Bullying is not a normal part of growing up
Bullying happens when a child or a group of children use their power to hurt or reject someone else. The child who bullies has more power because they are bigger, stronger, older, more popular or has support from other children.
- Using power over others
- Done on purpose
- Repeated over time
- Hurtful either physically and/or emotionally
- Serious and harmful
Not every argument, conflict or fight between children is bullying. Children will sometimes argue or will even dislike each other.
Bullying can take many forms:
- Physical: hitting, kicking, pushing, stealing or damaging property
- Verbal: name-calling, threatening or rude comments
- Social: leaving people out from a group, spreading rumours or gossip, or setting others up to look foolish
- Cyber: harassing or threatening through e-mails, text messages or websites
Forms of bullying can change depending on the age and the gender of the children.
- Bullying may begin in preschool (physical and verbal) but can develop into social bullying as children grow and become more aware of other’s thoughts and feelings.
- Girls are more likely to use social bullying in their friendship circles.
- Bullying seems to increase at times of school changes (for ex., from elementary school to middle school to high school).
Teaching Kids Not to Bully
Let your child know that bullying is not OK and can bring serious consequences at home, school, and in the community if it continues.
Try to understand the reasons behind your child's behavior. In some cases, kids bully because they have trouble managing strong emotions like anger, frustration, or insecurity. In other cases, kids haven't learned cooperative ways to work out conflicts and understand differences.
What Are the Signs of Bullying?
Unless your child tells you about bullying - or has visible bruises or injuries - it can be hard to know if it's happening. Parents might notice kids:
- acting differently or seeming anxious
- not eating, not sleeping well, or not doing the things they usually enjoy
- seem moodier or more easily upset than usual
- avoiding certain situations (like taking the bus to school)
Let your kids know that if they're being bullied or harassed - or see it happening to someone else- it's important to talk to someone about it, whether it's you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.