Elementary School Ages
Bullying is a serious problem among many children in elementary school. Elementary schools are an environment where children continue to develop their social-friendship skills, are able to regulate emotions and are able to solve problems. This can be a challenge when children experience bullying.
- 33% of U.S. elementary students reported being bullied often while at school.
- 20% of kindergarten students reported being bullied often.
In elementary schools, the role of "bully" and "victim" is often blurred. The same child can be the victim of bullying one day and can display bullying behaviors the next day. A child may be socially excluded by one person/group but engage in name-calling with another person/group.
Young children can have difficulty telling the difference between teasing and bullying:
- Teasing is playful, good-natured and goes back and forth. Bullying is one-sided.
- Teasing makes up a small part of the relationship. Bullying defines the relationship.
- Teasing stops when the child tells the other person they do not like it. Bullying continues even after the victim asks for it to stop.
Sibling bullying follows the same pattern. Sibling rivalry and teasing involves good-natured competition. Sibling teasing ends when the child being teased shows distress. Sibling bullying continues even after adult intervention.
What kids can do if they are being bullied
- Walk away: It shows the bully that his/her behavior is not okay.
- Find an adult to help solve the problem: "Let's go talk to a teacher and see if we can solve this problem."
- Tell the bully that what he/she is doing is wrong and that you don't like it.
- Find strength in numbers: Ask classmates for support...bullying behavior decreases when kids don't support the bully.
- Use your voice: "I don't deserve to be hurt by you."
What kids can do if they witness bullying: PAT
- Play, or sit at lunch, with the victim. The bully will feel less power.
- Find an Adult.
- Tell the bully that his/her behavior is hurtful.
What parents can do if your child is being bullied
- Meet with the principal, teacher or counselor. Keep in contact.
- Talk with your child about his/her day, friends, lunch time, what he/she did outside and who he/she played with.
- Prompt your child to join activities (e.g. sports, music, theatre).
- Stop bullying when you see it. Praise children who stand up against bullies.
- Set a good example. Talk positively about others. Be inclusive.