Educating kids on the word ‘Bullying’:An Important Conversation

Hello Frontliners,

Its a blizzard outside on a Sunday and yours truly is thinking about work. haha..

Anyways, this week we had a day to honour anti-bullying nationally February 22nd was Pink Shirt Day.

However, along with a conversation with the local student counsellor, are we labeling mean/ rude comments as bullying? It was a question that needed to be clarify. The student counsellor decided to ask  students about the definition of bullying. Their response “any comment that the other person finds offensive.” After much discussion, secondary students mentioned that this should have been defined from the beginning.

Well they were right..

Myself and the student counsellor decided to go on the FM and talk about this issue to all community members. The word has been thrown around on a day to day and I hear it from kids, educators, and other community members. Sometimes, I even catch myself overusing the word “Bullying” in every conflict that I hear or see.

So, I want to share what was talked about and what questions we can examine as frontliners when having these conversations to our young people.

Bullying (definition): is a target victim that is intended by the bully to hurt. The act needs to be continuous and ongoing towards that one person for it to become a bullying situation.

Below you will find some questions and strategies for parents and frontliners.

Questions to ask: (To figure out if its bullying or not)

  1. What Happened? (It is important to get the full story from your child and if necessary from the teacher or other community members)
  1. How often is this act happening? (Is the physical, verbal, cyber, or psychological bullying happening to your son or daughter everyday, once a week, once every two weeks)
    1. This is an opportunity to check your child’s facebook messages, or snap chat photos
  1. Does your child feel safe going to school or anywhere else in the community? Are they starting to avoid school because they are being targeted. Are they avoiding recess?

Strategies for parents, Teachers, and other community members:

  1. If the situation is not bullying but your son or daughter did not like the comment, teach them the power of communication. (Assertive communication allows for less blame and more labeling ones feelings).


  1. It hurts me when you call me fat.
  2. It bothers me that you would spread rumours that are not true. Please talk to me

If the situation is bullying:

  1. Encourage your kids to talk to someone there are 4 ways to fight against bullying:
  • Walk Away
  • Ignore
  • Tell Someone
  • Seek for help

Communication is a powerful tool and for many of us we might force the young person to apologize for their actions but we do not take the extra time to talk about how this made us feel. A negative comment or bullying, harm was done and we need to start talking about it. 

Thank you for reading- “Be Kind to one another”




2 thoughts on “Educating kids on the word ‘Bullying’:An Important Conversation

  1. Hello Marleigh,

    You are right! Many instances of “bullying” is actually peer to peer conflict and there is no imbalance of power, therefore it is not bullying. We need to educate both kids and adults as to what constitutes bullying. We need to counsel the target that it is the bully that has the problem and not them. We need to keep their self-esteem intact and empower them to both report the incidences and to also DTIP (Don’t take it personally). We need to feed them with their successes and encourage them to verbalize how they feel – and empathize with the bully who is having a rough day and treating people in a bad way. By changing their perspective from a “victim or a target” to a sympathizer of the bully’s misguided aggressession we are assisting them to acknowledge that it is the bully that has the difficulties with relationships and not themselves. Keeping their self-esteem intact will preclude other issues from happening for the target, such as school avoidance, isolation, grades dropping, self-injury and suicide. We support the victim, but we also support the bully with interventions to increase his/her empathy and assist them to gain self-esteem by more positive methods.
    We also need to teach conflict resolution skills from an early age and let kids know that they can solve small problems on their own with their peers. I love the Kelso’s Choices program because it empowers kids to make a number of choices to solve a problem before they turn to an adult for help.

    If you would like to hear more about the Ten Lesson Plan “Supporting the Bullying Target” program, check out the webinar at calendar for April 18th, 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Deb for your response.

      You hit on really important skills that Child and Youth Care Practitioners should look at when dealing with the issue of bullying.
      I wanted to point out conflict resolution skills. Just to add, it is never too early to teach assertiveness and also problem solving.
      I think what is happening with our school in the north is that the term bullying was put out but never explained or emphasized to educators, parents, and other community members. Everything is called bullying and the problem is not shifted to the adult with all the answers.

      At one point when does the child and youth (development appropriately) need to practice problem solving skills? When should it begin? That is why I am interested to check out that program you suggested (Kelso’s Choices) because I am seeing at the secondary level that every ‘bullying’ situation that occurs, there is an assumption that the adult will fix everything.

      Will the webinar be available after April 18th to view? I am definitely interested in checking it out.


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