When a child is unkind to another child, “bullying” is the term that may immediately come to mind, but actions can vary in severity, so it is important to know the difference, so the situation can be de-escalated and addressed quickly and appropriately.
What is bullying?
Bullying is when someone aggressively uses their power to target another individual with repeated, unwanted words or actions.
Bullying is done with intent to hurt, harm or humiliate. With bullying there is often a power imbalance between those involved: which could be a difference in social status, physical size or other perception of superiority. This can be between individuals, or groups of children targeting another group or individual.
Students who bully others often perceive their targets as vulnerable in some way and often find satisfaction in harming them. Those targeted are hurt either physically or emotionally and have a hard time stopping what is happening to them.
What is harassment?
Harassment and bullying are often used interchangeably when talking about hurtful or harmful behavior. They are similar, but an importance difference is that harassment is behavior that meets the definition of bullying, and is also targeted at an individual of a protected class which includes race, color, religion, sex, age, disability and national origin.
What is conflict?
Conflict is a disagreement or argument in which both sides express their views. When two individuals or groups are not getting along and unkind things are being said or done, it can be classified as conflict.