Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying

Have you ever wondered about the difference between these words? There was a great post recently on HuffPost Parents about the distinction and importance of using the accurate word when describing dissatisfactory social interactions. You can check it out HERE; it’s well worth the read!

In the article Singe Whitson, who is a Child/Adolescent Therapist and works on bullying prevention, defines the difference for us clearly:

RUDE: Unintentional comments or actions that hurt someone else

MEAN: Intentional comments or actions that hurt someone once (maybe twice)

BULLYINGIntentional, aggressive comments or actions that occur over time that involves an imbalance of power

Ms. Whitson goes on to say:

“I have already begun to see that gratuitous references to bullying are creating a bit of a “little boy who cried wolf” phenomena. In other words, if kids and parents improperly classify rudeness and mean behavior as bullying — whether to simply make conversation or to bring attention to their short-term discomfort — we all run the risk of becoming so sick and tired of hearing the word that this actual life-and-death issue among young people loses its urgency as quickly as it rose to prominence.

It is important to distinguish between rude, mean and bullying so that teachers, school administrators, police, youth workers, parents and kids all know what to pay attention to and when to intervene.”

 

Thought-provoking and important!

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