You may have caught our blogger at Women in Business, chatting with us about her life being bullied, and her courage to rise up, devoting her life to fighting the bullying plague.
Creator: Kristin Decker
Bullying. A word that—if it was said to you—would probably cause you to recall memories of when it’s happened to you. I bet you can even give details, like what you were wearing, where you were, and how you felt when the bullying happened. As someone who experienced about seven years of bullying in my childhood, and later in the corporate world, I can give you plenty of painful details.
When you’re bullied growing up, you think that once you walk out those doors and go to college—or start in the workforce—that bullying will just end and you can say goodbye to bullies forever. Then one day you walk into your new job and there they are: workplace bullies. Unfortunately, bullying does not end when you become an adult. In fact, according to Brandon Gaille of Small Business & Marketing Advice, "96% of American employees experience bullying in the workplace."
Bullying takes many forms in the workplace, and it’s often associated with abuse of power. Bullying in the workplace can look like: humiliation, degradation, intimidation, blame without factual justification, and exclusion. Microaggressions also occur in the workplace, and a microaggression is an offensive statement that’s made either accidentally or purposely. Insensitive questions, hostile communication, derogatory language, racial slurs, and other prejudicial language are other kinds of micro-aggressions.
If you are experiencing bullying or microaggressions in the workplace, you can take action. Make sure you have detailed documentation of what occurred, including dates, times, places, and evidence of what was said and/or done. If someone is mistreating you, you can stand up for yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can tell your boss what’s going on. Once you tell your boss, be prepared, as they will likely ask you how you would like them to handle the situation; they may also direct you to HR instead. If your boss is the one doing the bullying, then go to HR with documentation and evidence. With 96 percent of the workforce experiencing bullying, it’s no surprise that, according to a WBI survey, 77 percent of employees end up leaving their jobs because of it. If you’re trying to get a bullying situation resolved at work, it is helpful to have fallback jobs lined up in case things don’t work out the way you’d like.
If you are overseeing employees in a managerial role, or if you’re in HR, you must make sure you are keeping your ears open. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, then address this immediately. Make sure your bullying and microaggression policies are up to date, and ensure a thorough layout of your organization’s values and expectations. Employees deserve to work in atmospheres that are comfortable, and they should never feel dissuaded from reporting abuse. If you aren’t sure about either the atmosphere or how your employees are feeling, conduct an anonymous survey and use the feedback received to implement change.
When kids experience bullying, they often feel alone, isolated, afraid, and worthless. The biggest issue when kids are being bullied is that they do not tell anyone what is happening to them. According to Stop Bullying, one in five students report being bullied. However, that doesn’t paint a clear picture of the situation, as it’s also been found that 64 percent of youth who are bullied never tell anyone about it. Most youth do not tell adults about bullying situations, often because they feel ashamed, embarrassed, or like they’ll receive punishment for speaking about it. Others fear that their parents won’t understand, and many don’t want their parents to worry about them.
As a parent, you may be asking yourself: what can I do about it? Well there’s great news—you can do a lot! It starts first with open communication, not only about bullying but about everything and anything that’s going on in your child’s life. Focus on those things that are important to them. We all know that when we were growing up, we thought our parents knew nothing; and can guarantee that your child also believes you know nothing! So how can that wall be broken down? How can your child find the freedom to talk to you?
Well, what does your child like to do? Do they like sports? Art? Do they enjoy sitting at Starbucks? Make it your goal once a week to do an activity with your child, and ask them subtle questions so you not only get to know them more but also find out what’s going on in their life. Once you begin to have conversations while doing things they enjoy, you will notice your child loosening up and talking more freely!
Remember that as your child begins to open up more to you about things, you must not judge or try to change how they are perceiving the situation. Listen and validate their feelings, while assuring them you love them and are always there for them. By creating the channel for open communication, you allow for your child to feel more inclined to open up about what’s going on in their life, and they don’t have to worry about judgment.
As the statistics show, most youth do not openly come out and say they are being bullied. But you can educate yourself on the signs of bullying. You can look out for changes in eating patterns, mood swings, trouble getting out of bed, avoiding social situations, and declining grades. Some children also avoid using their phones when they’re bullied. I’ve also created a resource for you, and it includes 40 of the frequently missed signs of bullying that can save a child’s life. This resource gives signs to look for, not only at home but at school, online, in social situation, and at church; there are both emotional and behavioral signs. With this resource, you can identify bullying before it puts your child in a very dangerous situation. To receive this resource, please email me at: email@example.com.
Once you have identified a change in behavior, ask your child subtle questions. Ask who their friends are at school, or mention that you’ve heard a lot about bullying in the news. Using subtle questions will help you find out whether or not your child is being bullied, and they’ll also help you assess the situation. Once you gain an understanding of their situation, then you can look to get them help from a professional (depending on the severity of the situation). You must also inform the adults who can step in on your child’s behalf and prevent bullying, including principals, teachers, and counselors.
Whether you’re being bullied or you’re watching a beloved child go through it, it’s so important that you take care of yourself during this time. Bullying can take a huge toll on your life. But if you do things that make you happy, you can negate some of the downsides of bullying and hopefully outlast it. You should spend time with friends and family, and lean on them for support during hard times. Or, if you need to talk to someone who’s outside your circle, consider talking to a counselor. Remember that you are not alone during this time, and reach out to those people who bring you happiness and joy!
It is my mission to help those who are experiencing bullying get the help and freedom they deserve, and every day I strive to end bullying once and for all.
I would love to send you a few resources I have on bullying, including Frequently Missed Signs To Save A Child’s Life and two other guides: one for parents and one for children who are experiencing bullying. These resources include the frequently asked questions I get on the subject of bullying. If your child is experiencing bullying, I would love to offer you a Free Freedom From Bullying session. In that session, we would talk about what’s going on, and I’d give you any information or resources I have so your child could gain true freedom from bullying. Please reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And to learn more about my mission to end bullying once and for all, please visit my website: freedomfrombullying.com.