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Bullying Information

S.A.C.K. Foundation: KINDer Kids Program
The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander

Barbara Coloroso

What is bullying?

The conscious, willful & deliberate hostile activity intended to harm, induce fear through the threat of further aggression and create terror. Not about anger or conflict - it's about contempt Contempt reflects: A sense of entitlement Intolerance of others Liberty to exclude

3 Kinds of bullying:

  1. Verbal - most common (70% of bullying)
  2. Physical - most visible (less than 33%)
  3. Relational - most difficult to detect and the most powerful in middle years - onset of adolescence

Bullying is Not:

  1. Normal childhood behavior
  2. Sibling rivalry
  3. Impulsive aggression

Kids can easily swap roles
Not intended to hurt
Maintains the dignity of everyone
Pokes fun - lighthearted, clever
Intends both parties to laugh
Innocent in motive
Stops when someone gets upset

Imbalance of Power
Intends harm
Humiliates, cruel, demeaning
Laughs at target
Diminishes self-worth
Continues especially if someone gets upset

Warning signs that a child has been bullied:

  1. Abrupt lack of interest in school
  2. Takes unusual route to school
  3. Grades suffer
  4. Withdraws from family & school activities
  5. Is hungry after school - says he lost his money or lunch
  6. Takes money from parents with lame excuses
  7. Makes beeline for bathroom when she gets home
  8. Sad, sullen, angry or scared after receiving a phone call or email
  9. Does something out of character
  10. Uses derogatory or demeaning language about peers
  11. Stops talking about peers
  12. Has disheveled, torn or missing clothing
  13. Physical injuries not consistent with explanation
  14. Stomachaches, headaches, panic attacks, can't sleep, sleeps too much, exhaustion

Why won't he tell an adult?

  1. Ashamed
  2. Fear of retaliation
  3. Doesn't think an adult can help
  4. Doesn't think an adult will help
  5. Bought into the concept that bullying is a part of growing up
  6. Believes adults are a part of the lie (that it is a part of growing up) since adults also bully them
  7. Learning that "ratting" on a peer is bad

The cover-up:

Kids try to cover their shame, humiliation, embarrassment, etc. with fake smiles & nervous laughter. If it is not relieved he can Implode or Explode

What to do if a child is bullied:


  1. Listen to what the child says, reassure him that he is not alone. Hear about his hurt and pain before getting the facts!
  2. Reassure him that it is not his fault
  3. Help him figure how to assertively stand up to bullying
  4. Report the bullying to the school
  5. Reinforce:
    Tattling is getting another child in trouble Telling is getting yourself or another child out of trouble You need to KNOW if it telling or both of the above


  1. Minimize, rationalize or explain the behavior of the bully
  2. Rush to solve the problem unless there is serious danger
  3. Tell him to avoid the bully - bullies smell fear
  4. Tell him to fight back - there is usually an unequal balance of power and the child may get hurt.
  5. Confront the bully or his parents alone, take a counselor or another adult


81% peers reinforced the bullying
85% peers were involved in some way
48% peers were active participants
13% peers intervened

Why don't they intervene?

  1. The bully is my friend
  2. It's not my problem (apathy & indifference breeds contempt)
  3. He's a loser anyway
  4. She's not my friend
  5. He deserved it
  6. Bullying will toughen him up (often the attitude of adults)
  7. A deeply embedded code of silence
  8. It's better to be in the in-group than defend the outcasts
  9. It's too much effort

Important concept: Children need to recognize that they are responsible to create a safe, caring, respectful and bully-free environment at their school

What to do with the bully: Intervene immediately

  1. Show the bully what he did wrong
  2. Give him ownership of the problem
  3. Give the process for solving the problem
  4. Leave his dignity intact. He's not a bad person, he's capable of being a decent, caring, responsible person

With discipline not punishment

  1. Restitution - she must fix what she did or said an apology should be requested - not demanded it must be a sincere apology - obligatory doesn't heal Repentance only comes after working through restitution
  2. Resolution - he must figure a way to keep it from happening again (can't undo what's done, wishing it didn't happen doesn't work) admitting guilt and why it happened understanding her own feelings (anger, jealous, hurt)
  3. Reconcillation - she must heal with the person who was harmed

What can we do to avoid becoming a bully?

  1. Intervene immediately if an incident occurs
  2. Create opportunities to "do good"
  3. Nurture empathy
  4. Teach friendship skills (friends can be a buffer against bullies)
    1. You control 50% of the relationship
    2. You influence 100% of the relationship (how you play can make a big difference)
    3. "No" is a complete sentence
    4. Show kindness & respect
    5. Stick up for your friend
    6. Be supportive when he needs help or advice
    7. Tell the truth (but be kind)
    8. If you hurt your friend - say you're sorry
    9. If your friend hurts you and apologizes - accept his apology

Antidotes to being a target

5 Personality factors that seem to protect kids

  1. Friendliness
  2. Willingness to share
  3. Willingness to cooperate
  4. Skill in joining the play of other kids
  5. Sense of humor

Strong sense of self
Teach assertive lines:

"I am a decent, caring, responsible person. I didn't ask for this. I don't deserve this. That bully made a mistake, is obviously having a bad day & is trying to get his needs met in a mean way."

"Yikes, I'm not up for this. I'm out of here."

"Wow, man, you poured that on thick; I don't need this; I'm gone."

"That was a gross thing to do. It's beneath both of us."

Older kids as buddies
Having friends
Teach children to express their feelings using "I" sentences
School Philosophy: This is the way we do things here!