Being the victim of a bully can lead to your child avoiding school, and
developing fear and anxiety about going to school. For these kids though, it is often a daily
battle to go to school.
Because victims of bullies often do not seek help or confide in anyone about the bullying,
either because of shame or embarrassment or fear that it will be worse if the bully finds out,
it is important to look for signs in your children. School
avoidance behaviours, especially chronic nonspecific complaints, such as headaches or stomach
aches, or they may have trouble sleeping. Also, if your child seems afraid or anxious about
going to school, has a change in his personality or his behaviour, or a change in his grades,
you should consider that he may be a victim of a bully at school, especially if he fits the
stereotypes described above.
Children who are bullies may have problems with low self-esteem, but newer theories argue
that bullies are driven more by a desire to have power over others and to be in control than
because they have poor self-esteem and that they have little empathy for their victims. They
may also be aggressive, bossy, controlling, have a low level of self control, and have
difficulty making friends. Bullies are also more likely to develop criminal behaviours as
What is bullying?
Bullying is a form of aggression that unfolds within a relationship. The child who bullies
uses aggression and control to maintain a position of power over the victimized child. As
bullying evolves over time, the power dynamics and inequality in the relationship become
stronger. The victimized child gets caught in an abusive relationship. This problem can also
happen between groups of children.
The basic elements of bullying are:
Unequal power: One child has more power than the other child (or at least
it seems that way to the children involved)
Hurtful actions: Physically or psychologically harmful behaviour takes place (see
table page 2)
Direct and indirect actions: The behaviour may be face-to-face or behind one's
Repetitive behaviour: The hurtful actions keep happening so the child being
hurt finds it more and more difficult to escape
Teasing, rough housing or even play fighting are not considered bullying when both children
are having fun.
How many children are involved in bullying
Not everyone bullies or is bullied – a relatively small number of children are directly
involved in bullying incidents.
Kindergarten to Grade 8
15% of students reported bullying others at least twice over the school term.
2% of students reported bullying others once a week or more.
What are some of the types of bullying?
- Comments about how someone looks or talks
- Comments about someone's ethnicity (culture, colour or religion)
- 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.
When other children intervene – more than half the time, the bullying will stop within 10
seconds! – Hawkins, Pepler Craig, 2001this information is taken from the http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca