Is there a difference between bullying vs mean behaviour or being rude?
Bullying or mean behaviour is not a new thing in our social discourse when dealing with Children and teens. They can be unkind to their peers and feelings get hurt among this age group.
However, the problem is when that type of behaviour becomes common and target the same person repeatedly. That is bullying.
Bullying is a very terrible thing for anyone to endure.
However, the notion has become prevalent among kids and teens it is important to look at the actual behaviour and determine if it really is bullying or if it is children being rude or mean.
According to Stopbullying.gov “In order to be considered bullying, the behaviour must be aggressive and include an imbalance of power” while being repetitive in nature.
Most common forms of bullying.
When children use their power to bully someone it could include “physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity.” If this behaviour is done more than once or twice, it is considered bullying and should be addressed as so.
Bullying is a very emotional subject, so it is important to take all accusations seriously and never minimize someone’s experience. It is vital, though, to determine if the behaviour was bullying or was just a child being rude or mean.
This is not to downplay mean behaviour. It is important to understand the context or situation objectively in other to take appropriate action.
Bullying involves intentionally aggressive behaviour, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.
How to contrast bullying from mean behaviour:
For example, a child says to another child “You’re so stupid” and this happens once, maybe twice. By definition, it is not considered bullying but yes, it is mean and can hurt the child, on the receiving end of it, emotionally.
Trudy Ludwig, author of “My Secret Bully” describes the difference in a child being rude or mean and showing bullying behaviours with easy to understand definitions.
Rude is a child inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else. Mean is when a child purposefully says or does something to hurt someone once (maybe twice).
Bullying can happen anywhere and to anyone. It is important to know the warning signs that a child may exhibit when they are being bullied. Also knowing that children and teens don’t always ask for help is essential to know.
According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, less than half of bullying incidents were not reported because children and teens felt that they could handle it on their own, they didn’t want more problems from the bully, they were embarrassed, or they felt rejected.
It is vital to educating parents and the community about the differences, as well as warning signs of bullying behaviours while maintaining an objective look at the actual behaviours that are exhibited in order to determine appropriate consequences.