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21 Comments

Bullying has become epidemic. It seems to be everywhere – in workplaces, schools, families, car parks, supermarkets, on the street, online – everywhere.

Recently my daughter has had to deal with being bullied on a regular basis at school. She has been called names, kicked, punched, pushed, and been hit with a school hat. She is 8. 

We called the school to see what we could do and they were more than willing to address the problem.

The kids that have been bullying my daughter are young. They are also 8. So where does this behaviour come from? Their parents, their siblings? Them? They certainly weren’t born a bully. You don’t see newborn babies hitting, kicking, and being aggressive, do you? And can we really stop bullying?

Is it possible that bullying is actually a learned behaviour? And if so, where is this learnt from?

In my experience it comes from not being able to deal with what we are feeling. Not feeling equipped to handle the hurt we experience in life. So these hurts are internalised and then as children we begin to ‘act out’. But instead of being supported to express what is going on for us internally and why we are ‘acting out’ we are dismissed, punished, told to stop it, or ignored.

The hurt doesn’t go away, instead it accumulates, and we learn that being aggressive helps us to relieve the build up of hurt inside. In a way bullying is sharing the hurt around. And bullying indeed hurts – both the bully and the one being bullied. Because it is not the way we are innately programmed to be with each other.

Aggression is not one of our natural qualities. We are naturally caring, nurturing beings.

So what can we do about it?

First we need to open our eyes and see the extent of bullying that is rife in our world, in our schools, in our neighbourhoods, online and say NO to it. This will not end it immediately, but it is a start and sets an example for others to see.

If one of us says NO then all of us can say NO – equally.

When my daughter left for school this morning I made sure she knew that by her saying NO to the way she has been treated she is not just saying NO for herself, she is saying NO for the entire class, the school – for humanity.

In this moment I was so proud of her my chest filled with love for this brave girl who was willing (and absolutely supported) to stand up and claim that being bullied is not OK and doesn’t need to be tolerated.

Have you had any experience with bullying? SHARE with us in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • there is a child at school who hits every body and nothing is really done about this behaviour and he just continues on….

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  • I agree in that bullying is way out of control and needs to be dealt with urgently.

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  • Bullying seems to be really getting out of hand at the moment.

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  • My son was bullied by another 5 year old. I think the little thug hadn’t been taught how to vehave in a civilised fashion.

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  • It can be so hard for a child to stand up and say no.

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  • It has been really great to see the surgence of anti-bullying. As a parent, I think many are failing with internet supervision which is the leading contributor to online bullying. It starts at such a young age, teaching them that just because someone looks different or talks different or they just don’t like them, that it is no excuse for calling names etc. I have copped the dreaded “i hate you” a number of times, because even in front of school friends, I will stop him and tell him that what he has said is mean and bullying, and I have no qualms telling his friends I dont want to hear it from them either.
    In the end, I am his parent, not his friend and if I don’t instill these behaivours, who will?

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  • Its sad but I do think that some of the children that are doing the teasing learn these things from their parents. They listen to their parents gossip and bitch about someone and they then act it out as it makes them feel big…just like Mum or Dad. :(


    • I have to agree with you. Kids do learn by example a lot.

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  • Great article, explaining why bullying occurs and how to deal with it properly. Hurt people hurt people. Kids need to be taught the right ways for dealing with their emotions, ones that don’t hurt anyone else.

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  • I definately agree with you on this Robyn, there are way too many different types of bullying these days and I get scared for my daughter as she will be starting school next year :-(

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  • My son was repeatedly bullied at school for years, from Grade 3. We finally changed schools end of Term 1 in Grade 6 when we realised the school were not capable of, or prepared to deal with it. I was a fairly involved parent at school and felt terribly let down by them. We always gave the school and teachers the benefit of the doubt that things were being recorded and handled, but in the end, their bullying process was ineffective, ridiculous, and benefited only the bully. It wasn’t until my son changed schools that I realised how the bullying had crushed his personality, and had been far worse than we had realised.

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  • It starts when the child is young. It’s simple things you say to a child that eventually accumulate such as ‘your silly’, ‘don’t be stupid’, ‘your disgusting’. If your saying these things to your/a child then you are actually bullying that poor child. You’re giving the child an impression that it’s ok to say these things which it’s not ok to call people names. They are going to end up in a lot of trouble when in school.

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  • I was bullied as a child as young as 5 yrs old in the late 1960’s & even tho we moved around a lot it still continued at each of the other schools I attended. The only time I was not a target was when we lived in Malaysia for a couple of years, different culture & much more respect there. Back in Australia it started again but I never hit back until I was in year 10 when I just could not take it any longer. A girl came up behind me & started to hit me so I spun around hitting her in the face so they all left me alone after that. I was also being abused at home for about the same period of time, physically & other forms which I won’t discuss here. I left home age 17 to escape it but I married someone when I was 23 who was also a bully. I am told that it is hard to break the abuse cycle & I was in that relationship for 17 yrs but the abuse from my now x husband did not stop till recently now my children are grown up & I no longer have to deal with him.
    My eldest child became a victim in preschool of all places & you would not expect that from 4 yr old kids, at that stage our children were being told not to hit back even if it was self defence. It continued into kindergarten at school which continued through year 1, tried getting the school to act on it, I tried play dates with the child involved & his parents knew there was a problem but were struggling to correct it. So after a stint in hospital at age 6 where my son had stomach ulcers from the stress of it all I pulled him from that school & enrolled him elsewhere. It was all good for some time but it started again & the school jumped on it immediately but it continued on the school bus. So I taught my son self defence, he only had to use it once & the bully backed off , he stayed free of it for the rest of his schooling. When my younger son was in high school another boy tried to bully him & he just ignored it but when the bully tried it on one of his close friends he flattened the bully with 1 hit. He expected to be in trouble for it but oddly enough his teachers commended him for sticking up for others & told us that it had sorted the bully out which they said was seriously needed. I don’t condone any form of violence but when you are being attacked by others you should have the right to stop it, my children only ever hit back when the situation warranted it such as defending themselves or others when being assaulted by these thugs. The serious damage is that being bullied erodes your self confidence & it is hard to get that back even when it stops. I strongly recommend kids learn self defence of some kind, it saved me when I left my husband & he tried to kick me in the head, it is also stopped my children being victims of bullying. It also teaches them self control & respect for themselves as well as others, I am thankful that my sons got over the problems caused by bullies & are now self confident young men who are contributing to society. I feel the problem lays within the school system where they are teaching our kids not to defend themselves for any reason which gives power to bullies.


    • Wow, you must be very strong to survive what you tell here ! Personally I think it’s very important to teach our children self respect and respect for each other.

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  • Never had to deal with this issue in my day – things have changed as now there isn’t any respect for parents, teachers and those in law and order including ambulance officers.

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  • Think indeed that the one who bullies is not able to cope with his / her feelings. I often think they feel low themselves and need others to feel low as well to have the feeling to rise above them. The one who bullies could use some help in expressing feelings and build positive self-esteem, but most likely his/her behaviour is causing them to feel more negative.

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  • Lke he

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