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What is Bullying?

Everyone knows bullying is a problem, but if you ask 50 people to define bullying you’ll get 50 different answers. So what is bullying? states:

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

·        * An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.


·        * Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Bullying involves conflict, but is all conflict bullying? What’s the difference?



·        There is equal power in the relationship.

·        It is not systemic or repeated.

·        It comes about spontaneously and is not planned.

·        Both parties have the ability to walk away.

·        Parties value the relationships.

·        There is a possibility of resolution.

·        It is normative.

·        It is critical to healthy development.

·        There is an imbalance of power in the relationship.

·        It occurs repeatedly or systemically.

·        It is intentional and hurtful.

·        Its motivation to gain and maintain power.

·        The victim is vulnerable and has few options for disengaging.

·        There is no effort to resolve.

·        It is harmful to healthy development for parties involved.

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