When the cycle starts
The cycle of bullying often begins between the ages of four and 11 when children are forming their own social identities at school and through other activities. No matter when it starts, it's important to remember that bullying is not a normal part of growing up. It needs to be dealt with directly by adults who are willing to recognize there is a problem and take whatever steps must be taken to stop it.
The different kinds of bullying
Psychological - Verbal
- Comments about how someone looks or talks
- Comments about someone's ethnicity (culture, colour, religion)
Psychological - Social
- Not including someone in group activities
- Can hurt a child's body, damage belongings (clothes, toys, etc) or make a child feel badly about himself or herself.
- Can make a child feel badly about himself or herself.
- Can make a child feel alone and not part of the group.
How to help
If a child comes to you for help with a bullying situation, he or she may need reassurance as well as practical advice. Use your judgment about the circumstances and get as many details as you can. Here are some things you can say:
If the child is being bullied
- "Stay calm, try to show you won't get upset. Anger can make things worse."
- "As soon as you get bullied, find an adult you trust and tell the adult what happened. It is your right to be safe."
- "If you are afraid to tell an adult, ask a friend to go with you."
- "Stay close to friends or children you know will stick up for you."
- "Stay away from places you know bullying happens."
- "If bullying continues, walk away and join other children or ask someone for help."
If the child sees someone else being bullied
- "Speak out, you can help by telling the bully to stop - nobody deserves to be bullied."
- "If you are afraid to speak out alone, ask a friend or many friends to do it with you."
- "Comfort the person who was hurt, tell them they don't deserve what happened."
- "If you are afraid or telling them doesn't work, find an adult you trust to help you."
- "Help children who are bullied. Invite them to participate in your school activities - this will help them not feel like they are alone."
Assurances you can give children:
- "Despite how it seems, it is not a hopeless situation. Something will be done to stop the bullying, I will help you."
- "There is always someone who you can talk to about bullying, whether it's me or another adult/teacher at school."
- "Remember, if you walk away and get help, you are part of the solution. If you stay and watch, you are part of the problem."