Do You Know?
Do You Know How To Help Your
School Age Child Deal With Bullies?

How School Age Teachers at the Learning Playhouse respond to bullies:

1. Speak to the child who is acting like a bully, explaining to them what a bully is and that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated here.

What is a bully? A bully is a child who singles out another child and frequently engages in behaviors over time, that intend to harm that child without being provoked.

2. Speak to the parents of the child who is acting like a bully, letting them know their behaviors.

3. Speak to the child who is being bullied and let them know that the other child's behavior is not acceptable and encourage them to follow these steps if being bullied:

1. Walk away
2. If walking away does not work, tell them to stop and to leave them alone
3. If neither of these work, tell a teacher in private

4. Provide consequences for the child who is acting like a bully,
including things such as: sit out / lose play time, be separated
from the group and must play by themselves for a while if they
cannot get along with others, parents will be notified, must
provide an apology to the child they were bullying.

5. Speak to the entire group generally about bullying and
consequences (above). This includes letting them know the
previously mentioned steps to follow and that it is okay to tell
a teacher if they or if a friend is being bullied.

6.  Be extra vigilant in supervising those children who have been identified to be bullying others to ensure the behavior does not continue.

"Classroom Bullying: What Teachers Can Do"
by Jim Wright
PDF booklet

Excerpts from the booklet:

"School bullying can be described as a situation in which one or more students
(the ‘bullies’) single out a child (the ‘victim’) and engage in behaviors intended to
harm that child. A bully will frequently target the same victim repeatedly over time. A
child who bullies can dominate the victim because the bully possesses more power than
the victim. Compared to his or her victim, for example, the bully may be physically stronger or more intelligent, have a larger circle of friends, or possess a higher social standing.
Bullying can inflict physical harm, emotional distress, and / or social embarrassment
or humiliation."

"There are three essential components to any bullying situation.
To start with, there must be a bully: an individual who
voluntarily seeks out and attempts to victimize others. Another
participant necessary for bullying to take place is a potential
victim: a student who is substantially weaker than the bully in
one or more significant ways. Bullying cannot happen, of course,
unless there is also a location in which it can occur. School
locations where bullying is common are often those with limited
adult supervision, such as hallways, bathrooms, and playgrounds.
While not essential, student bystanders are a fourth important
element that often impacts bullying: if witnesses are present
when bullying occurs, these bystanders can play a pivotal role
by choosing either to encourage the bully or to protect the victim."

"Bullying can be direct or indirect. When bullying takes a direct
form, the bully confronts the victim face-to-face. Examples of
direct bullying would include situations in which the victim is
verbally harassed or threatened, physically attacked
(e.g., punched, kicked, pushed down), or socially embarrassed
(e.g., taunted, refused a seat on the school bus). In the case of
indirect bullying, the bully attacks the victim’s social standing or reputation—usually when the victim is not around. A student is engaging in indirect bullying if he or she spreads malicious gossip or writes insulting graffiti about a classmate, or organizes a peer group to ostracize that classmate. Victims are at a particular disadvantage in indirect bullying because they may never discover the identity of the person or group responsible for the bullying."

"There are several reasons that a particular student may be motivated to bully. For instance, the bully may enjoy watching a weaker child suffer, like the increased social status that comes from bullying, or covet the money or personal property that he or she can steal or extort from a victim. Children who bully are likely to feel little empathy for their victims and may even feel justified in inflicting hurt because they believe that their victims ‘deserve it.’ A common myth about bullies is that they bully others to cover up their own sense of inadequacy or poor self-esteem. It appears that bullies actually possess levels of self-esteem that are about as positive as those of their non-bully peers."

"Some evidence suggests that a general shift from direct to indirect bullying takes place as children advance from elementary to middle and high school. At any grade level, boys are more likely than girls to report that they are victims of physical bullying. Schools may also tend to overlook the possibility that girls take part in bullying, both because of gender stereotypes (i.e., that girls are ‘less aggressive’ than boys) and because girls may prefer to bully using indirect means such as hurtful gossip that are difficult for adults to observe."

Parents can encourage their child who is being bullied to:

  • Walk with confidence. Stand up straight.
  • Ignore the bully, do not let a bully see that they have upset you. Get away from the situation if you start to get angry.
  • Tell them "No" firmly. Do not let anyone talk you into doing something you will feel sorry for, even if they dare you.
  • Stay with a friend or a group of friends.
  • If possible, avoid the bully.
  • Stay within a teacher's or supervisor's sight.
  • Report incidences of bullying to a teacher, supervisor, etc.

Examples of Anti-Bullying Rules are:

  • Be respectful and courteous to others
  • Welcome and include everyone
  • Help someone who is being bullied

Other links:

The National Bullying Center

Check back for more "Do You Know?" facts and tips!