If we want to prevent bullying in schools, playgrounds or in the workplace then we need to understand it and how it happens. Bullying can cause physical and psychological harm and it deserves to be taken seriously. Most people misunderstand bullies and what makes them tick. Here are some myths about bullying that we need to understand so we can get to the heart of the issue.
Bullies Suffer From Low Self Esteem
This probably the most common misconception about bullies, in fact most bullies are popular and usually pretty confident. They aren’t trying to make up for any perceived inadequacies but rather for them it is a way to fit in with friends. Bullying is often a group effort, often the leader or bully picks on others as a way to impress their friends. Here is a better explanation.
You Need a Thicker Skin
It is often said that bullying is just a part of childhood and the bullied child should just learn to deal with it. This type of thinking hurts the victim and the bully, it teaches both that this is acceptable behavior when it really isn’t. Bullying should never be tolerated, and victims can end up suffering from depression, and low self esteem.
Bullying Only Happens in School
That is just not the case, bullying happens everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor or middle class bullies are everywhere. It can happen in elementary school, high schools, the playground or among adults in the work places. However bullying is most common in kids between the ages of 9 to 13 years old. This is where kids start feeling pressure to fit in and bullying is how they cope.
Only Boys Bully
While boys do bully more often than girls they aren’t the only ones that can be bullies. Boys and girls bully each other differently, boys tend to more physical and girls are emotional. Girls will humiliate or say mean things to bully and boys will fight or physically threatened when they bully.
Bullying is No Big Deal
There are still too many parents that think bullying is some sort of rite of passage and it isn’t any big deal. That isn’t the case, there are kids everyday who commit suicide because of bullying. Parents involvement is a must if you want to stop bullying. Bullying is dangerous and destructive and the problem needs to be nipped in the bud, every child deserves to feel safe in school.
Like most of us, you probably thought that bullying finally ended when you finished school. It’s no secret that children can be cruel but those same children can grow up to be cruel adults and the bullying continues to the work place. Bullying at work is a real thing and it can do as much damage as it did back on the playground.
What is Work Place Bullying?
Bullying in the workplace consists of the repeated mistreatment of one or more persons by another. The behavior is typically unprofessional, unreasonable and inappropriate for the workplace. This type of behavior can be verbal abuse or behavior that is intimidating, humiliating or exclusionary. If a colleague or coworker gives you unreasonable or meaningless tasks or changing schedules to inconvenience one employee in particular. It can also be not giving you the resources you need to do your job or sabotaging your efforts.
How Common is Workplace Bullying?
Despite the fact that we are all supposed to be adults in the workplace bullying is more common than you think. Back in 2007 the Workplace Bullying Institute did a study and found that workplace bullying is four times more common than discriminatory harassment. In addition to that the same study showed that more than 60% of employers simply ignored the problem. In the world of litigation it is in the company’s best interest to address the issue.
How Does Bullying the Victim?
Just like back in the school days the victim of bullying can suffer from psychological and physical damage that can go on long after the bullying stopped. Bullying at work can cause stress, anxiety, headaches, depression and anger. It can put strain on not just your career but on your personal life. In extreme cases bullying can lead to suicide.
What to do About It?
If you feel that you are being bullied in the workplace you can’t let the situation continue you need to speak to someone about it. If your company has a grievance officer, occupational health officer, human resources officer or union official then you need to book an appointment with them. Some workplaces have counselling services where you can discuss the issue. Some countries have already passed legislation dealing with bullying in the workplace however the US hasn’t yet. While there are guidelines in place to protect you from harassment or discrimination bullying can be a lot more subtle. Colleagues should treat each other civilly and work together professionally.