4 Kinds of Bullying That You Should Prevent

There are different kinds of bullying that your children can face. Learn what they are and how to deal with them.
4 Kinds of Bullying That You Should Prevent
Ana Couñago

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Ana Couñago.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Bullying is defined as malicious and hurtful behavior that occurs repeatedly in a social relationship, which can be of any kind. It’s characterized by an imbalance between the power or physical strength of the parties involved. There are different kinds of bullying that occur in many contexts, especially those that have to do with school-aged children.

As mothers and fathers, we can prevent bullying and prepare children and adolescents to act in a healthy way against it.

4 kinds of bullying that you should prevent

1. Verbal harassment

This involves the use of mean and derogatory words, nicknames, and disrespectful comments about another person. These comments may refer to aspects such as physical appearance, religion, race, particular physical conditions, sexual orientation, and other distinctive features of the victim.

What are the signs of verbal harassment?

Many children may have signs such as loss of appetite or sudden mood swings. In other cases, little ones will ask you if the hurtful words they’ve heard about them are true or not.

What can you do?

  • Teach your children the value of respect. With your own example, show that all people should be treated well, whether they’re friends, teachers, family, or even strangers.
  • Strengthen your children’s independence and confidence in who they are and what they can do. You need to show them safe and constructive phrases and actions that can be taken when faced with bullying.

2. Physical harassment

Physical harassment occurs when bullying goes beyond words and involves hitting, shoving, and inappropriate and uncomfortable physical contact.

What are the signs of physical harassment?

Some warning signs to explore include cuts, scratches, bruises, damaged clothing, or unexplained pain that your children try to hide or minimize.

A child leaning sitting with his back against a pile of books, looking sad.

What can you do?

  • During your conversations with them, ask how they spend their days at school. Depending on their answers, ask if there’s someone who’s teasing or hurting them and check if the answer matches their reaction.
  • One of the best measures to prevent such a situation from remaining undisclosed is to encourage fluid communication with your children. Show them that they can trust you and tell you when something like this happens.

3. Social exclusion

This type of bullying occurs when the harassment involves exclusion or aggressive social rejection. It manifests itself in behaviors such as not allowing someone to be part of a group, to participate in a game, or to engage in a social activity.

What are the signs of social exclusion?

The different kinds of bullying share many of the same characteristics, such as alterations in the child’s temperament. Also, watch out if they spend more time alone now than in the past. Also keep in mind that, when it comes to this type of bullying, it’s more likely in girls.

What can you do?

  • Get in the habit of doing a nighttime routine where you talk to your kids about how their day is going.
  • Help them find hobbies and activities that motivate them and can enable assertive interactions. Encourage talents such as painting, musical ability, and athletic skills.

4. Cyberbullying

This consists of defamation or malicious interaction through social media, text messages, emails, or the like. Most often, racist, homophobic, or degrading comments or false rumors are said about the victim, all with the purpose of creating a hostile environment.

A teen girl looking at a computer screen and crying into her hands.

What are the signs of cyberbullying?

In general, children who suffer from this type of bullying spend more time online and, after doing so, they show anxiety behaviors. Another common consequence of these kinds of bullying is difficulty sleeping and a lack of desire when it comes to going to school.

What can you do?

  • As a preventive measure, control the time your children can spend on digital devices and what they can use them for–including access to social media, etc. To do this, you should establish specific security settings.
  • Be aware of the sites that your children visit the most and the type of content they have access to. Monitor the activities they carry out while being online.
  • Always remind your children that they should inform you if a situation arises in which they feel violated through the internet or any other means.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.