Kaleidoscope - Dr. Kimberly Gordon Biddle
Posted October 5th 2014

Nicki Crick discovered that bullying occurs as early as the preschool years in a hallmark study in 1999. Dr. Crick defines bullying as intentionally causing physical or emotional/social harm to one’s peers. In short, it is peer victimization. Christina Short, another bullying expert, defines bullying as “aggressive behavior that is aimed at hurting, intimidating, or controlling others through physical, verbal, or emotional abuse, real or imagined.” Boys are more likely to be victims of physical aggression and girls are usually victims of relational aggression. Both types of aggression are likely to leave victims with emotional and social issues with their growth and development.

There are some methods for handling aggression and bullying in the early years of preschool and elementary school and beyond. They are as follows:

  1. Increase and support cross-racial/ethnic friendship;
  2. Increase and support high-quality peer friendship;
  3. Foster social skills and social competence;
  4. Use reflective listening;
  5. Name, define, and talk about feelings;
  6. Use perspective taking and help the bully understand the victim;
  7. Use problem solving;
  8. Build trust and community in the classroom;
  9. Give children a chance to be open and honest in real life and through dramatic play;
  10. Model and teach advocacy against bullying;

Additional information on bullying and cyberbullying in schools, and what parents and educators can do about it can be found at


Were you or anyone close to you ever bullied? How did adults (parents, caregivers, teachers, directors, principals) in the situation handle it? Could any of the suggestions given in this blog have been helpful?

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Reply from Bao Her posted on December 13th 2015
When I was younger, I was always a chubby kid and I was Asian. There was this one girl that always made fun of me. Everyday before class start, she would pulled her eyes back with both her hands and make fun of my small eyes. I told her that I didn't like what she was doing and I told the teacher. I think the teacher talked to her, but that didn't go so well because during lunch, she called me tall-teller and pulled my hair. I was so mad at that moment and punched her in the face. I was in trouble and my parents had a meeting with my teacher and the principle. I told them everything and that I had let my teacher known already. Her parents moved her to another classroom and she never made fun of me again. I think my teacher should have done more to prevent the issue and explain to the girl and call her parents or my parents about what's going on.
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Reply from Tina Hy posted on December 13th 2015
There have been individuals close to me that have been bullied when they were at a young age and there were no adults that handled it because the person never confined in them. My best friend confined in me and that was enough for her. The suggestions in this blog could have been helpful for me to fully understand the elements of reflective listening to better assist my best friend. I think these suggestions could also be great to adults who have never been in this situation before.
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Reply from veronica posted on November 30th 2015
I was bullied. I was mostly when I was around 12 year old. During this time I went thought a growth spurt. Kids felt the need to remind me that I was big. I felt bad but I was mostly annoyed. I knew I was big I did not need any reminders. Growing up I witness one of my closest friends get bullied because he was gay. Kids and also adults were awful to him his whole life. Aside from being my friend he was my neighbor and we were the same age. We would walk to school together every day. We always had a lot of fun playing kids games and joking around. We never talked about hem being gay or being bullied. I think we both knew that we were kids and there was nothing we could do but to keep each other company. I remember one time. I was late for school so he thought I was not going to go to school that day. When I got to school it was break time and I was looking for him. I found him crying hiding from the other kids. When he saw me he wiped his tears and said “I thought you were not coming today let’s go play”. To this date we are still great friends and every time we see each other we have a lot of fun.
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Reply from Ceceilia posted on May 20th 2015
At school I was never really bullied, but I did know a couple people who were. Sometimes my classmates would make fun of them, and looking back now it's just like WHY?.. As I can recall, what the teacher used was for the students to talk about their feelings and try to solve the problem. They trusted our teacher so it made things easier. I think the methods listed are good. I think that it is important to increase and support racial and ethnic friendships.
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Reply from Feuy Saeteurn posted on December 16th 2014
When I was in Junior high, I was teased a few times by a boy I did not know at school. Looking back, I never considered it bullying but according to the definition above, it was. He made fun of the way I looked and I was very hurt by what he said to me. It was during PE and when we were out on the field so the teacher never heard or saw him teasing or laughing at me. In my situation, since I never spoke up and the adults never saw, the bullying was never addressed. I think the suggestions about fostering social skills and increasing social competence, increase and support high quality friendship, and building trust and community in the classroom is something that the teacher and school may incorporate into the philosophy of their classroom. I believe that if children are more aware of bullying and learn about the consequences and feelings involved than they are less likely to participate in bullying. Also, peers may stand up for others when they see bullying happening.
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Reply from Shannon Slabaugh posted on December 10th 2014
I personally was bullied a little but back in elementary school. Surprisingly it was by a boy the same age as me. I don't think it was out of spite or any crazy hatred of me, but rather just something certain children go through as they grow up. At the time it was not fun for me, I remember really getting offended by it but I don't think it really played a crazy role in how I grew up. If anything it taught me to toughen up and really learn how to fend for myself. It also taught me a lot about problem solving and learning how to work with others. I think when you're younger, it's easy to blow up over anything and really let situations get out of hand. I think it's somewhat expected for children to go through aggressive stages and really it should only be bothersome if the stages continue through adolescence and into adulthood. At the time the way I handled it was confronting my parents and teachers and having them help me. Now, I'm actually friends with the person who used to "bully" me and we have both grown out of that stage completely.
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Reply from Evelyn Sanchez posted on November 25th 2014
I have never experienced bullying personally, but I did witness a girl go through it for a while. Kids in middle school were not much aware or educated on the subject of same-sex relationships and when that girl told people she was lesbian, it caused a bad reaction. She often got teased and called by names. I didn't think it was right because I would see that those words and comments hurt her. I mentioned it to teachers so they could pay attention to her or what the kids around her did; but I didn't see much involvement. Unfortunately the teachers didn't do much and the girl ended up moving to another town because her mother knew it was best for her. It was sad to see the adults around not take much involvement to stopping the teasing; but I'm glad that her mom was supportive and at least removed her from the situation there. Bullying is not okay and I'm glad that there are more workshops available for teachers so they can be aware and stop it when they see it.
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Reply from Evelyn Sanchez posted on November 25th 2014
I personally was not bullied, but I did witness it during middle school. Growing up in a mexican-based town was hard for other races to feel comfortable and on top of that, there was an all-American girl who claimed to be lesbian and that was not heard of or accepted much at that age. The kids around were not fully educated in that matter which, I feel, was their ignition to pushing her buttons and bullying her. What I think would have been helphelpful would've been for the kids to have been called out on their emotions and educated on the matter so they could understand. I also didn't see much involvement of adults in this situation ad the girl was too scared to tell anyone of authority. But I did see people step in to defend her and eventually people got over it.
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Reply from pam vang posted on November 16th 2014
I was never bullied nor were anyone of my siblings, but I remember being in grade school there were a few boys and a couple of girls would always pick on one girl because she had bad body odor and she wore the same clothes to school everyday. I don't know if the teachers knew but I don't think they ever put a stop to it because the students would always tease her or talk about her. At the time, two of the girls would come hang out with me and my friends from time to time and talk about the girl but we never acknowledge them being kids, we would always just turn around and walk to the other way. Its not until you get older that you realize that things like that can really scare a person. Being an adult now, I wish I knew how she was doing. If I can teach my kids anything, it would be to not bully or to tolerate being bullied. I think bullying is always going to happen. It is inevitable but the only thing we can do as adults and educators is to make sure we are constantly paying attention and we listen to our children. Also to constantly remind students that bullying is NOT okay
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Reply from Natalie Horwath posted on November 6th 2014
I was bullied in late years of elementary school, all throughout middle school, and my early years of high school. One of my best friends growing up was the biggest bully I had to deal with. I didn't realize until later in life that she had been bullying me since we were children. There were signs like she would call me bad names and specifically put me down because she wanted to be superior. I finally realized that we could no longer be friends my second year in high school because she was not someone I wanted in my life. My parents always told me that I shouldn’t be friends with her but I never listened because I thought that’s just the way “friendship” was. Our principle in middle school made us sign a contract saying we were to have no contact whatsoever during school hours since her bullying had gotten so bad. After reading this blog I now have a better understanding of why she treated me the way she did. She didn't have much support at home or in the classroom. And adults around her did nothing to raise her awareness that what she was doing was not okay especially to someone who you call your friend.
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Reply from marissa coss posted on October 22nd 2014
Yes i will admit i have bullied before. I have felt alone, sad and angry at times. Somedays i went from high school crying. I hung out with the wrong group of students that liked to pick on others. But like my mother always Karma will always find it way back, and it did. One day i remember going to school and i was in the restroom trying to fix my hair with one arm, cause i had a cast on the other and i kept on trying to get my hair in a pony and 3 girls walked in, they were girls that I had made fun of before, they started to laugh and shove me into the sink. I wanted to make a change for myself so i started to see a school counselor weekly and she helped me get through everything. Trying to fit in with the 'popular group' by bullying was not a good choice i made.
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Reply from Carson Arnold posted on October 16th 2014
When you are young you don't always realize that you are being bullied, especially if it is by a friend. The thing that bothers me is the lack of bullying education provided at schools. They have posters but, in my experience at my high school they just wanted to pretend it wasn't happening and avoid the situation all together. My mom was the biggest help in my struggle through high school of being bullied. There was also one teacher who helped me and gave me advice. I wish more schools and people would take bullying seriously. Suicide can be prevented and we should be trying our very best to end any chances of it.
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Reply from zoua yang posted on October 13th 2014
In elementary, during my first grade, I was always stuck with this one girl. Friend or foe, I never knew the differences with how she acts towards me. She picked on me a lot, talked to me only, so I figured she is quite lonely. Out of pity, I try to be nice to her. In the end, she ended up stealing away my hair clips and talked really mean to me. At that age, I wasn’t sure if I have the right to unfriend her or not. So I stayed around with her until our second grade. She was always yelling and getting mad at me, not letting me do anything with other children. She gets me in trouble and takes my homework to turn in as hers. The shy, scared, quiet me back then did nothing but listened to her all the time. My teacher asks me couple times our problems, but I never spoke up or tell anyone. Not even my parents knew about my friend/bully. Even I didn’t know she was bullying me. The methods for handling aggression and bullying in the early years of preschool and elementary school and beyond does help. If only I talked more and got involved in class, especially with the teachers or staffs, I would’ve been separated from this girl in my early elementary years. I should’ve been honest, open, and trusted my peers and teachers for help. I should’ve talked to my parents about it too, which I never did. Anti-Bullying should be announced more to make children see that it is effective in harmful ways, to get help earlier in their preschool and/or elementary years.
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Reply from Andrea Fresquez posted on October 13th 2014
I cannot recall being bullied, however my nephew was when he was younger. He is in middle school now and does not have issues with bullying but when he was in elementary he was bullied by the other children, first the snickering under their breath as he walked by which was noted by his teacher but no action was ever taken. Since no action was taken the other children then went making comments about his mother and family, which obviously did not sit well with him and my nephew resulted in getting into a fight with the kids, pretty intense for children in elementary school. I think that my nephew did not handle it the right way but after that he wasn't bullied again, I think parents/adults should have been involved more and it made a bigger issue because they really did not get down to the root of the problem. I think these methods would have helped if it would not have escalated so quickly and would have been properly addressed with these methods so it would not have to have gotten out of hand.
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Reply from Jessica Fagundes posted on October 8th 2014
I personally was never bullied because I tried to stay off the radar so to speak. However when my dad was young he was quite often bullied because he spoke English very poorly. Unfortunately he was too scared to tell anyone but his mother, and since my grandmother only spoke Portuguese she had no way of talking about it with his teachers. If the students had better support across ethnic friendships my dad may have bullied less, and if he had more trust in his teachers he would have gotten better help.
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Reply from Elizabeth Sanchez posted on October 7th 2014
I don't recall myself being bullied, but I have been able to witness it happening. In elementary I had a friend who did not have the perfect body shape. One day people were making fun of her and calling her "fat". For her this happened daily at school, she did not want to tell anyone because she was afraid that people would make fun of her even more, but I could tell that she was hurt. I took the initiative in telling the teacher about the problem that she was having. I told her the name of the people that would bully her. The next day I see those people get sent to the office, I don't know exactly what happened there but with out a doubt it was handled, eventually those people kept their distance from my friend and did not bother her.
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Reply from Raeanna posted on October 6th 2014
In elementary school, I wore glasses with very thick lenses. I got picked on by my classmates and got called "four eyes"" and what not. This usually occurred during recess, and since I was a shy person back then, I never told on them. I never let the adults in my life know, so they were not able to do anything about it for me. I just ignored them usually, and this helped me build my strength. Now, I know not to let things bother me too much or take anything too personally. Luckily for me, this bullying did not effect me in a detrimental way.
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