CHILDREN AND BULLYING

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1 EVERYDAY CHALLENGES: CHILDREN AND BULLYING Did you know...? Bullying happens once every seven minutes on the playground and once every 25 minutes in class. Bullying episodes are approximately one minute long but the emotional scars can last a lifetime. By age 24, 60 per cent of identified boy bullies have a criminal record. Victims of bullying are often rejected by their peers and are at risk for depression and dropping out of school. Some see suicide as their only escape. Bullying is a sad, tragic reality that affects virtually every Canadian child as a victim, bully or bystander. And as much as we would like to be there for our children, the reality is that most bullying episodes occur when adults aren't around. It's therefore essential that we empower children with tools to address bullying on their own. Canadian research says that peers or bully bystanders are key to addressing the issue of bullying, because they are present in 85 per cent of the bullying episodes on the playground and in the classroom, whereas adults are seldom present. The unfortunate thing is that although 80 to 90 per cent of students indicate that watching bullying makes them uncomfortable, the majority of the time, bully bystanders reinforce bullying by passively watching (54 per cent) or actively modelling bullying behaviours (21 per cent). At the same time, we know that they can be instrumental in stopping bullying because when peers do intervene on behalf of the victim, bullying stops within ten seconds 57 per cent of the time. The trick is to teach children how to intervene appropriately so they don't put themselves or anyone else in danger, while trying to make a difference. CCA's anti-bullying commercial, "Walk Away" aims to empower bully bystanders or the "silent majority" that might stand and watch bullying with practical tools and information to safely help stop bullying. Take a look at T V & M E 61

2 EVERYDAY CHALLENGES: CHILDREN AND BULLYING As well, the following pages list tips for children on how to help stop bullying, and tips for parents, caregivers and coaches on helping children deal with bullying, either as victims, bullies or bystanders. We hope you find them useful. Craig, W. & Pepler, D. J. (1997). Observations of bullying and victimization in the schoolyard. Canadian Journal of School Psychology,13, Luorusso, Angela (August 2000). Bully Prevention Program. Community Resource Centre of Goulbourn, Kanata and West Carleton. Olweus D. Bully/victim problems among school children: Some basic facts and effects of a school based intervention program. In: Pepler D, Rubin K, eds. The Development and Treatment of Childhood Aggression. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991: Perry DG, Kusel S, Perry LC. Victims of peer aggression. Dev Pschol 1988; 24: Parker JG, Asher SR. Peer relations and later personal adjustment: Are low-accepted children at risk? Psychol Bull 1987; 102: Pepler, Debra & Wendy Craig, Making a Difference in Bullying, April Pepler, D.J., Craig, W., O'Connell, P., Connolly, J., Atlas, R., Sedigdeilami, F., Smith, C., and Kent, D. (1997). "Prevalence of bullying and victimization among Canadian elementary and middle school children. Manuscript in preparation. O'Connell P, Pepler D, Craig W. Peer involvement in bullying: Insights and challenges for intervention. J Adolesc 1999; 22: Pepler, D. J., Hawkins, D. L., & Craig, W. M. (2001). Naturalistic observations of peer interventions in bullying among elementary school children. Social Development, 10, T V & M E

3 HELPING CHILDREN TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN BULLYING Tips for Parents, Caregivers and Coaches from CCA: Explain Their Role Explain to children how crucial they are to stopping bullying. Bullying requires an audience, and without an audience, the bully has no power. Remind children the next time they see bullying to walk away. Encourage Safe Measures Tell children to keep their own safety in mind when dealing with bullying, and to leave any potentially dangerous bullying scene to find a grown-up to help. Help Define Bullying Remind children that bullying is not just about hitting or pushing and that emotional bullying, such as calling names or leaving other kids out is equally as harmful and wrong. Advocate for Potential Victims In order to assist potential victims, encourage children to get to know withdrawn children who find it difficult to make friends, and to get their friends to do the same. Help Spread the Word Challenge children to talk to other children about the fact that bullying isn t cool. It won t be long before the word catches on. Encourage Communication Ask children to tell you or another trusted adult when they see bullying of any kind. Assure them you re there to listen and help and that you won t get upset. Praise Communication Congratulate them when they do talk to you about bullying. Encourage them to tell their friends to talk to the adults they trust about bullying too. Value Differences Work with children to develop a code of mutual respect. Remind them that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, regardless of race, size, skin colour, hobbies, religion, clothing, beliefs, anything at all. Change Takes Time Remind children that ending bullying won t happen overnight. Try relaying bullying episodes from your childhood so they understand that change takes time. Help Is There Remember whether you're the parent of a bystander, victim, or bully, someone is there to listen if you have parenting concerns. Call Parent Help Line at T V & M E 63

4 TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT BULLYING Tips for Parents of Victims and Bullies: If you think your child is a victim... Talk about it. Encourage your child to talk about school and friends. Keep the lines of communication open so they feel they can talk to you about what's going on. Build Their Confidence. Work deliberately to build your child's confidence. Remind them about what they do well and that they are good people who deserve to be treated with respect. Try Something New. Trying new things can help to build childrenõs selfesteem. Encourage your children to try something new, whether it be playing an instrument or playing team sports, which can help to build their social skills as well. Avoid Overprotection. Rather than sheltering your children from difficult situations, give them the skills to deal with them on their own. Teach Assertiveness. Encourage assertive, but not aggressive, behaviour so your children can stand up for themselves. Remind them that a bully only has power if it's given to them. Encourage Socializing. Bullies target shy, introverted children. Encourage your children to try and develop new friendships and to surround themselves with friends. Kids Help Phone is There. Sometimes, as much as we would like to talk to our children, they're just not comfortable talking to us. Remind your children that if they need someone to talk to, Kids Help Phone is there to listen at If you think your child is a bully... Stay Calm. Now, more than ever, it's important to model good listening and problem solving skills. Don't deny the fact that your child is a bully or take it personally, but begin immediately trying to rectify the situation. Be Clear. Explain that any type of bullying or any mistreatment of another human being is absolutely unacceptable, whether it be at home, school or play. Explain Sticks and Stones. Explain that teasing and name-calling is just as bad as hitting and kicking. In the cases of emotional bullying, they might not realize the harm they're causing. 64 T V & M E

5 Channel Their Energy. Encourage your child to use their energy and express their emotions in constructive ways. For example, team sports and physical activity can be a positive outlet for high-energy children. Teach Respect for Other's Differences. Prejudice is often the basis for mistreatment of other people. Work with your children to develop a code of mutual respect for all people, regardless of race, religion, background, clothing, or anything at all. Encourage Empathy. Try and get your children to put themselves in the shoes of the victim. Set an Example. Let your own actions illustrate how important it is to be kind to other people and how to solve problems in a positive manner. T V & M E 65

6 PUT AN END TO BULLYING - TIPS FOR KIDS Recognize Bullying Bullying comes in many different forms - all equally painful and wrong. Whether it's hitting or pushing; ridiculing or calling names; ignoring or spreading nasty rumours, don't put up with bullying in your school or community. It makes everyone feel bad. Keep Track of Places Work with friends to take note of places where bullying occurs. Pass this information on to teachers, playground officers, bus drivers, any grown-up - they want to help! Define Cool Spread the word in your school or community that bullying isn't acceptable. Once the word catches on, it won't be long before everyone realizes that bullying isn't cool. Speak up! State clearly to the bully that you and your friends won't be involved in any bullying. When someone is bullying someone else, speak up and tell them that bullying is wrong. If it doesn't feel safe, get help. Help the Victim Make an effort to get to know kids who are picked on. If they seem sad or worried, tell them there is help available - they can tell a parent, teacher, or coach or they can call Kids Help Phone at Ask them to join you. Be sure they're not alone. Bullies need help too Be firm that bullying is wrong, but don't ever be mean to the bully. Most times, bullies are bullies because they're unhappy inside. Remember - they need help and understanding too. 66 T V & M E

7 Walk Away! By standing and watching bullying, you're encouraging it. Walk away as soon as you see something mean, nasty or threatening happening, and then go and get help! Choose your Friends Wisely Make it clear to your friends that you will not put up with bullying. Refuse to spend time with people who are mean to others. Share the Responsibility Everyone has a responsibility to help stop bullying. Spread the word that bullying isn't cool. Support victims. Speak up or get help when you see it happening. Make sure you're doing your part. Be a Leader of Cool Take steps to stop bullying in your school. Talk to your teacher or principal and ask for help in setting up a "Say No to Bullying" campaign. T V & M E 67

8 TIPS FOR KIDS BEING BULLIED FROM KIDS HELP PHONE Bullying is scary and embarrassing. It can make you feel as if it's your fault. It's not! There are things you can do to make bullying stop. Here are some tips. Stay calm and don't act upset or angry: bullies love a reaction. Practise what you'll do the next time it happens. If you don't act upset or react the way they want you to, they might get bored and stop. Don't fight back. If you fight back you could make the situation worse, get hurt, or be blamed for starting the trouble. Try to calmly withdraw from the situation. Try to ignore the bullying or say "no" really firmly, then turn and walk away calmly. It's very hard for the bully to go on bullying someone who won't stand still and listen. Give your stuff up, if it's either you or your stuff. Things can be replaced - you can't! Avoid being alone in places where you know the bully is likely to pick on you. It's not fair that you have to do this but it might put the bully off until you talk to an adult or find another solution to stop the bullying. Don't be afraid to tell an adult you trust, like a teacher or your mom or dad, and keep telling them over and over again. You don t have to let them take over. You can talk with them about what you would like to happen. Most of all, don't give up. Being bullied can make you feel really bad about yourself and very discouraged. This is exactly what the bullies are hoping for. If you give in, they will be able to take advantage of you in different ways and at different times. If you're feeling like giving up, make sure you talk to someone. Don't forget Kids Help Phone at is always confidential and free. Or check out the "Violence" section of the Kids Help Phone website, Kids Help Phone and Bell Online: 68 T V & M E

9 ARE YOU A BULLY? Tips for Bullies from Concerned Children s Advertisers: Weigh the Odds. Decide if bullying is worth getting in trouble, possibly hurting yourself or others and turning people away from you for a long time. Chances are, you just want to make a point, but it's probably not worth the price and you likely won't get what you want. Put yourself in their shoes. As hard as it is, try and understand what it would be like for others to be mean and nasty to you, and to be unable to defend yourself. If you can even slightly identify with the feelings of a victim, it won't be long before you stop. Appreciate People's Differences. Instead of picking on people for being different, use it as an opportunity to learn new things. Ask children who are different from you about their background, beliefs, favourite foods and music - they might introduce you to something new to enjoy. Temper Triggers. Learn to recognize your 'temper triggers.' When someone pushes the wrong button, just take a deep breath and walk away. That way YOU are the one in control of the situation. Cool Down. Try not to act out in anger. When you are upset, give yourself time to cool off. Go for a walk. Call a family member. Listen to some music. Think of something that makes you feel good. Express Things Differently. Channel your energy by doing something active or creative. Sports are fun, challenging and a great way to learn how to get along with other kids; writing, painting or drawing can make you feel a whole lot better. Try sharing your thoughts on paper with someone you trust. T V & M E 69

10 It's Not Funny! You might think that being mean to other kids is funny because others are watching and laughing. Know that they're watching and laughing because they're frightened of you. It's really not funny at all. Get some advice. Know that it's okay to be angry and upset, but it's not okay to take it out on people. When you feel angry, try talking to a grown up or friend you trust instead or call Kids Help Phone at Learn to Get Along. Talk to your parent or teacher about helping you find ways to get along with other children. Your school library might have books or games to help you learn how to get along with others and start enjoying life. Be a Real Leader. You're already a leader, because other people often watch you pick on others. Instead of being mean and nasty, set a real example by being kind and respectful of other kids. Think of how good you'll feel when others follow your lead. 70 T V & M E

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