything they do, leading them to isolate ourselves from others and to give up the things they enjoy doing. We know that bullying can cause many young people to feel isolated, worthless, and experience thoughts of suicide. A national bullying survey by Bullying UK found that 40% of young people who reported being bullied experienced thoughts of suicide and 39% had self-harmed. It also found that 42% of young people had had to take time off school after they had experienced bullying Online bullying is a contributing factor for many young people having thoughts of suicide. Over 200 schoolchildren die by suicide every year in the UK. We need everyone to be aware of the impact that online bullying and face to face bullying can have on children and young people’s mental health.
There is no legal definition of bullying, but it is often described as behaviour that hurts someone else, physically or emotionally, and can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online, or even social gatherings. Around one in five children aged 10 to 15 years in England and Wales (19%) experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour in the year ending March 2020, equivalent to 764,000 children. More than half (52%) of those children who experienced online bullying behaviours said they would not describe these behaviours as bullying, and one in four (26%) did not report their experiences to anyone. Being called names, sworn at or insulted and having nasty messages about them sent to them were the two most common online bullying behaviour types, experienced by 10% of all children aged 10 to 15 years.
Nearly three out of four children (72%) who had experienced an online bullying behaviour experienced at least some of it at school or during school time. Almost one in five children experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviour in the previous 12 months
Proportion of children aged 10 to 15 years who experienced online bullying behaviours in the previous 12 months, by type of bullying behaviour, England and Wales, year ending March 2020
This part of my blog has been written with full permission, I’m leaving out names and dates, but this story highlights, just how badly bullying can become and the devastating consequences of others unjust persecution of someone and their families.
As a funeral director receiving a call from a family requesting a home arrangement, is something that those in our profession have taken so many times. When the call comes through, we have an immediate thought process of who the deceased may be? the age? cause of death etc. I have my first call documentation by my side ready to collect as much information as I can. But one particular morning the phone rang, and a very shaky voice on the other end of the phone asked “Is this the Undertakers?” I responded to the caller advising who I was and who he had contacted, his next words reverberated through my body “My son, my Boy is dead, I do not know what to do?” he then broke into tears I could hear the raw emotion and aguish in his tears, I waited for a moment for him, to gain his composure. I offered him my sincerest condolences, but advised him I needed to ask him some questions, so I could collect some information so better to help him. He advised me that he did not want to discuss details over the phone, but rather me visit to arrange. I advised him this was not a problem asking him where I was to go? After collecting the address, but with still no information on the “son” who had passed away, I asked the man what his sons name is and how old? the answer he gave haunts me today and saddens me to the core, his response was “His name is………., he’s 9 years old and he’s killed himself!”
The drive to that address was the longest I’ve ever taken, every thought imaginable racing through my head “What, Why, How, Where” thoughts of my own young child, question after question of what could of happened to this little boy, and what could of drove him to such a sad ending to his young life. As I arrived at the house and parked up, I was greeted at the door by a big chap much taller than me and I’m 6ft! He was pale devoid of any expression, I could see the world had been ripped away from, but I knew a very difficult task lay ahead, every ounce of empathy, thought, caring and understanding would be put to the absolute test, on entering the living room the walls were adorned with this young lads pictures, from a baby to current, I saw plaster cast prints of his hands and feet, a painted pebble above the fire etc. Seeing all this and his face made this task all the more harder, but I needed to summon all the strength I could to help this man, he answered a couple of questions then fell silent, I too sat quietly letting him have a moment, I saw the tears dripping from the end of his nose onto the laminate floor. He then said “I never saw this coming!” then he said “why did they hound my boy to death why?“
I sat there somewhat stunned at what the chap had said, again thoughts racing through my mind, I felt unjust to this man as all I could do was picture my child at home playing with his toys, and thinking he was safe and well, I felt terrible for my inner thoughts at this moment of complete anguish for this distraught father. The chap then said “You need to know the full story before we carry on!” he then proceeded to tell me exactly what had occurred surrounding his sons tragic death, afterwards I felt sick, as well as angry and helpless. I suddenly felt everything I thought I knew was just a lie, and things really were worse than I’d ever imagined. I felt a wave of protection to my child and how I could protect him from what occurred in this story! I’ll share with you now so sad and so ******* avoidable!!
The son had asked his dad if he could set up their tent in the back garden? It was a sunny day so the dad had agreed and helped his sun put the tent up, once it was all completed, the young lad took some toys into the tent, and his school bag from his bedroom also was placed in the tent, the boy had insisted to his dad that the thick outer rain cover was placed on the tent as well, his dad protested as it was clear skies but the boy was adamant, he also place a large sheet over the tent as well, his dad assumed it was to make it a little darker and cooler, as the boy played in the tent, his dad periodically looked from the kitchen to see if he was ok, after a short while, his son came into the house and told his dad that he had invited three of his friends (who lived down the street) to come round and play, his dad was OK with this, and thought it was nice to have some pals there he commented “my son never really had any friends around.
A short time later he saw three kids turn up, they were very polite and said they’d come to “hang out” with his lad! The chap said they were there around two and half hours, during that time his son had come in demanding snacks etc. After raiding the cupboards of all the Pringles and Chocolate and taking a bottle of Diet Coke, his dad said his son must of been having a good time so left him to it! after the other kids had gone, his lad came in and asked if he could stay in the tent for a bit? His dad told him it was fine but needed to come in before it went dark. His son agreed and off he went back to the tent, zipping up the door after he’d gone in. It had been a few hours since the other kids had left, the dad told me and since his son had gone back into the tent! he decided to go out and get him, he went to the backdoor and shouted to his son to come in! he received no response, he shouted again to come in (kids can be ignorant when they want to) again silence nothing, he did notice that the gate was still locked so his son couldn’t of gone out anywhere, so the walked over to the tent slapped his hand against the fabric and said “I know you’ve had fun with your friends but it’s time to come in! Now come on!” still not a sound? he then unzipped the tent, at that point I watched as this large man, began to sob like I’ve never seen a man cry before, head in his hands uncontrolled sadness and grief, he then said through his tears, he saw his son at the far end of the tent, we was curled up asleep ( he thought) he went into his son and he wasn’t breathing, and showed no signs of movement, he told me he pleaded with his son to wake up but nothing, he called “999” immediately, to summon help. Sadly his son was already gone, by the time paramedics arrived, the dad said through a breaking heart “my son was dead in front of me, 9 years old dead gone taken from me”
As I sat there in front of this man unable to speak properly through the absolute sadness he was feeling, I felt and huge wave of helplessness come over me. My absolute sorrow for this dad who’s son was tragically taken from him at such a young age was profound, I couldn’t seem to find the right words to say, or what emotion to let out? After hearing this awful story I was stuck on the spot without a plan or any sort of resolution in my head at all. I did the only thing I thought at the time was right, which was to keep quiet and wait until he was ready to to talk again.
After about 30 minutes, we began to go through the necessary things we needed for moment. I agreed that we needed to meet up again to discuss further, as clearly he had, had enough at this point. I visited him the following week to go over some further details I required, after he had made me a cup of tea, he began to tell me what had occurred on that day. His son had scribbled notes down that were later found in his bedroom as well as in the tent in his ruck sack. He had been subjected to a torrent of bullying from other kids that was happening both online through gaming platforms, as well as social media such as Snapchat, WhatsApp & Discord. As well as verbally when he saw these kids, it was not physical they were not hurting him or hitting him, but psychologically they were destroying this little boy, he had written several notes saying how horrible he felt, and how we wished he could die like the characters in his games. On the day we committed suicide, he had researched through the internet ways to kill himself, and found somehow a site that told school children the best ways to commit suicide (I was shocked something like this could exist) but nether the less it did. The 3 kids he had invited were the ones inflicting the worst of the bullying, in one of his scribbled notes, he had said that they had come round so he could plead with them to leave him alone! By providing a place to play and ample snacks and drinks was his way of trying to be liked by these kids, his dad said whatever had happened in that tent that afternoon clearly did not work and he had formulated a plan to end his own suffering. , so on that day once the kids had left the tent, He must of lay in the corner and fell asleep whilst taking the most extreme of measures to end his life, his father found him several hours later. The thought of this little boy alone with these feelings, then executing a plan that would end the systematic psychological abuse he was enduring daily was so hard to take in. His father said he knew nothing whatsoever, his son was a happy kid at home never gave anything away of his bullying, the schools had never been in contact with concerns as they to were oblivious. He sadly kept silent and carried the weight of his bullying on his own shoulders until it was all to much for him to take, and he decided enough was enough.
For his father a lifetime of sadness will be his burden, not being able to watch his boy grow up, not seeing him graduate through school, or see him attend college or university. Never given the opportunity to see him work in his chosen career path, or watch him meet someone and live happily ever after. No more hearing his boys voice or being able to tuck him in at night time, or protect him when needed. These things we take for granted but for him they are gone taken away so ridiculously early, in fact 80+ years to early. It’s all so so wrong on every level and heart breaking, really upsets me just how cruel this world can be really does, as a tragedy like this really didn’t need to occur did it!
The point of sharing this account of a very tragic case I was involved with, is to highlight how important it is to know what our kids are doing? Who they are talking to? How they are conducting themselves online? Being able to allow them to openly talk to you without flying off the handle, remember your child might not be being bullied, they might be the bully themselves! Help them to understand what it right and wrong and offer guidance when required. Point out to them that what they think is a laugh might be devastating to another child. Don’t let them isolate a child when playing games, or let them think its funny to have a pop at someone, as perhaps they cannot afford the latest I.T. or the trendy clothing. Everybody’s circumstances are different. If your child is being bullied listen to them and offer as much help and support as you can muster, involve the schools, other parents and collaboratively find a solution that helps you, to stop your child from being bullied, but helps the parent of the bullies to understand and deal with their side of this serious issue. I’d love to see a world where no children are committing suicide through bullying. I know this is wishful thinking but we all have a part to play, those that chose to ignore this from either side are equally as guilty. Embrace your kids, learn with them and create an environment where they feel comfortable to be able to tell you anything. You never want to be in the tragic circumstances that the Dad I’ve written about was in, form both sides! As a parent of a child you’ve lost through such horrific and senseless circumstances, or as a parent who’s child has caused another child to commit suicide through harmful bullying, neither is a position we’d ever want to be in. Keep safe guys Paul 23.02.2021