What is bullying?
Bullying is acting in ways that
scare or harm another person. Kids who bully usually pick on someone who is
weaker or more alone, and they repeat the actions over and over. Bullying starts in elementary school
and becomes most common in middle school. By high school, it is less common but
Bullying can take many forms, including:
- Physical harm, such as hitting, shoving, or
- Emotional harm, such as making fun of the way a child
acts, looks, or talks. Writing mean things about someone in emails or online
journals (blogs) is also bullying.
Girls who bully are more likely to do so in emotional
ways. Boys who bully often do so in both physical and emotional ways. For
- A girl may form a group and exclude another
girl or gossip about her.
- A boy may shove another boy and call him
Both boys and girls take part in "cyberbullying." This
means using high-tech devices to spread rumors or to send hurtful messages or
pictures. Emotional bullying doesn't leave bruises, but the damage is just as
If you think your child is being bullied—or is bullying
someone else—take action to stop the abuse.
Why is it important to stop bullying?
a serious problem for all children involved. Kids who are bullied are more
likely to feel bad about themselves and be depressed. They may fear or lose
interest in going to school. Sometimes they take extreme measures, which can lead to tragic results. They may carry weapons, use violence to get revenge, or try to harm themselves.
Kids who bully others are more likely to drop out of
school, have drug and alcohol problems, and break the law.
What are the traits of children who bully?
Children who bully are often physically strong. They may bully because
they like the feeling of power. They may be kids who do things without thinking
first and may not follow rules. These boys and girls have not learned to think
about the feelings of other people.
Kids who physically bully
others sometimes come from homes where adults fight or hurt each other. They
may pick on other kids because they have been bullied themselves.
Children who bully need
counseling. It can help them understand why they act
as they do. And it can teach them how to interact with others in more positive
ways. Family counseling is especially helpful for these children.