Bullying is compromised of three key components—unwanted, aggressive behavior; a real or perceived power imbalance, and repetition; and the potential to be repeated over time (stopbullying.gov). The combination of these three factors creates a situation that moves beyond conflict to become persistent persecution. Many schools have programs especially designed to raise awareness on bullying, prevention and tools to help parents and teachers in dealing with bullying. Check with your local school district to see what steps are being taken to prevent bullying. Schools and parents can work effectively in assisting a child who may be experiencing the effects of bullying.


Bullying Basics:


Is the situation a normal conflict or is it bullying?


Normal Peer Conflict:

Equal Power
Equal Emotional Reaction
Not Serious
Will Take Responsibility
Not Trying to Take Away Someone Else’s Power/Things
Will Try to Solve the Problem



Imbalance of Power
The Victim Feels Bad; the Aggressor Feels Good
Happens Over and Over Again
There Are Physical or Emotional Consequences
Rationalizes That They Are Not Responsible
Seeking Control or Someone Else’s Power/Things
Not Interested in Conflict Resolution

What type of behaviors are considered bullying?


Physical Aggression (includes theft or damaging someone else’s property)
Social Alienation (includes gossiping, publicly humiliating and exclusion)
Verbal Aggression (includes unwanted teasing and name calling)
Intimidation (includes threats and taking someone’s property)
Racial, Ethnic or Religious Aggression/Harassment (includes biased attitudes and stereotyping)
Sexual Aggression (includes comments that are too personal and spreading sexual rumors)
Cyber-bullying/using technology (includes pretending to be someone else and sharing personal pictures)

Bullying behaviors and a victim’s reaction can be mild, moderate or severe; how the bullying behavior impacts each person can vary.

When and where does bullying occur?


It can happen while driving when someone tries to control how fast you drive or displays mean gestures to you

It can happen in a retirement community when a resident is excluded from group activities or made to feel embarrassed

It can happen in the work place when a supervisor intimidates an employee by saying something like “All of us are going to vote the same way”.

And it can happen on school property, between an adult and a student, between students and even between adults.

It can happen 24 hours a day by using a cell phone, a computer, while on a social network or any other form of technology; this is known as cyber-bullying

Why does bullying occur?

There are many reasons why bullyingoccurs, here are just a few:

  • It could be happening to the person doing the bullying so they are bullying someone else
  • They may lack the social skills to make friends or to express themselves appropriately
  • They may be jealous of the person they are bullying
  • They may have unresolved anger and the bullying behavior is how they are expressing it
  • The bullying might be how they are able to feel they have control or power
  • The person doing the bullying will explain that “It’s her/his fault; if they would just dress like us, we would not tease her/him”

Bullying is never acceptable, regardless of why someone does it; it can never be justified…

Who are the likely victims?

New students at school; new residents at a retirement community; new employees

Persons who appear to be shy, quiet or not assertive or who appear to be “loners”

People who demonstrate irritating behaviors

People who look different, dress different or who talk different; people who openly practice different beliefs, such as, a different religion

The Bullying Circle

The Bullying Circle is a visual way to better understand the different roles involved in a bullying situation. Please click to see The Bullying Circle.