Dr. Hoyam Elsoni Eldawi, PhD
Senior Clinical Psychologist
Mediclinic Airport Road Hospital

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour among school aged children that

involves a real or perceived power imbalance.

To qualify as bullying, the behaviour must be persistent; a one-off comment made about an appearance might be hurtful but a common factor of bullying is that it is a regular and persistent occurrence that takes place over time.

Types of bullying

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things and includes:

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves

  • hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumours about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions.  Physical bullying includes:

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things

What can I do if my child is bullying others?

Deal with the situation clearly and seriously and take action to prevent it

from continuing.

Try to find out why your child is doing this, and look for ways to stop this


Do not seek to threaten or punish your child in general because he/she is

acting improperly, especially using physical punishment.

If the child is involved in bullying as a result of others encouragement try

to direct him to assess his own behaviour, to judge what he has done and

decide whether it is good to be influenced by others.

Show your appreciation of your child’s behaviour if he sympathises with

people who have been abused or harassed.

Make sure that you yourself are not involved in bullying, because the model you

show of yourself to your child is more influential than what you say.

If you can’t prevent the bullying ask the school for help.

If the school tells you that your child is bullying others and asks you to

Come in, be prepared to cooperate with the school in developing a plan to

assess your child’s behaviour and stop what is happening.

What can I do if my child is bullied?

If you suspected that your child may have been bulled in school,

encourage him/her to talk to you about what happened with him/her,

and know that it can be difficult for a child to talk about it, so be patient.

Be aware that leaving your child to fix the situation on their own will not work in most cases, especially if the child is being bullied by a group of students.

At the same time do not over protect your child.

Listen to your child with interest and empathy and try to find out what is

happening to him/her without pressing him/her to talk about what is


It is not good to talk to the bully’s parents, as it is not wise to face the child

who is bullying your child.

Decide if it is best to discuss the problem with the school.  This

depends on the severity of the problem.

Avoid telling your child to retaliate or to fight back. That could cause more

violence with the potential of the victim also being seen as an aggressor.

-Promote and encourage the development of your child’s resilience.

Resilience is the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change and

not to give up in the face of adversity, so we emerge stronger, wiser

and more able.