Understanding Bullying

If you are being bullied, you’re NOT alone!

Bullying is a serious problem, which is taking place in every school and every community in Canada!

Many concerned organizations like the Canadian Safe School Network have spoken to students and have found that between 50% and 75% of students reported being bullied! This means for every two students, one of them is being bullied! In some cases, for every 4 students, 3 are being bullied!

If you are being bullied, we know how horrible you must feel. Many students who are bullied have trouble sleeping, focusing on school work and are afraid to go to school.  NO ONE DESERVES TO BE BULLIED and there are ways to make the bullying STOP.

Everyone can do something to make bullying stop - those who are bullied, those doing the bullying, adults, and even bystanders (people who witness bullying).

Have you felt feelings like these?

  • My brother sometimes likes to get together with his friends and pick on me and I can’t fight back. I wish I could get him back, but mostly I just wish he’d STOP. 

  • I felt really sad and I didn’t know what to do when I was left out of a group. I think it was because I wasn’t cool enough. 

  • My brother’s friend keeps beating me up. I’m scared and I can’t get away from him. I wish he would stop hurting me. 

  • I have people in my class who leave me out, even though I would like to be friends with them. I would like someone to stand up for me, or I wish I had the courage to say what I feel. 

  • A boy threatened my friend and tried to force her to do something she didn’t want to do. She got so frightened she talked to an older student about it. 

  • My friend had a party and invited everyone but me. I felt bad and I thought she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. 

  • A girl at school is constantly being made fun of and excluded. The group pretends to be friends and they make her do tricks. Then they laugh at her and imitate her behind her back. 

  • My friend is always being teased because she is overweight. She is called names like “oinker” and “fatty”. I wish I could help her. 

  • I am teased for being very smart. I hope someone of higher authority will give a warning to the person who is mean. 

  • My friend decided to be friends with the popular girl. She made fun of me because I wouldn’t swear and told lies about me to my friends. 

  • I felt like not coming to school because the teasing was so horrible. I felt really bad like I was rotting inside and I couldn’t do anything about it.

If you’ve ever felt feelings like any of these, talk to your parents, a guidance counsellor at school, or some other adult you trust. You don’t have to go through this alone!

Why do kids bully other kids?

Kids bully to get attention, to feel powerful or to make themselves feel better if they are feeling angry, sad or unaccepted. In fact, many kids who bully were once victims of bullying! Many of the most violent acts that have taken place in our schools are carried out by students who were once bullied!

When kids bully, they feel important and powerful because, when they bully, they often get the attention of other students. Kids who bully may have never learned how to deal with conflict peacefully – they may come from families where everyone deals with each other by shouting, name calling or hurting each other physically.

Fortunately kids who bully can learn to change their behaviour. But they need the help, understanding and patience of caring adults to counsel them and teach them ways to deal with their negative feelings. Children who bully and who don’t get help usually grow up to be adults who bully.  They may bully people they work with, their husbands or wives and their children.

Unfortunately there will probably always be students who bully others. Even adults get bullied! But this doesn’t mean that we should give up on trying to stop bullying.  We can all learn, kids and adults, how to deal with those who bully, and protect ourselves.

It’s important for the rest of us to remember that those who bully look for people who they know will be easily upset or who they know won’t stand up to them. To make bullying stop we must first learn when and how we can stand up for ourselves and when and how to get help.

At the same time, kids who bully need help and support to learn how to deal with their anger and change their behaviour.

If we all play our part – those who bully, those who are bullied, bystanders and adults – we can make a huge difference in how often bullying happens.

What would you do about bullying?

Have you ever seen someone else get bullied, or been bullied yourself? How did you feel about it? Many youth have told us what they think:

  • I would tell the bullies to cut it out because it is not cool. 

  • If you want respect, you have to give respect. 

  • I would back up the victims so they feel people are on their side. 

  • I will try to help people who are weak and don’t have friends. 

  • Violence doesn’t solve anything. 

  • I’d make friends with the bullies and the victims so neither feels excluded or left out. Then I would be an example for everyone. By doing this, it would cut down on a lot of bad experiences. 

  • If I had power, I would make sure our school is safe for everyone because a school is supposed to be a safe and fun place to learn. 

  • I would help out some of the victims I see that are getting bullied. I would back them up so they will feel confident that there are people on their side. 

  • I think students need to know what the consequences of their actions are. 

  • Easy targets get picked on because they are alone or do not have friends and the bullies see this. I would talk to them even if it were just to say hi. 

  • Violence is ignorance. 

  • People should learn that everyone is different.