What Is Bullying?

With the release of my new kid’s book, If I Was A Bird…What Kind Of Flock Would I Fly With?, I have been receiving a barrage of media requests and Q&A’s asking me about bullying as it pertains to children. Since the book is about cultural/religious/gender diversity and sensitivity/acceptance for kids, many inquiring minds want to know, “What exactly constitutes bullying in schools or social gatherings that involve children?”

At first blush, most people probably have some idea(s) for what bullying is, or what it encompasses. With the number of media campaigns and ads on TV, or discussions in communities and Internet forums, it can quickly become “grey” in terms of what is borderline bullying versus roughhouse play, or isolated incidents. When I address this question of, “What is bullying, or what is it that someone has to do to make them a bully?”, I break it down into four key elements which ascertain that something is indeed bullying. The four elements are:

1) The bullying incidents or abuse is repeated over time. It is not a onetime event, rather a series of incidents whereby someone is bullied.

2) The event involves a victim being distressed by the abuse. Whenever someone displays visual or verbal signs that they are feeling hurt and the bully continues to engage in this behaviour because they derive a sense of satisfaction from it, then it is bullying.

3) There is always an imbalance of power in that one of the kids is more powerful than the other. Often times it is physical strength which creates the imbalance, however it can also be intellectual, or the ability to use verbal skills more powerfully than the victim which plays to an audience.

4) There is an intent to harm by the bully. They knowingly and maliciously decide to attack another child who is helpless and unable to defend against the attack. For all intents, it is premeditated on the bully’s part!

Some might be quick to dismiss “one event” as being an isolated incident, that may be so. With that said, put yourself in the victim’s shoes and see how you would feel if you were attacked just one time. You may not have been attacked by a bully, but I bet you felt like you were bullied!

To learn more about bullying and, If I Was A Bird…What Kind Of Flock Would I Fly With?, please visit: www.bullyingisforthebirds.com. Also, be sure to sign up and receive the new kids book, Bullying Is For The Birds which is immediately downloadable!