Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated and usually involves the same individuals. It includes actions such as making threats; spreading rumors; attacking someone verbally, or physically, and/or excluding someone from a group on purpose; teasing; name-calling; taunting; telling other children not to be friends with someone; embarrassing someone in public; making mean and rude gestures; breaking or taking someone else’s possessions.
Bullying can occur during or after school hours such as on playgrounds, traveling to or from school, inside a school building or classrooms, or in neighborhoods.
No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied. It can happen to anyone, anywhere.
Children at risk of being bullied –
are seen as different from their peers such as being overweight, underweight, wearing glasses,
wearing braces, wearing different clothing, being new to school, or unable to afford what other
children consider “cool,” weak or unable to defend themselves, depressed, anxious, low self-
esteem, less popular than others, having few friends, do not get along with others, annoying,
antagonizing to get attention. NO CHILD, NO MATTER WHAT THE FACTORS ARE, IS MEANT TO
Children who might bully –
are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their
popularity, like to dominate and be in charge, more isolated from their peers and may be
depressed or anxious, have low self-esteem, are less involved in school, do not identify with
emotions or feels of others, aggressive, easily frustrated, have less parental involvement or
have issues at home, view violence as positive, have friends who bully others.
Signs a child is being bullied –
unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal belongings, frequent headaches, frequent
stomachaches, faking illness, changes in eating habits, skipping meals, binge eating, declining
grades, avoiding social situations, feelings of helplessness, self-destructive behaviors. THERE ARE MANY SIGNS TO INDICATE A CHILD IS BEING BULLIED OR IS BULLYING. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TALK WITH YOUR CHILDREN TO IDENTIFY THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM!
Signs a child is bullying –
Has friends who bully others, are increasingly aggressive, get sent to school principal’s or
dean’s office for detention, has unexplained extra money or new belongings, blames others
for their problems
What can we do?
Instead of labeling the children involved, focus must be on behavior. For example, instead of calling a child a bully, refer to them as a child who bullies. Instead of calling a child a victim, refer to them as a child who was bullied. Being labeled sends the message that the child’s behavior cannot be changed.
How to change the behavior?
Model positive ways for children to make friends. Help them learn consequences for certain actions in ways they can understand. Set clear rules for behavior and monitor interactions, step in quickly to stop aggressive behavior, or redirect. Use age-appropriate consequences for aggressive behavior. Children should be encouraged to say, “I am sorry,” and pair with an action such as, “Let me help you rebuild the blocks I knocked over.”
Rules for a bully-free class:
- Bullying is never allowed in classrooms or anywhere on a school campus
- We don’t tease, call names, or put people down
- We don’t hit, kick, shove, or punch
- When we have group activities we include everyone
- We make new students feel welcome
- We listen to each other’s opinions
- We treat each other with kindness and respect
- We don’t send mean notes, messages, text messages, or negative social media messages