. Bullying | Middle Years Children | Manitoba Parent Zone

Middle Years Children - Behaviour


Bullying is not a normal phase or stage that children go through. Bullying can be physical, emotional, verbal or electronic but all bullying is wrong and hurtful. According to the Government of Canada's Healthy Canadians website, bullying is often defined as "wilful, repeated aggressive behaviour that is used by a child to maintain power over another child." The result is that "a victimized child caught in an abusive relationship." Bullying may include the following:

  • Unequal power? One child has more power than another child (or it seems this way to the children involved).
  • Hurtful actions? Physically or psychologically harmful behaviour takes place (such as name-calling, insults, threats, kicking, hitting, punching, and so on).
  • Direct or indirect actions? The abusive behaviour may be face-to-face or done behind a child's back (such as teasing, exclusion, gossiping and spreading rumours).
  • Repetitive behaviour? The hurtful actions keep happening, so the child being affected finds it increasingly difficult to escape.

Bullies may make fun of others for many things including their appearance, their behaviour, their race or religion, their social status or their sexual identity or orientation. There are many different types of bullying including:

  • Physical bullying: This type of bullying is when bullies physically hurt their targets and may include pushing, tripping, punching and hitting. Any form of touching that a person does not want and agree to may be bullying, including sexual assault.
  • Verbal bullying: This type of bullying includes taunting or teasing someone.
  • Psychological or emotional bullying: This type of bullying includes gossiping about or excluding a person to make them feel bad about themselves.
  • Cyberbullying: This type of bullying is when bullies use the internet and social media to bully their victims. The may say or do things online that they would never say in person, including sending mean texts, leaving a mean post or comment on social media with the intent of making their victim feel badly about themselves. They may also post personal information, pictures or videos designed to hurt their victim.

Speak to your child about bullying. Make sure you and your child know who to speak to about bullying and encourage your child to stand up to bullies and not engage in bullying behaviour themselves. Children often bully others in front of people; tell your child to walk away if this happens, both if they are the victim or a bystander, and get help. Let them know that they give the bully more power if they stay and watch instead.

If your child is being bullied at school, tell them it isn't their fault. Encourage them to walk away from the bully and tell a teacher or adult what is happening. You can also tell your child that it's alright to tell the bully to stop, although some children may not feel comfortable speaking up to the bully. It is up to parents, children and the school to make sure it doesn't continue.

Signs that your child may be getting bullied include acting differently, seeming anxious, not eating, not sleeping well, not doing things they usually enjoy, seeming moodier or more easily upset than usual, avoiding certain situations (ex. Taking the school bus) and having trouble with their schoolwork.

If your child is bullying others at school, speak to your child about how others feel when they are bullying them. Ask your child why they are bullying others; often children who are bullying feel badly about something about themselves, such as their self-image or their grades. Speak to your school about getting help for your child. Praise your child when they act appropriately around other children and friends.

Picking on someone else to cause physical or emotional harm, humiliation and fear is a learned behaviour. Find out how to stop it: