Defining Bullying Behavior
What is bullying? At first glance, many people might think this behavior is easy to define. Their first image of bullying might be of a physically intimidating boy beating up a smaller classmate. While that can still be considered bullying today, parents need to know that bullying behaviors can be much more complex and varied than that typical stereotype. For example, harmful bullying can also occur quietly and covertly, through gossip or on the Internet, causing emotional damage. Let’s consider a few definitions of bullying.
Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that an act is defined as bullying when:
- The behavior hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally. Bullying can be very overt, such as fighting, hitting or name calling, or it can be covert, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose.
- It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly and with deliberation.
- The targets have difficulty stopping the behavior directed at them and struggle to defend themselves.
Bullying can be circumstantial or chronic. It might be the result of a situation, such as being the new student at school, or it might be behavior that has been directed at the individual for a long period of time.