Rude, Mean or Bullying Behaviours
Posted on February 8th, 2016
If someone pushes ahead of a child in line, or makes a cruel comment about their appearance, it may be interpreted as bullying; however, there are important differences between rude, mean, and bullying behavior that need to be recognized in order to address actual bullying.
Rude behavior involves inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts another person. It is inconsiderate and poor manners, but the intent to hurt is not present.
Mean actions, on the other hand, can be intentional and are an element of bullying; however, the actions are not repetitive and a power imbalance is not present.
To clarify: bullying is intentional and repeated aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power. A lack of remorse and blaming the victim are other features of bullying.
It is important to distinguish between rude actions, a single mean incident, and repeated, intentional bullying where a power differential exists. Interventions to address bullying require awareness of actual bullying behavior so that teachers, other professionals, parents, and students know how best to respond.