Content provided by The Ottawa Bullying Prevention Coalition

What is bullying?
Bullying is a pattern of repeated aggressive behaviour, with negative intent, directed from one person to another, where there is a power imbalance. (Violence Prevention Works, 2013)


Is not a fact of life.

Is not kids just being kids.

Is not part of growing up.

Is not an acceptable behaviour.

Types of Bullying

Physical Bullying:

Includes hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, beating up, stealing or damaging property.

While physical bullying causes harm to a child's body or property, the forms of bullying below may cause psychological harm. Such offensive, degrading and rejecting behaviours undermine and destabilize victimized child's sense of self or their place in the world.

Verbal Bullying:

Includes name-calling, mocking, hurtful teasing, insults, slurs, humiliating or threatening someone, racist comments, or sexual harassment.

Social Bullying:

Includes rolling your eyes or turning away from someone, excluding others from the group, getting others to ignore or exclude, gossiping or spreading rumours, setting others up to look foolish, and damaging reputations and friendships.

Electronic or Cyberbullying:

Includes the use of email, cell phones, text messages, and internet sites to threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude, or damage reputations and friendships.

Racial Bullying:

Includes treating people badly because of their racial or ethnic background, saying bad things about a cultural background, calling someone racist names or telling racist jokes.

Religious Bullying:

Includes treating people badly because of their religious background or beliefs, making negative comments about a religious background or belief, calling someone names or telling jokes based on their religious beliefs in an effort to hurt them.

Sexual Bullying:

Includes leaving someone out; treating them badly, or making them feel uncomfortable because of their sex; making sexist comments or jokes; touching, pinching or grabbing someone in a sexual way; making crude comments about someone's sexual behaviour or orientation; or spreading a sexual rumour.

Disability Bullying:

Includes leaving someone out or treating them badly because of a disability, making someone feel uncomfortable, or making jokes to hurt someone because of a disability.

[1] http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/types

Warning Signs

Is a Child Engaging in Bullying?

  • Uses aggression or violence to deal with conflict
  • Unconcerned with other's feelings
  • Manipulative
  • Bossy
  • Secretive
  • Unexplained possessions or money
  • Short temper
  • Doesn't care or understand how their behaviour affects others  
  • Easily gives in to peer pressure
  • Peers engage in bullying
  • Aggressive peers

Is a Child Being Bullied?

  • Doesn't want to go to school
  • Anxious and scared
  • Negative attitude
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Somatic complaints
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Trouble sleeping or often tired
  • Doesn't have many friends
  • Decline in school performance
  • Injuries to body or damaged belongings
  • Threatens to hurt self or others
How to Support

The Talk

When talking to your child or youth about bullying consider the following:

  • How can I help them stay safe?
  • Do they need help to stop bullying others?
  • What information do I need?
  • Who has the responsibility to take action?
  • Where can I go for help?

Creating a Safe Plan

  • Identify who will check-in with them and when;
  • Identify safe places;
  • Identify safe people and support networks;
  • Explore other supports and resources.
How to Respond

Children who are TARGETED by bullying

  • Validate your child's feelings and empathize;
  • Teach your child how to take a stand;
  • Enroll your child in a skills course
  • Model good relationships at home;
  • Increase social interactions - hanging out with friends, walking home with someone;
  • Avoid teaching aggression;
  • Make it safe to report bullying;
  • Intervene;
  • Get the school involved - talk with school administrators and teachers;
  • Access community-based support;
  • Monitor the media your child consumes (TV, video games, online).

Children who ENGAGE in bullying

  • Focus on the behaviour, not the child;
  • Make sure positive feedback outweighs negative feedback 3-1;
  • Explore ways of dealing with conflict;
  • Model healthy relationships and communication at home;
  • Enroll your child in activities;
  • Monitor your child's behaviour;
  • Build empathy by teaching them to put themselves in someone else's shoes.

Children who WITNESS bullying

  • Develop assertive skills;
  • Encourage reporting of bullying;
  • Explain that by standing and watching you are encouraging the bullying.
How to Report Bullying
1. Make contact: Start with your child or youth's teacher/coach/etc.;

2. If this issue does not get resolved, go to the next level (principal/manager/supervisor);

3. Set up a meeting with the organization;

4. Bring facts in writing - include specific details (save text messages, emails, etc);

5. Work on a safety plan with the organization;

6. Ask about bullying protocols and procedures;

7. If not adequately addressed, contact superintendent/trustee/director/etc. - In serious bullying cases contact police;

8. Use supports outside the school (schools can help with referrals).

Important to remember when reporting:

  • Be calm and assertive
  • Know which questions to ask
  • Get to know the right people
  • Take note of next steps & dates
  • Gather information & do your research
  • Follow-up
  • Know your school's policies and use the correct procedures
  • Be sure to take detailed notes of all conversations
Who Can Help

Mental Health Support for Children and Youth

Support for parents:

For more information on bullying:

What is Bullying? What does it look like? What are bystanders? What types of bullying are there?

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit Health811.ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Public Health Nurse and other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.


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