Working with families whose child is bullying
- How to use this guide
- The problem of bullying
- How do I know if a child is bullying?
- Approach to managing bullying
- Assessing the prevalence and nature of the child's bullying behaviour
- Examining risk and protective factors associated with bullying
- Supporting children who bully and their families
The problem of bullying
There is now strong evidence for a substantial link between children who bully their peers and later offending and depression.
Bullying among school-age children is a major problem, with estimates of 5-15% of children bullying their peers (Craig & Harel, 2004; Kärnä, Voeten, Paskiparta, & Salmivalli, 2010; Pellegrini, Bartini, & Brooks, 1999) and some 25% of Australian children reporting being victims of bullying at school (Cross et al., 2009).
As noted in Children Who Bully at School, bullying experiences are associated with a number of behavioural, emotional, and physical adjustment problems for both the victim and the child who bullies. Compared to young people who only bully or who are only victims, bully-victims suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for both mental health and behaviour problems.
Young people who bully others are more likely to:
- do poorly in school;
- turn to violence as a way to deal with problems;
- damage property or steal;
- abuse drugs or alcohol; and
- get in trouble with the law.
While bullying has been defined in different ways in the literature, most agree that bullying among school-age children includes all or most of the following elements:
- intentional hurtfulness;
- abuse of power (asymmetric conflict); and
Importantly, bullying is distinct from interpersonal conflicts or "rough play".