Dear Bulldog, How do you define bullying? Thank you, A Dad from Toledo
Dear Dad from Toledo,
We get that question a lot about the definition of bullying. We define bullying as: Using your power to intentionally harm someone else over a period of time. There needs to be 3 important things to be considered bullying 1- Power, 2-Intentionality, 3-Over a period of time (or if a post goes viral then we can consider that as “over a period of time”). If someone teases you once, it is considered teasing. If that person continues to tease you, then it turns into bullying. We really push to define the terms as there are different strategies to address bullying versus teasing. Remember not all teasing is bad, it is actually healthy for kids to tease each other and be playful. When it is good teasing it can be a sign of affection and further develop friendships. When it is bad teasing, then it can easily turn into bullying. Here is some clear definitions of teasing:
Good Teasing: The individual is friends or feels liked by the teaser and it is done with good intentions to show affection.
Unintentional Mean Teasing: The teaser does not know the individual is hurt, or dismisses his/her feeling because the teaser does not understand. – This is a gray zone and we work a lot with kids to help them understand what is mean and good teasing.
Mean Teasing and Roasting: The teasing is done to make the individual feel bad and it is done to hurt the other person. When the individual asked the teaser to stop, the teaser responds, “Don’t be a baby, you’re so sensitive, just kidding, it’s a JOKE!”
I hope this helps you navigate the difference between teasing and bullying.
Have a great rest of your day!