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Educating parents about bullying

Bullying can happen to anyone. For me, it happened at school when I first moved to Canada. It was verbal bullying – name-calling, sarcastic remarks, and taunting, mostly. I never told anyone because I didn’t know the term ‘bullying’, or how to recognize it.

According to Bullying Canada, bullying is when someone hurts or scares someone else on purpose. It is one-sided and pointed; it can be verbal, social, or physical; it can happen face-to-face, in cyberspace, or both; and it can be a one-time incident or recurring.

Types of bullying:

Verbal: includes name-calling, negative cultural or racial references, threats, taunting, and inappropriate sexual comments.

Social: includes leaving someone out on purpose, telling people not to be friends with someone, humiliating them in public, and telling rumours about them.

Physical: includes hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, shoving, chasing, poking, and stealing someone’s belongings.

Cyber Bullying includes using various online platforms (text, email, social media, the Internet) to tease someone, spread rumours about them, intimidate them, or put them down.

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Steps new Canadian parents can take to identify, prevent, and stop bullying:

  • Talk to your kids about bullying and how to identify it.
  • Teach them to tell someone if it happens to them, or if they see it happen to someone else.
  • Guide them on what to do if they bully someone and make it clear that it’s not ok.
  • Encourage your kids to deal with conflict without violence and talk things out.

Signs to recognize if your child is bullied:

Your child:

  • Is experiencing anxiety or withdrawal
  • Doesn’t want to go to school
  • Isn’t sleeping or eating well
  • Acts out aggressively
  • Gets upset or irritated easily
  • Gets frightened or intimidated by certain kids.

Effects on children can include:

  • Loneliness
  • Unhappiness
  • Insecurity
  • Fear.

Bullying can happen to children as young as five years old and should be taken seriously. It is a major power issue that can escalate. So, both children and parents must make an effort to stop it before it begins. For more information, visit

Help your children to identify bullying and communicate openly. Encourage your child to speak up if they are being bullied or if they know someone who is. Anyone can be a target.

For more information, tools, and free webinars about living in Canada visit our Settling in Canada resource page. We’ll help you to settle in Canada successfully!