Dr. MJ Bazos, Patient
What is ‘Bullying’?
- Bullying is a form of inter-child aggression
which occurs when a child is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative
actions on the part of one or more children.
- What distinguishes bullying from the usual
conflicts between children is that bullying behaviour is a combination of power
- Bullying may be physical (hitting or kicking);
verbal (name-calling, insults, racist comments and constant teasing); relational
(gossip, ostracism); or reactive (taunting which invites retaliation).
- Many victims of bullying are different in some
way, which often explains their lack of power. Children who are fatter,
skinnier, wear glasses, have speech impediments or a learning disability are
common victims. They can become isolated and withdrawn, anxious and insecure,
which may increase their likelihood of being targeted.
Why care about bullying?
- Bullying is a pervasive problem. A major study in
Toronto schools found that a bullying act took place on school grounds, and in
other supervised areas of the school, every seven minutes. Teachers were aware
of only 4% of these incidents.
- Most bullying goes unreported because the victims
feels that nothing will be done and they might receive greater retaliation the
next time. Those who watch are afraid to report because they might lose their
social status, because of the tendency to prefer to identify with the power of
the bully rather than with the weakness of the victim, and because of fears that
they might be next.
- Boys and girls engage in bullying at
approximately the same rate. Boys report more physical forms of bullying,
whereas girls bully in socially-oriented ways, such as by exclusion.
- Bullying has an enduring effect on both victim
and bully. One longitudinal study has shown that 60% of boys who were nominated
as bullies in Grades 6 to 9 had at least one court conviction by age 35 to 40%
had three or more convictions by age 24, compared to 10% for the control group
of non-bullying boys.
- We do not know, yet, however, whether bullying is
predictive of later aggressive uses of power or whether it exists on a continuum
from bullying to sexual harassment and dating violence.
- Longitudinal research on aggressive children
shows that their prognosis for healthy development is poor.
- Children who become established in the role of
victim are often rejected by their peers and are, therefore, at risk of later
adjustment problems, such as depression and school dropout.
- The impact of bullying extends from bully and
victim to those who witness it:
- 90% of students
don’t like to see someone bullied,
- 33% said they would join in, and
- peers participated in 85% of the bullying episodes.
Strategies to stop Bullying
The power of peer
- Bullying usually involves more than the bully and
the victim – 85% of bullying episodes occur in the context of a peer
- Children helping other children is a powerful
experience which can build self-esteem and resilience.
- Children dislike bullying in their schools and
want to help stop it.
- Children and adolescents are not aware that they
may feed the problem by not intervening.
- Peers need to be taught how to intervene.
- Teachers and parents are relatively unaware of
bullying episodes – bullying is an underground activity, hidden from
- Teaching children different and effective
strategies to achieve social approval from their peers may reduce aggressive
- A bully’s triumph over the victim is the
reward, and a lack of negative consequences may increase the likelihood of other
children being aggressive.
Peer Intervention by
Adolescents: Why it Works
- They are struggling with their own hurts.
- They are acting as primary supports for their
- They are responsible for other children in their
communities as baby-sitters, coaches and leaders of youth groups.
- They are making major life decisions about who
they are and the quality of their relationships.
- They are capable of breaking the cycle of
- They are preparing to become the parents of the
can children and youth do now:
- Find your friends and make sure that none of you
is either bully or victim. If you don’t have a lot of friends, try
joining a school club and become part of a group that way.
- Stop teasing or otherwise participating in
- Stand up for the child who may be different and
find a new friend.
- Report bullying to an adult when you see it.
- Speak up to a teacher or other adult you trust if
you are being bullied. Expect that adult to help you.
- Stay safe. Avoid isolated parts of the school.
- If you are being bullied, try to ignore it. The
bully wants a reaction. If you don’t react, the bully is more likely to
- Younger children, in kindergarten through Grade
4, look to adults for protection from bullying. By Grade 6, they think bullying
cannot be stopped. By Grade 8, children are beginning to understand the
personal dynamics of bullying and have a more sophisticated view of anti-social
behaviour perceiving it as a symptom of a child’s troubled environment.
- To influence children’s behaviour it is
important to develop understanding within the context of strategies children can
use to solve the problem.
- The best intervention is one which addresses the
social context in which bullying occurs – the culture of the school. It
must be a collaborative effort of teachers, parents and students.
- The first step in such an effort is a school
policy with clearly stated rules against bullying. Classroom discussions are
also essential as they serve to sensitize children to the problem, help them to
identify the consequences for bullying and in coming up with ways to help the
victims. Also necessary is increased adult active supervision of playgrounds.
What you can do now:
- Expose bullying – name it – provide a
way for your children to understand what is happening when they witness or
- Raise awareness – reduce victim isolation
and increase the likelihood of reporting.
- Speak in the language of young people.
Bully B’Ware Productions at:
Totally devoted to bully prevention, this
website is out of British Columbia and takes a look at the impact of bullying as
well as providing tips and strategies on how to deal with bullies.
Another website to check out is: