Bullying in Children

What is bullying?

Hopefully you’ve not been bullied but if you have, you know it’s pretty horrible. Bullying
can take many forms, including:

  • Physical harm: hitting, shoving or tripping
  • Emotional harm: making fun of the way a kid acts, looks or talks
  • Taunting, teasing
  • Writing mean things or sending hurtful pictures of someone online (cyberbullying)
  • Girls who bully usually do so in emotional ways
  • Boys who bully often do so in both physical and emotional ways

Why do kids bully?

Bullies seek power at someone else’s expense, and they want to harm that person over and over
— emotionally and/or physically — to get it. Basically, it’s a form of aggression where one or more kids
repeatedly intimidate, harass or abuse another kid who can’t defend himself/herself.

Bullies are typically influenced by:

1) Uncontrolled anger. The #1 cause of bullying behavior is anger, particularly in kids who
have no way to manage it.

2) No consequences. If adults don’t stop bullying behavior, it often gets worse. Bullies get the
message that this behavior is ok because adults don’t care and/or aren’t stopping it.

3) Home life. Domestic violence, emotional and/or physical abuse, anger and hostility at home
can easily turn someone into a bully.

4) Media and video games. Seeing bullying behavior in the media and in video games can be a
powerful influence, particularly if this behavior is seen as being rewarded.

5) Other factors: Low impulse control, low tolerance of frustration, a need to control or
dominate, trouble with authority and extreme aggressiveness.

What can you do if you are being bullied?

It can be really scary to be bullied and you may not know what to do if it’s happening to you. Some things you
can try:

1) Avoid the bully if you can.

2) Act confident, like you’re not easily scared. Bullies look for kids they can intimidate, so you might
practice standing up straight, looking kids in the eye and speaking firmly.

3) Talk back to the bully. Try, “Leave me alone” or “You don’t scare me.”

4) Walk away. Don’t run, even if you are scared.

5) Tell an adult. A parent, teacher or responsible adult can then take steps to stop it.

You can help other kids from being bullied

If you see someone being picked on, speak up. Simple words like, “Cut it out, that’s not funny”
or “Leave her alone” can often stop a bully from continuing the abuse. Try to get the kid being
bullied to leave the scene with you, and together, go find an adult.

Also, don’t participate in cyberbullying. If someone sends you a mean email about another
person, or a hurtful or embarrassing picture, don’t forward it. To help stop the bullying, print out
the message or photo and show it to an adult.

We’re here to listen, and to help

At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we want you to know that we care about you and what you’re going through,
as well as about your health. Please come in and talk to us if you or someone you know is being bullied —
we will keep it confidential. Together, we’ll find solutions for how to stop the bullying.

Most of all, we want to help you be healthy and happy and safe in any way we can.