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Bullying can take many forms

  • Physical - hitting, punching, kicking.
  • Verbal - name calling, mocking, making racist or homophobic remarks.
  • Social - ignoring, shunning, excluding, or hurtful rumours.
  • Cyber - use of email, cell phones, text messages, and internet sites to  threaten, harass, embarrass, social exclude, damage reputations and friendships.

Bullying is:

  • An aggressive behaviour that is typically repeated over time.
  • A deliberate activity intended to cause emotional (fear/distress) or physical pain.
  • Using power (real or perceived) over others.
  • A relationship problem that requires a relationship solution.

Difference between bullying vs. normal childhood conflict

Bullying Normal childhood conflict
  • Imbalance of power between friends.
  • Repeated negative actions.
  • Individuals rarely play together.
  • Purposeful and serious: strong emotional reaction from victim.
  • Seeking power and control.
  • No remorse.
  • No effort to solve problem.
  • Equal power difference between friends.
  • Individuals often play together.
  • Not serious: reaction of victim minimal or short lived.
  • Not seeking power and attention or trying to get something.
  • Remorse – will take responsibility.
  • Effort to solve the problem.

Bullying in the school yard
  • Suddenly becoming afraid to go to school.
  • Complain about being ill in the morning (e.g., stomach aches).
  • Skip school.
  • Start to do poorly in school.
  • Suddenly losing belongings or coming home with damaged belongings.
  • Avoids play areas.
  • Coming home with unexplained injuries.
  • Change in behaviour (e.g., sudden moodiness, increased negative self-talk, difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, or panic attacks).
  • A loss of friends.
  • A loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed.
  • Dishevelled, torn or missing clothing.
  • Appears anxious or fearful.
  • Low self-esteem and makes negative comments.
  • Appears unhappy, irritable.
  • Trouble sleeping, nightmares.
  • May appear isolated from the peer group.
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Bullying in the school yard
  • Has little concern for others feelings.
  • Likes to be in charge.
  • Child uses verbal or physical aggression to deal with conflict.
  • Comes home with items that do not belong to them.
  • Hangs out with aggressive children; children who bully have friends who bully who reinforce one another.
  • Gets frustrated easily and angers quickly.
  • Seems unable to play cooperatively.
  • Talks about getting even with others.
  • Puts others down in conversations.
  • Secretive about possessions and activities.
  • Holds positive view of aggression.
  • Does not recognize impact of their behaviour.
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Strategies for parents of children who are bullied

  • Praise child for being brave enough to tell you about the bullying.
  • Give your child emotional support by reminding the child that no one deserves to be bullied, that it’s not their fault.
  • Be sure to give your child your full attention and ask for details about the bullying: How often does it happen? How long has it been going on? In how many places does it occur and how has it affected you?.
  • Stand up for your child - report the bullying to other adults in your child’s life (teachers, coaches) and work together to give your child the support he/she needs to develop healthy relationships.
  • Teach your child ignore the bully, walk away and go talk to someone who can help.
  • Teach your child to go to areas where they feel safe.
  • Teach your child to stay close to other students who could stick up for him/her.
  • Teach your child to be assertive – not aggressive. Research shows that using aggression to deal with aggression usually makes the problem worse.
  • Teach your child to look confident by standing tall, using eye contact, using a strong voice and tell the bully to back off.

Strategies for parent’s who suspect their child is bullying others

  • Be a positive role model as children learn by example.
  • Talk about the effect of bullying on others. Ask how they would feel if someone was picking on them. Would they want to be left out, or put down?
  • Teach your child that they may not like everyone but it is important to treat everyone with respect.
  • Talk to your child about their own strengths. Teach them how they can use their power to help, not hurt, others.
  • Acknowledge positive behaviours by praising respectful and cooperative behaviour when it happens.
  • Help your child learn healthy ways to control anger, solve problems and resist peer pressure to bully.
  • If you hear the beginnings of a hurtful comment, it is important to stop and address the problem when it occurs.
  • Teach your child that real leaders show respect for others.
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Resources on bullying for parents

Resources on bullying for kids and teens

Cyberbullying resources

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