Bullying Resources & Recommendations

“Some important strategies in stopping bullying are: providing good supervision for children; providing effective consequences to bullies; using good communication between teachers and parents; providing all children opportunities to develop good interpersonal skills; and creating a social context which is supportive and inclusive, in which aggressive, bully behaviour is not tolerated by the majority.”
- A.S.A.P.: A School-based Anti-Violence Program (1996), from which much of the content on this page is adapted.

What is bullying?
What is physical violence?
What is psychological violence?
If I’m being bullied, what can I do about it?
If I'm a witness to bullying, what can I do about it?
If I’m a bully, what can I do about it?
What can parents do if your child is the victim of bullying?
What can parents do if your child is a bully?
What can schools do?
Other resources
Statistics


What is bullying?

o Bullying is an act of violence, the taking of power by rendering another person powerless through physical or psychological domination. The only weapon in the bully’s arsenal is the manipulation and exploitation of fear.

o An imbalance of power exists between bully and victim. The bully is typically physically stronger, more confident and aggressive, and lacks empathy for the victim. Victims are typically passive, have less confidence in their physical abilities, and are often too ashamed to report bullying. Victims also tend to lack a strong network of friends (a natural bully-repellent).

o Anybody can bully and to some extent everybody has. The desire to physically or psychologically dominate someone else is common to us all as human beings. It’s only the intensity of it that makes a “Big B” Bully - and the habit, the repetition, the continuance and intention of cruelty.

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What is physical violence?

o Pushing
o Punching
o Kicking
o Tripping
o Throwing things
o Spitting
o Purple nurples
o Need I go on?

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What is psychological violence?

o Name-calling
o Evil looks
o Thoughtless laughter
o Rumours
o Threats
o Cruelty
o Theft
o Blackmail
o Social exclusion
o Anything done with the intention of causing harm

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If I’m being bullied, what can I do about it?

o First and foremost, don't let anyone break through. Don't let anyone sabotage your sense of self worth. You do not deserve to be treated like dirt and anyone who tells you otherwise lies.

o Break the silence. Be a tattle-tale, there are worse things, like continuing to be bullied. Tell. Talk. Find your voice and then use it. Don't hesitate to shout it from the rooftops. And don't stop until somebody listens.

o If you can't take control of your circumstances, take control of your ability to be independently well, which is even better and longer lasting.

o Remember that even the powerless have the power to forgive. No one can take that away from you, no one can break you that way unless you let them.

o Find your funnybone. It's not only the best medicine, it's a natural bully-repellent too.

o Screw fear. Screw insecurity. Love yourself and live confidently.

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If I'm a witness to bullying, what can I do about it?

o Break the silence. Speak up. See what happens to a crowd of observers when one steps out and objects. Wake people up to what's happening. Don't stop until somebody listens.

o Intervene. Even the dumbest idea is enough to put an end to cruel, senseless behaviour. Interrupt. Do whatever it takes to destabilize the equation of strong Xing weak = power.

o As the witness, the bully wants something from you. Your fear, your respect, your submission, your laughter, whatever. You have power over the bully, the power to grant or deny what the bully wants. So deny it. Refuse to give your fear, your respect, your sumission, your laughter. Be appalled. Find your voice and then use it.

o Find your funnybone too.

o Screw apathy. Be appalled. Butt in.

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If I’m a bully, what can I do about it?

o Stop it. You can do better than that.

o Break the silence. Talk to someone. Don't kid yourself, a person who wants others to hurt is a person who's hurting.

o Don't tell yourself lies. Don't disguise your wrongdoing as "just for fun."

o Think about what your words and actions reveal about you. Bullying is like a drug, it offers a quick fix of feeling stronger, smarter, cooler. It's a form of addiction, an habitual escape from what's really going on - feeling weak, feeling afraid, hating myself, hating my life. And bullying is as transparent as any other kind of under-the-influence behaviour. Be smarter than that. Don't be so quick to reveal your weakness and fear through the habit you use to sooth the storm inside.

o Change. Whatever turn you have to make to make life better for you and everyone else, do it. You are radically free and don't you forget it. Use your strength or your intelligence to protect instead of destroy, for example, or to inspire instead of to devastate.

o Screw fear. Screw insecurity. Love yourself and everyone else, it's easy if you try.

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What can parents do if your child is the victim of bullying?

o Break the silence. Talk to your child. Ask direct questions. Be aware that both bullies and victims will be reluctant to confess.
o Pay attention. Look for signs such as fear of going to school, lack of friends, missing belongings, torn or dirtied clothing, increasing withdrawal or anxiety.
o Accompany your child or arrange for your child to get to and from school with older, supportive children.
o Encourage your child to participate in positive social groups and activities.
o Work with the school, develop relationships with teachers and staff, respond immediately to problems, advocate for effective consequences for the bully and for the involvement of the bully's parents, encourage the school to implement anti-bullying programs.
o Model self-esteem and how to respond non-violently and compassionately to the violence of others.
o Get the support you need.
o Get the support your child needs.

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What can parents do if your child is a bully?

o Break the silence. Talk to your child. Ask direct questions. Be aware that the bully will try to deny or minimize events.
o Take the problem seriously. Remember that there are many forms of bullying and even the subtlest can be devastating. Remember also that bullies often grow up to be aggressive adults with increased risk of criminal convictions and have difficulty forming healthy relationships.
o Teach your child empathy. The importance of empathy must be understood and empathy itself must be learned and practiced. Discuss the negative impact bullying has on the victim - and the bully.
o Take off your rose-coloured glasses. Cruel behaviour is cruel behaviour, even if the bully claims it was “just for fun.” Bullying doesn’t make a rotten child – good children do bad things – just don’t tolerate or overlook or excuse harmful behaviour.
o Enforce consequences. Immediately, appropriately, lovingly, non-violently.
o Supervise and be engaged with your child.
o Cooperate with the school in responding to your child’s behaviour. Develop relationships with teachers and staff to support one another’s efforts.
o Praise your child’s efforts to improve.
o Restrict access to violent or aggressive movies and video games, which increase violent and aggressive behaviour.
o Model respect, kindness and healthy conflict resolution at home.
o Get the support you need.
o Get the support your child needs.

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What can schools do?

o Break the silence. Bullying can be significantly reduced by a well-implemented program with staff, parent, and community support.
o Ensure that staff are aware and involved and that supervision is a priority not only in classrooms but also and especially in the schoolyard and hallways.
o Improve communication at and between all levels, from the board to administrators to teachers to students and parents.
o Survey students and teachers with regard to bully/victim problems.
o Teach staff and students about the many forms and faces of bullying and aggressive behaviour.
o Teach parents about the many forms and faces of bullying and aggressive behaviour.
o Set specific class rules against bullying and make the consequences known.
o Enforce consequences immediately, consistently and effectively.
o Take the problem seriously. Speak seriously with both the bully and the victim individually. Have serious talks with classmates. Have serious talks with parents of both bullies and victims.
o Praise good behaviour and acts of kindness. Teaching kindness, non-violence and positive social skills should be part of the day-to-day curriculum. Encourage students to develop self-motivation in these areas as well.
o Model respect, kindness and healthy conflict resolution in the classroom. Promote communication, friendship, social and assertive skills.
o Avoid emphasis on competitiveness.
o Implement a school-wide bullying awareness program. Organize a school conference day devoted to the problem of bullying.
o If all else fails, the bully should be the one removed from the classroom or school, not the victim.

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Other resources:

Websites:

o BullyingCanada.ca
o Nameit2changeit.ca
o PinkShirtDay.ca
o KidPower.org
o Kidshelpphone.ca
o ItGetsBetter.org
o Cyberbullying
o Teaching Cyber Safety
o Physical Effects of Bullying

Children’s Books:

o One; Kathryn Otoshi
o Zero; Kathryn Otoshi

Francophone DVD resources:

o L'agression indirecte, cette violence qu'on ne voit pas
o Zéro rejet
o La danse des brutes
o Une affaire de filles

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Statistics:

o As many as 1 in 4 youth are bullied
o As many as 1 in 5 youth are bullies
o The majority of bullying stops within 10 seconds of peer intervention
o There is no intervention in 85% of all bullying
o The majority of bullies are boys
o The percentage of students who report being victims of bullying decreases with age
o Bullies become aggressive adults with higher-than-average chance of criminal convictions
o Factors increasing the risk of bullying behaviour include:
....... family (lack of attention and warmth, modelling of aggressive behaviour, poor supervision)
....... individual (aggressive or impulsive temperament, physical strength)
....... school (lack of appropriate supervision, intervention and climate of support)
o Factors increasing the risk of being bullied include:
....... quiet and shy temperament, lack of assertion
....... lack of friends and social support
....... lack of confidence in physical abilities and strength
....... poor social skills
o Long-term consequences for bullies include:
....... unhappy childhood and unpleasant memories
....... bad reputation
....... feelings of guilt, regret and shame
....... higher-than-average chance of criminal convictions as adults
o Long-term consequences for victims of bullying include:
....... unhappy childhood and unpleasant memories
....... feelings of fear, anxiety and low self-esteem
....... depression and suicidality
....... weakened social, academic and emotional development

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