Common Questions About Bullying
It could happen to anyone.
Here are some questions about bullying. Click on each question to find the answer or just scroll down the page.
I don’t understand exactly what bullying is. Can you explain it?
I am being bullied. What should I do?
My friends bully other people. I feel like I have to go along with it. What should I do?
People that bully me always seem to have an excuse, and they get away with it. Why does this happen?
Can adults be bullies?
I only get bullied in certain places, like when I walk home from school or get changed for gym class. Can you tell me why this happens?
I feel awful when I get bullied. I don’t want to tell anybody, I just want to be alone. Why do I feel this way?
Why are some people bullied and not others?
How do people turn into bullies?
Q. I don’t understand exactly what bullying is. Can you explain it?
A. Bullying is when someone is mean to someone else over and over again. The mean person might call you names or use bad language. They might make faces or try to upset you by talking behind your back. They might even try to hit, punch or shove you down. They also might try leaving you out of an activity to make you feel bad. All of these things can be bullying behaviours.
Q. I am being bullied. What should I do?
A. Tell an adult you trust…. That might be a teacher, a parent, an older brother or sister, or another relative. Kids sometimes worry that if they tell a teacher about the bullying, the bully will find out and things will get worse. This usually doesn’t happen. Teachers can generally be trusted not to tell the bully who reported the problem. If you are concerned about the bully finding out, make sure you talk about this with your teacher. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to keep problems inside and not tell anyone. If you can’t think of anyone to talk to, phone the Kids Help Phone. The number is 1-800-668-6868. www.kidshelpphone.ca
Ignore…If the bullying is just beginning to happen, you can try to ignore the bullying. Sometimes it will stop because the person or people doing the bullying don’t get the reaction they were hoping for. If someone is hurt, an adult must be told.
Tell them to stop…
Try to be confident and ask the person or people to stop. Don’t get mad and holler or yell. Just ask them to stop in a firm voice and then walk away. This doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. It is worth a try.
What if you don’t tell?
Some kids are too worried to tell anyone about the bullying. They just hope the problem will go away. It usually doesn’t go away by itself.
Q. My friends bully other people. I feel like I have to go along with it. What should I do?
A. Try to be a good example to your friends. This can be hard, but it can really pay off. If they start being mean to someone, you can try saying something that will let them know you don’t like what they’re doing. Then walk away. You need to realize that your friends might start being mean to anyone, including you. Be prepared to find some new friends if you need to.
Q. People that bully me always seem to have an excuse, and they get away with it. Why does this happen?
A. ‘Just teasing’ or ‘kidding’ is something that bullies say a lot. It is just an excuse and most adults understand that. Some bullies are very good at turning things around and making it look like the person being bullied is really the one doing something wrong. If you are being bullied, try not to whine or lose your temper. Just try to be confident and before long an adult will likely realize what is really happening.
Q. Can adults be bullies?
A. Yes, adults can be bullies too. There are reasons why adults bully people, but it usually means they want to feel powerful. It can be really hard to deal with adult bullies. Try to be confident and find someone you can trust to talk about the problem.
Q. I only get bullied in certain places, like when I walk home from school or get changed for gym class. Can you tell me why this happens?
A. Kids often bully others when adults can’t see what they are doing. They don’t want to get punished and they don’t want to lose the power they feel when they bully people. Sometimes kids who are bullied are able to stop the bullying by changing certain things in their day. Here are some examples:
They might start walking home from school with a group of friends, even though it means going the long way home.
They might join a club or team that practices while other kids are outside. A club or a team that is supervised by an adult is usually a safe place to spend time.
They might arrange to have lunch with a friend instead of having lunch in the usual place where problems happen. Friends can often help you if you are being bullied.
Q. I feel awful when I get bullied. I don’t want to tell anybody, I just want to be alone. Why do I feel this way?
A. You are not alone. Kids of all ages, and even adults often feel that way when they are bullied. Try to tell yourself not to let those feelings take over. Try to be strong and confident and remember that every person is important, even you! You can help other people who are feeling bad because of bullying. You can be friendly and listen to what they have to say. Later, they may do the same for you.
Q. Why are some people bullied and not others?
A. People who bully others try to find differences they can use to make fun of the person. It can be anything. It can be about how people look; like their clothes, their body or their hair. It could be their culture or their religion. It can be almost anything. Remember, we are all different and that is what gives us our personality. Never be ashamed of your differences, even if people use them to make you feel bad.
Q. How do people turn into bullies?
A. Ordinary people like you and me occasionally get upset, sad or confused. Being upset, sad or confused can sometimes cause people to begin bullying others. People who bully try to make themselves feel good by making others feel bad. A person who is being bullied might try to find someone they can bully. If you realize you are starting to bully others, try really hard to stop doing it. Try to treat everybody in your life with respect. Many people agree it will pay off in the long run.