Letters & Opinion

Bullying is Inappropriate Behaviour!

By Deacon Peter Fevrier(Family & Life Secretariat)

IS it correct to say that bullying is common place in St Lucia? Yes, I think so! It is in our schools. It exists in the work places and communities. In family life and marriages.In clubs and social organizations and even in our churches. Bullying is considered inappropriate behaviour and should never be tolerated at any level.

Also bullying is thought to be the systemic abuse of power and is defined as aggressive behaviour or intentional harm-doing by peers that is carried out repeatedly and involves an imbalance of power, either actual or perceived between the victim and the bully.

In order that one understands such behaviour in any given place and time some terms have to be understood. Direct bullying includes physical and verbal acts of aggression such as hitting, stealing or name calling. Indirect bullying on the other hand is characterised by social exclusion and rumour spreading. Recently there has been much interest in cyberbullying which can be broadly defined as any bullying which is performed via electronic or social media.

Many people believe that it is fair to get even with someone who has affected their lives one way or another. They can sometimes go to the extreme by causing harm and directly hurting their victim. In schools, children are threatened and blackmailed or have their things stolen. Some are insulted and called nasty names. Nasty tricks are sometimes played on them including being subjected to ridicule. When it gets out of hand so to speak, some children are hit, shoved or even beaten up.

The critical factor is that one should always be aware of other people attitudes and behaviours when interacting. It is important to muster the courage to resist anyone who is trying to force another to act against his or her will. Bullying usually occurs in a setting where individuals do not have a say concerning the group they want to be in. In order to establish a social network or hierarchy bullies will try to exert their power. Those who are emotionally weak and have nobody to stand up for them become repeated targets.

Bullying can affect everyone; those who are bullied, those who bully and those who witness bullying. It is also linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance abuse and suicide. If your child is bullied in any way you should investigate the matter. Generally speaking children who are bullied can experience negative physical, social and mental health issues. It is said that children who are bullied are more likely to experience the following: depression and anxiety, increased feeling of sadness and loneliness, change in sleep and eating patterns, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Most times these issues may persist into adulthood. Other issues include health complaints and decreased academic achievement.

Experts on the subject say with immediate and proper mental health treatment and support systems in place victims can treat some of the potential long-term consequences of bullying. Without intervention the victim is at risk of the following: chronic depression; increased risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans and suicide attempts; anxiety disorders; post-traumatic stress disorder; poor general health; self-destructive behaviour including self-harm; substance abuse and more importantly difficulty trusting reciprocal friendships and relationships. It must be noted however, that without proper treatment bullying behaviour is likely to continue into adulthood and creates risk of spousal or child abuse in addition to risk of antisocial behaviour.

There is bullying at the workplace too. Inappropriate behaviour by adult bullies may include berating people, stealing credits for promotion, excluding others, making snide remarks, threatening others, unfair criticism and public embarrassment. If you are a target of bullies in the workplace you might have this experience of a ton of anxiety in your stomach on the first day of work, but the effect of workplace bullying does not end when you leave work. Being a victim can cause much physical, psychological and health problems including stress, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disorder, high blood pressure and ulcers. The victim is unable to perform his or her duties because of difficulty making decisions, incapacity to work or concentrate and a loss of self-esteem.

God Bless You!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *