October is Bullying Prevention Month: 5 Responses to Bullying Behavior

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Whether you are 25 or 65, you can probably remember a time when you were bullied or you witnessed someone being bullied. It’s an ugly part of society; nevertheless, it does happen quite frequently. In fact, some research shows that 90 percent of children in grades 4 to 8 report they have been bullied at some point. Therefore, everyone should know how to respond to a bullying situation.

So, what is bullying? Bullying is any behavior done to intentionally hurt someone. Bullying occurs when there is an imbalance of power between a bully and a victim. A bully uses physical, social, or emotional power to control or harm others. Bullying can be committed by one person or several persons against one or more people. Generally, bullying behaviors are repeated over time.

There is no way to eliminate all bullying among children and youth. But when adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable. Here are 5 good responses to bullying behavior:

  1. Intervene immediately. Seek another adult to help if necessary.
  2. Separate the kids or youth involved.
  3. Make sure everyone is safe.
  4. Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
  5. Model respectful behavior when you intervene.

In addition, avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t ignore it. Don’t assume kids can work it out without adult help.
  • Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
  • Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
  • Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
  • Don’t talk to all parties involved at the same time; talk to them separately.
  • Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.