Advanced search think that some people are too quick to use the term bully?

(25 Posts)
Pipbin Sun 24-Apr-16 22:18:29

A couple of times in the last few days I have read on here people talking about their child being bullied when what has happened is that another child has been unkind or has pushed them once or twice.

I think that this belittles bullying which is far more prolonged and damaging.

It's one of those terms that have reduced the impact of the real thing, like when people say 'I'm a little bit OCD.'

lem73 Sun 24-Apr-16 22:25:57

YANBU. I would define bullying as a persistent pattern of behaviour, not a couple of instances of unkind behaviour.

apple1992 Sun 24-Apr-16 22:26:18

Not referring to threads on here, but yes the term 'bullying' is overused. Friendship issues are not the same as bullying. Bullying is repeatdly and purposely trying to hurt (either physically or emotionally) another child/children.

exLtEveDallas Sun 24-Apr-16 22:27:53

Bullying - STOP


Pipbin Sun 24-Apr-16 22:35:04

I'm a teacher and I've had parents complaining of bullying before when what they mean is that two children fell out for an afternoon.

DotForShort Sun 24-Apr-16 22:37:17

YANBU. I am very glad that we are all generally more aware of bullying these days, including the various forms it can take. However, the sudden leap to label any unwelcome behaviour as bullying has become very noticeable. I would say it is part of an overall cultural trend to over-dramatise minor experiences. Very irritating and ultimately only serves to trivialise important issues.

I well remember a thread on MN a few years ago, in which the OP was holding forth about a child who had been "bullying" hers. It turned out that these children were two-year-olds. Absolute madness.

Sandbrook Sun 24-Apr-16 22:50:52

Yanbu completely agree

TeatimeForTheSoul Sun 24-Apr-16 22:51:31

It's difficult. I have been bullied twice in the workplace in my adult life. I just put up with it as bad behaviour until the perpetrators kindly did it in front of others. These people took me aside and gave me the 'look mate' talk together with anti bullying guidelines.
Because it can be low level and ongoing it is easy to dismiss until a fresh pair of eyes goes 'whoaaa".

Pipbin Sun 24-Apr-16 22:56:33

What you describe Teatime is bullying.
A three year old pushing another 3 year old that they have only just met at a soft play is not bullying.

TooOldForGlitter Sun 24-Apr-16 22:58:54

YANBU, I agree. Everyone seems to be being "shamed" a lot lately too. It's all very....childish.

Pinkheart5915 Sun 24-Apr-16 22:59:12

Yanbu I agree with lem73

twelly Sun 24-Apr-16 23:00:16

I too think it is used too easily and seems to describe any sort of falling out, any sort of argument or where someone has a different view and in a way that in itself could be described as bullying. I actually believe a number of words are used in the wrong context "bigot" for example seems to be directed by some at those who have a different view they do not agree with - not getting on or holding different views does not make it bullying or someone a bigot

ArgyMcBargy Sun 24-Apr-16 23:01:15

I find this breakdown really helpful, helped me realise my daughter was being bullied when I was playing it down...

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Apr-16 23:02:43


Especially when it turns out the kids are only toddlers.

TeatimeForTheSoul Sun 24-Apr-16 23:04:57

I agree. And I don't believe a young child can be a bully, just need unhelpful behaviour correcting.
I was wondering, more generally, if it's sometimes difficult to tell what bullying is both as victim and bystander. My first experience was in an all male environent where I was happy to joke explicitly with peers i.e. could give as good as I got. But when the boss started, inc sexual suggestions, where I was powerless to hit back it was bullying/harassment. Peers couldn't see an issue but luckily another boss witnessed and stood up for me.

MrsRyanGosling15 Sun 24-Apr-16 23:06:51

Well I've just spent me time reading a thread and wondering if people actually know what bullying is. Some people just seem so afraid to say the word 'bully' when that's clearly what they are. I do agree with you on the 3yr olds though.

Pipbin Sun 24-Apr-16 23:36:08

I've found the opposite Ryan, people use the word bully all the sodding time.

I love that poster Argy, it makes it very clear.

TealLove Sun 24-Apr-16 23:37:23

Bullying is systematic and targeted.

EveryoneElsie Sun 24-Apr-16 23:39:58

Bullying is deliberately picking on someone. Its a type of behaviour carried out by some people. It has malicious intent.
Its not two friends falling out.
Its irrelevant how often it happens.

BillSykesDog Sun 24-Apr-16 23:40:17

I agree with you that one instance of falling out or a very young child who isn't aware of the consequences of their actions isn't bullying.

But I do also think you have to be very careful because the 'Oh, it's just kids being kids' argument is one that is often used to excuse real bullying.

fatmomma99 Mon 25-Apr-16 00:52:22

great poster, ArgyMcBargy.

Agree that parents on the playground use this word with gay abandon, and it's wrong, wrong, wrong!

honkinghaddock Mon 25-Apr-16 05:45:45

Even when there is for example repeated hitting of another child, it isn't necessarily bullying. There has to be a certain level of understanding which very young or older but cognitively very young children don't have.

ChalkHearts Mon 25-Apr-16 05:53:38

I don't use it enough. It's only now, that I've been bullied out of another job, that I realise how much I've been bullied in the workplace and also in school.

I wish I'd understood what bullying was many years ago and I wasn't once again job hunting.

So, while I'm sure you're right, and it's overused on MN threads, it is good that it's now talked about and defined and discussed.

Janecc Mon 25-Apr-16 06:35:11

At dds school a boy was labelled as a bully in reception. He had had an awful home life apparently and you only needed to look at his mother to know she'd been abused in her marriage. Parents were split at the time and are now divorced. Mother struggling to deal with him and a baby. The boy acted out and hit and pushed and punched a lot. My DD was on the receiving end several times and I did feel very angry. But I said nothing to the mother - it would have served no purpose - the mother still doesn't handle him as well as she needs to. Most parents, including me let our children continue to play with him in the knowledge that a 5 yr olds life should not be defined by these actions. Parents gossiped and one little girls parents told her she was not allowed to play with him in the playground at school. Now that is a parent bullying a child and not giving a shit about the long term welfare of an abused child. This particular parent apparently grabbed the boy and shouted in his face because he hit her DD. And shouted at the mother. This was maybe in yr1, I wasn't there, my husband intervened to calm the shouty mother down. She was very happy to boast about it the following week at school.

RufusTheReindeer Mon 25-Apr-16 08:00:04


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