Go to the About This Course page to learn what each of the faces represents. Please read the scenario below and click on the response that seems most appropriate. Note that there is no perfect answer provided, and each response offers feedback and a learning opportunity. Please see COPA’s recommended response.

How to Recognize Bullying

SCENARIO: It is now November. Since the beginning of the school year, you have been hearing from your child that they play alone most of the time at school and that other students are taking toys away from them. Your child often ends up in tears following these interactions.

This has certain characteristics of bullying, but it could also be a conflict. You feel you should intervene, but you're not sure what to do.

1There seem to be two sides to the story. Several kids have complained about this situation. You conclude that it is therefore a conflict between peers.

This conclusion may be correct, but it is impossible to be certain with the information in hand. It may be bullying or conflict. Young children often find themselves in this situation and it is very difficult to assess properly. In the case of very young children who speak less, the situation is even more difficult to assess.

According to your assessment of the situation, conflict resolution strategies supporting your child’s ability to address this situation could be beneficial, leading to positive change. These strategies are constructive IF this is a conflict situation.

If this is actually a bullying situation, strategies for conflict resolution will not stop it and may actually increase the bullying. There is a learning opportunity for all the children involved in this situation and getting enough information to assess whether it is bullying or conflict will allow for the appropriate response.

2You conclude that the other children are targeting your child, that is, they have an intent to cause harm and distress. In your view, it is a bullying situation.

3It is difficult to understand exactly what is happening. You decide to ask more questions to get more information that will help you determine if it is conflict or bullying.

Explanation of the recommended response.