Definition Of Bullying

Chances are you have been bullied at some point in your life…by a sibling, a friend, a classmate, a coworker…somewhere along the line, someone has intimated, harassed, belittled, betrayed or gossiped about you – used SOME tactic to put themselves “above” you.

Bullying can take many shapes & forms, such as rumors, gossip, teasing, taunting, harassment, cruel pranks, making fun, name calling and can also be more subtle like calling someone out in class (laughing at someone’s answer, making fun of someone who talks in class), selling out your friends by telling secrets you swore you’d keep and the list goes on and on. In general though bullying is just a way to make one person feel worse so the other person can feel better. We often call it a “self esteem exchange” – the bully, for whatever reason – seeks to rob their victim of self esteem, or positive feelings about themselves, and by doing that, the bully feels good about THEMselves. Which is really ironic because a bully will never SAY they’re a bully, in fact, they are usually very charming in any other circumstance.

As with any other type of abuse, bullying is often thought of as only physical acts of abuse or violence, but emotional, verbal and psychological abuses can take just as heavy, if not heavier, toll on the victim. As we speak with kids, we ask them if they know how to care for a wound if they fall in the stones or off their bike. They come up with a lot of great answers and can solve the problem with ease. Now ask them how they heal a the wound left behind when their feelings are hurt – the room becomes silent. It is this lack of skill regarding how to heal the emotional and psychological wounds that can have lifelong and devastating consequences. This is why bullying is such an important thing to eradicate as best we can from our schools.

For more information and resources on bullying, click any of the links below:
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program - From Dan Olweus, creator
Stop Bullying Now!
National Conference of State Legislatures
National Institutes of Health
It’s My Life
National Centers for Victims of Crime

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