On hearing the words “ Relational Bullying”, one might assume it is related with family bullying. That is far from true. NoBullying explains the truth behind relational bullying in an article released today.
Relational Bullying is more about childhood bullying and how children at very small ages learn acts of aggression and explore the various ways of attacking each other.
Unlike traditional bullying, the relational type is not overt or active. It instead manifests in passive ways that usually involve peer and group behavior. Typical behaviors of relational bullying can and usually do include the “silent treatment”, this is basically a close group of children choose to ignore a newcomer or an outsider despite his/her attempts to communicate. Shutting out new kids on the block is the easy way to explain this.
Girls usually prefer using gossip as a way of relational bullying, they make up stories about the new girl in class and as the misinformation spreads, the targeted child finds out about the misinformation from multiple sources and gets put on the defensive trying to put out relational fires from every angle. In the meantime the group then sits back and watches the damage they’ve created.
Other ways include taunting, direct insults and conditional friendship terms where the newcomer won’t be their friend unless he or she does some sort of demeaning hazing-like ritual to win their friendship. This behaviour is the most primitive way of using peer pressure, getting the victim to feel hopeless and undesired.
It is worth nothing that the victim in relational bullying has just as much a significant role in the event as the bully group. This is because, in many cases, the victim feels that finding friendship and being part of a popular group is more important and has significant mental value. As a result, being alone or separated is seen with a negative perspective, even if it may be the safer route to follow.
Relational bullying doesn’t have to be an ambiguous mystery for parents and children. It is, unfortunately, part of learning social skills that carry forward to adulthood, but the lessons don’t have to be painful. It is the family role to understand how to teach a child on confidence which often helps overcome much of the potential damage, the first step in protecting children from relational bullying is by simply understanding child behaviour.
Ciaran Connolly, Co-Founder of NoBullying.com, said, “Relational Bullying shouldn’t be looked at as child’s play. It can become a serious issue and must be dealt with accordingly, it falls upon parents to educate children about these essential social skills from an early age.”
He added that parents and teachers should make a point to educate the younger generations about the sad outcome of bullying online and offline. According to Mulligan, it is quite imperative to press for more firm laws condemning all acts of bullying and harassment.