What is Bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Children at risk of being bullied
Generally, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”
- Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
- Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem
- Are less popular than others and have few friends
- Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention
Signs to look out for
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
What can you do for your child?
- Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying. Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes. Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away
- Learn what bullying is and what it is not. Understanding what bullying is is the first step in forming a plan to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. Many behaviors that look like bullying may be just as serious, but may require different response strategies
- Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help
- Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns
- Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect
Do you know a bully or a person who is being bullied?
Your child’s school has a designated area to report bullying. Students will remain safe and anonymous. For more information, contact your child’s school.
Where does bullying happen?
Bullying can happen anywhere. It can occur in your neighborhood, while going to school, at school, and while online.
Who gets bullied?
ANYONE! Anyone from the shy, quiet class mate to the most popular kid. It can be girls, boys, a Pre-K student or a senior. Someone in the band or someone that plays sports.
Everyone can be a target, but no one deserves to be.
How can you tell who is a bully?
Watch their actions. Listen to their words. Do they hurt or harm you or someone you know? Is that person able to defend themselves against those actions or words?
“It’s no big deal!” Bullies don’t think that what they are doing is wrong. When is hurting someone ever “no big deal?”
Think about it! If you just stopped to think twice about what you were saying or doing, you could change the words or actions to be more positive ones.
- You can make all the difference
by reporting bullying
- No one should accept or even tolerate bullying at your school
- If one person speaks out, others will too
- No one deserves to be bullied!
- You can make all the difference