Definition of Bullying

Bullying is intentionally aggressive behavior that can take many forms (verbal, physical, social/relational/emotional, or cyber bullying — or any combination of these); it involves an imbalance of power, and is often repeated over a period of time. The bullying is generally unprovoked and can consist of one child bullying another, a group of children ganging up against one lone child, or one group of kids targeting another group.

Common behaviors attributed to bullying include put-downs, name calling, rumors, verbal threats, menacing, harassment, intimidation, social isolation or exclusion, and physical assaults. Bullying can happen anywhere, but occurs primarily in places with little adult supervision such as at the bus stop, on the bus, in the school bathroom, hallway, cafeteria, and on the playground. It also happens when groups of children play unsupervised at a friend's house or in a neighboring yard.

Don't be reluctant to discuss bullying with your young child; you won't frighten her. Studies show that by kindergarten, most children can identify the class bullies and can tell you exactly what they do to hurt other kids. A great way to bully proof your child is to talk with her (early and often) about bullies, read age-appropriate bully related books together, and role play ways to ignore or confront another child who attempts to bully her.

Alert!

According to a 2001 study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation & Children Now, “Teasing and bullying were first on the minds of children when asked what threatens their safety and emotional well-being.” With bullying first on the minds of children, it should be first and foremost on the minds of the adults who care for them.

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