Bullying Part 1 of 5

Bullying has serious effects on teens physical and mental health. There are many people who do not understand bullying. This five-part series provides basic information about bullying, such as:

  • Define bullying.
  • Explain what to do if your teen is being bullied.
  • Explain what to do if your teen is a bully.
  • Examine the reasons why teens bully others.
  • Define the different types of bullying.


What Is Bullying?

Bullying is a learned behavior. That means that no one is born a bully. When people bully others, it is because they have seen other people do it and chosen to mimic the behavior.

In their 2004 Resolution on Bullying Among Children and Youth, the American Psychological

Association (APA) described bullying as behavior that:

  • Is intended to cause distress or harm.
  • Involves an imbalance of power or strength between the aggressor and the target.
  • Generally occurs repeatedly over time.


The experiences that people had as children, their psychological well-being, and their personal relationships all influence whether or not someone will engage in bullying.


Bullying can come in a variety of different forms. The most obvious is physical bullying, where a person or group of people target a physically weaker individual. Bully can also include teasing, name calling, socially excluding an individual or cyberbullying.


Often, bullies choose a target because they see the target as being different. Even if other people’s perception of them is wrong, they might still be the target of bullies. Common reasons for people become the target of bullies include their race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.


Regardless of the motive for bullying, it is a serious issue that can have long-term effects. However, there are things you can do to help. For example, you can set a positive example for your teen. Let them see you treating other people with respect and insisting on the same respect in return.