Bullying, what is it?
According to American Psychological Association (2017), “Bullying is a form of aggressive
behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or
discomfort. Bully can take the form of physical contact, words, or more subtle actions”
(Bullying, para. 1).
How do we create change in an increasing bullying culture?
Some places to start:
It is not just something that is “part of growing up”. As parents/therapists/educators it is important to understand the different forms of bullying and aggression. A child willing to talk about a situation they experienced allows an opportunity to teach them about prosocial and conflict resolution skills. This allows them to utilize those in times they feel they are being bullied.
Listen with empathy!
When we listen to children we are allowing their emotional intelligence to grow. Their concerns and thoughts are just as important as other children who may be struggling too. Positive social learning is influential.
Language is powerful!
Instead of calling a child a bully refer to them as the child who bullied. Instead of calling a child a victim, refer to them as the child who was bullied is Bullying, 2012). By telling children “that child is a bully just ignores/he” does not help create change but supports the unwanted behaviors.
Set an example!
Unfortunately, bullying is not just with children but happens in the workforce among adults too. Don’t get involved with the office gossip, invite someone to lunch, and say something positive to a coworker.
Caitlin Goicoechea, LCPC, NCC
Mental Health Counselor at Children’s Therapy Place
American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association,
Aspa. “What Is Bullying.” StopBullying.gov, Department of Health and Human Services, 29 Feb. 2012,