The Tourettic Bully-Proofer | Blog

DO Learn To Recognize The Different Types Of Bullying

[Part one]

There will be three parts to this article. They will be published over the next three weeks.

There are six basic types of bullying. As a parent you really need to pay close attention to these. You never know when you might have to identify one of them because of something that is going on in your child’s life. Here is a surprising statistic. According to the Department of Justice, 60% of former bullies have at least one criminal conviction by the time they are twenty-four.

First, Physical: This is the easiest form of bullying to recognize. It covers any kind of physical aggression—shoving, poking, throwing things, slapping, choking, punching, kicking, beating, stabbing, tripping, pulling hair, scratching, biting, scraping, pinching, etc. More than 30% of all bullying in elementary and middle school are physical.

This also includes sexual assault, which can happen at any age. It happened to me at thirteen. Physical bullying is most likely to occur on the way to or from school. In recent years, there have been some well-publicized cases in which security videos show physical bullying taking place on a school bus. Studies have shown that the majority of physical bullying occurs in middle school because this is when children are trying their best to fit in. It is also a proven fact that boys are more than three times as likely as girls to be involved in bullying of any kind.

It’s well-known that boys generally are more aggressive than girls. A larger percentage of boys are involved in delinquent and criminal behavior than girls. But girls do bully each other. They are just more likely to use non-physical methods. However, physical aggression by girls appears to be growing. As a fourth grader, I was beaten up by a girl. She had become angry with me for something that I cannot even remember. She caught me after school and started hitting me. I refused to hit her back because my parents had taught me never to hit a girl, regardless of the circumstances. The fact that I would not fight back seemed to anger her even more, and she started hitting me harder and more often. Almost every day she would find me after school and start hitting me. I became an easy target because she had no fear that I would hit her back.

I was still hearing about this when I got into middle school several years later. I can only imagine what type of home life this young girl must have endured to have developed such an aggressive attitude at such an early age. The epitome of physical assault and humiliation occurred when I was thirteen.

I was raped by two older neighborhood boys. What made this even worse is that, up until this happened, I had thought they were my friends. I learned the hard way to never trust them again.

Second, Verbal: This type of bullying uses language to make someone feel uncomfortable. As strange as it may seem, verbal bullying can actually be more harmful than physical bullying. Most injuries caused by physical bullying heal rather quickly. But the emotional injuries caused by verbal bullying can last for a lifetime. Verbal bullying is used more often by girls to dominate, and show their superiority and power. However, some boys, perhaps because they want to avoid physical confrontations, develop their expertise at word usage, and become quite effective at verbal bullying. I am sure that all of us have seen this happen in the movies. A young man from a well-to-do family uses his speaking ability to denigrate one of his peers.

According to BullyingStatistics (, the goal of verbal bullying is to degrade and demean the victim while making the aggressor look dominant and powerful. Verbal bullying includes name-calling; teasing; ethnic, racial and religious slurs; insults about a person’s appearance, intelligence, or capabilities; remarks about one’s social or economic status.

It also includes threats on one’s person, family, friends, or property. There have been several well-publicized incidents recently where people have been fired for making racially insensitive jokes or even insulting the president’s daughter.

Almost 50% of bullying in K-12 grades is verbal. As children get older and more mature, the physical bullying starts to diminish, replaced by verbal and indirect forms of bullying. Verbal bullies vary according to personality. One type of bully shows no compassion for anyone’s feelings. This person may exhibit a high sense of self-esteem and be very self-confident, but he is short on social skills and is narcissistic.

Another type of bully is the reverse. She is influenced mainly by the social behavior of other people. She is very influenced by peer pressure. She has low self-esteem and can even be depressed. Yet another variation of the verbal bullying is to humiliate or embarrass others based upon how the bully feels.

He exhibits what is sometimes referred to as impulsive bullying. His whimsical behavior may even be a symptom of someone who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, adults sometimes brush off reports of verbal abuse. They may tell a child who has complained about being called names to toughen up. This might be good advice in certain instances. But living under a constant barrage of name-calling can have serious long-term effects on a young person. I know this from personal experience. For this reason, I encourage parents to pay attention. Encourage your children to speak up when they are being bullied. Take seriously what they tell you—and do something. That’s your job, and it’s not a waste of time.

When adults become involved, bullying tends to be far less frequent. This is really what we want to accomplish as a society. I would love to be able to say that it would completely eradicate all bullying, but that is just not realistic. However, if we do our part, we will make it easier for all of our children.

[Part Two includes a list of characteristics of a verbal bully.]

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