What is bullying?
- Bullying is an intentional act. The child who bullies wants to harm the victim; it is no accident.
- Bullying involves repeated occurrences. Bullying is not generally considered a random act nor a single incident. Rather, a child is repeatedly picked on by another child or is the target of harassment from a whole group of children. It is the repeated nature of bullying that causes anxiety and apprehension in victims, such that the anticipation of bullying becomes as problematic as the bullying itself.
- Bullying is characterized by a power difference; an unfair fight where the child who bullies has some advantage or power over the child who is victimized. Bullying is not the same as “playing around,” it is about the abuse of power.
Practical Expert Advice
How to Make a Difference at School
Myths & Facts about Bullies & Victims
|Bullies are rejected by their peers and have no friends.||Many bullies have high status in the classroom and lots of friends.|
|Bullies have low self-esteem.||High self-esteem can sometimes encourage bullies.|
|Being a victim builds character.||Bullying experiences increase children’s vulnerabilities.|
|Many childhood victims of harassment become violent as teens.||Victims of bullying are more likely to suffer in silence than to retaliate.|
|There is a victim personality.||There are usually a combination of situational and social risk factors apart from certain personality traits that make children vulnerable.|
|Bullying involves only perpetrators and victims.||Bullying incidents are typically public events that have witnesses.|
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Is my child bullied?
Possible warning signs:
- Numerous lost belongings
- Frequent injuries or damage to clothes or property
- Spends time primarily with younger students (may indicate a problem with peers)
- Avoids recess (i.e., playground) before, during and/or after school
- Arrives to school late or just at the starting bell
- Appears to be alone most of the time at school
- Obtains an excessive or insufficient amount of sleep