The Basics of Bullying

Bullying is really just another form of abuse.  It’s about teens using power to control other teens with the intention to cause harm.  Being bullied is hurtful and humiliating.  It’s not an accident or a joke, but a repetitive action that happens to a designated person or group over time.

A lot of teens describe bullying as, “When someone tries to make you feel less about who you are as a person, and you aren’t able to make it stop.”

Let’s be Clear About Bullying

  1. Intent.  Bullying has the intent to hurt or humiliate another – physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, or even spiritually.
  2. Power.  Bullying has an imbalance of power.  Teens who bully consciously use their power – physical strength, access to embarrassing information, social standing, or using a group to gang up on someone.
  3. Repetition.  Bullying behaviors happen repeatedly.
  4. Hard to defend.  The target of the bullying has a hard time defending themselves against the bully, if they can do it at all.
  5. Hurtful.  All bullying is hurtful.  When it keeps going, it can cause long-lasting harm.  When it is too intense at any point, it can cause immediate significant harm.
  6. Responsibility.  The target of the bullying is never responsible for bullying.  It is not their fault.  The fault is that of the bully or bullies – and the bystanders.
  7. “Toughen Up.”  Bullying is not a “rite of passage” and it is not about the targets of bullying “toughening up.”  Bullying is abuse and it is hard or impossible to defend against.  It is not about “toughening up.”
  8. Who Bullies.  Students who bully can be any size, age, grade or gender.

Strong people don't put others down. They lift them up.

Michael P.