Bullying: What Do Kids Say?

According to Our Experts…

Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director

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Sometimes we ask children during a workshop, “What’s bullying?” Hands shoot into the air and the answers pour out of our students. Because adults have more official words for the same behavior, I have put these in parentheses next to the explanations of our Kidpower experts:bullying-ebook-260x300

  • “When another kid tries to hurt or scare you.” (Physical bullying; intimidation)
  • “When someone says bad stuff about you behind your back.” (Relational bullying)
  • “When someone calls you names or makes fun of you.” (Emotional abuse)
  • “When kids leave you out.” (Shunning)
  • “When kids gang up on you and try to make you give them your money or your stuff.” (Extortion)
  • “When someone copies you in a way that makes you look dumb.” (Mimicking)
  • “When other people say or do things to bother you over and over on purpose.” (Harassment)
  • “When someone tries to make you do something that will get you into trouble.” (Coercion)
  • “When someone tries to use their power to make you feel bad.” (Bullying)

We then ask our students, “Have you ever been bullied or seen someone else being bullied?”
Most of them nod their heads.

“How did you feel?” we ask. Again, our young and wise Kidpower experts raise their hands and say:

  • “Sad.”
  • “I thought there must be something wrong with me.”
  • “Scared and wanting to hide.”
  • “Embarrassed and like I never wanted to go back.”
  • “Mad and like I wanted to get back at them.”
  • “As if I was the only person in the world that this was happening to.”
  • “Guilty because I was glad it wasn’t happening to me.”
  • “Worried because I was afraid it would happen to me.”
  • “Ashamed because I didn’t know what to do to stop it.”
  • “Frustrated.”
  • “Lonely.”
  • “Like I wanted to throw up or disappear.”


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About the Author

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director
Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, the Kidpower Safety Comics series, the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults, and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.
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