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What Is Bullying & What Are Some Signs a Child Is Being Bullied?

Child holding his head down between his knees

Bullying is a persistent behavior pattern where one person deliberately causes harm or humiliation to another person perceived as weaker or vulnerable. The goal is to gain control over the victim.  

It is distinct from general aggression as it specifically targets individuals that are inferior to the aggressor. 

Usually, the aggressor uses their physical size, strength, status, or support within the peer group to harm or cause discomfort to the victim.  

According to research, bullying is most common among kids between the ages of 11 and 13 and tends to lessen as they become older. 

Younger children tend to engage in more physical forms of aggression while older children use subtle methods like spreading rumors or manipulating social relationships. 

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 20% of kids said they had experienced bullying at school, and both boys and girls are just as likely to experience it. 

However, bullying is not just a problem for school-age children; it can happen to people of all ages and in all social groups. It may even affect grownups, particularly in professional settings.

Types of bullying: 

Young children frequently witness the following common forms of bullying behavior in social situations which include


Physical bullying occurs when someone intentionally causes harm to another person by hitting them or damaging their property. Physical bullying can sometimes take the form of abusive body language. Both immediate and long-term impacts could result from it.


Verbal bullying includes making homophobic or racist remarks, calling someone names, teasing and intimidating them, and engaging in any other form of verbal abuse. In the beginning, it is harmless but can develop and have a negative impact on the target.


Social bullying is difficult to detect and often occurs in secret. It aims to damage someone’s social standing and/or cause them embarrassment. Social bullies try to make the victim look bad by telling lies about them, making jokes, embarrassing them in their peer group, telling others not to be friends with them, or by hurting their name. 

Bullying is however not limited to social settings, and often bullies use methods like online harassment and cyberbullying to bully their victims. This kind of behavior can occur at any time, and usually, only the victim and the aggressor are aware of it.

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