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A bit confused on 'meanness' vs 'bullying'

(17 Posts)
BearsAndAngels Fri 04-Mar-16 17:17:46

I'm just wondering what the distinction is between a bit of run-of-the-mill unkindness and bullying?

DD has a few run-ins which she classes as bullying, but I would say they are more just a bit of meanness. Is there a clear distinction?

pollyblack Fri 04-Mar-16 17:35:18

I would say meanness can be isolated unking comments or acts, where bulling is more victimising one particular person for a prolonged period?

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 04-Mar-16 20:20:25

Bullying also can involve getting others involved and inside - spreading rumours - targeting the person rather than X Y it Z happens over the day - setting them up IYSWIM

waterfalling Sun 13-Mar-16 15:29:26

Bullying in my DS's experience he has endured the following:

Being tripped up
Being pushed/slapped
Having parts of his PE kit hidden
Loads of underhand name calling and demoralising always out of sight and earshot of the teachers
Having his trousers pulled down in front of a crowd
Generally constantly being made fun of

He is a sensitive boy so appears to be a magnet to this other boy who also gets another boy involved to do his bidding as a game of dare ... i dare you to push xxxxx and so on

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Sun 13-Mar-16 15:33:22

The difference is that bullying is targeted and repeated.

Sometimes children say they are being bullied when they have had an argument or a fall-out. Or isolated incidents of unkindness. That tends to muddy things.

BertieBotts Sun 13-Mar-16 15:34:37

If the run ins are with the same person/group of people then I'd class it as bullying. It might be also that there is more subtle stuff going on from the same aggressor which can feed into bullying rather than just an isolated incident of meanness.

twofalls Mon 14-Mar-16 07:56:30

Social bullying is constant belittling, rumour spreading or deliberately isolating another person.

My daughter has been experiencing it for 4 years and school has only just recognised it as bullying.

If it's pretty constant then it's bullying.

Things my dd experiences are:

You can't be in our group today
You walk funny
You are so clumsy (mild dyspraxia)
I overheard the boys talking, J only asked you out for a dare
Like your hair (short crop) it makes you look like a boy
Nice trainers, very bright
You can play with other people but you might find it hard to get back in to this group
That girl doesn't really like you, it's only because your sisters are best friends
Pretty much anything she says is met with disagreement
And not waiting for her etc.

And these are her "friends".

mammasmadhouse Tue 15-Mar-16 16:39:38

BearsAndAngels I wholly understand where you are coming from. My daughter has had lots of little niggles with with classmates along the way and when it is a one off between 2 kids, fair enough but when they get others involved, then it is another level. It is difficult in my experience to convince Schools otherwise, the ADH at my dd's school told me that the children think they are helping by getting involved/stirring up things..
Don't get me wrong my dd can be sensitive but being confronted by a group of helpful...? on what level I have yet to discover.
My dd is currently having niggles with a girl who was a good friend last year, this year I think hormones must have kicked in as she constantly tries to restrict the desk space my dd has (my dd is left handed) so that she has room for her hair, Monday my dd was being mean to her by sharpening her pencil, today she went through my dd's pencil case looking for her sharpener (they inadvertently had the same one). During the lesson this girl will go and tell another classmate who is know for stirring that my dd is being mean and it gets passed around the class. Whilst I have tried to reassure my dd that she is just being silly, I am annoyed that others are getting involved, although my dd has being telling them its none of their business...
I am not sure what else to do or advise... but go with your gut instinct, if it is upsetting dd have a chat to the teacher. Hope it gets sorted.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 15-Mar-16 16:41:40

According to BullyingUK
"There is no legal definition of bullying. But it is usually defined as repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically, and is often aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other aspect such as appearance or disability."

MewlingQuim Tue 15-Mar-16 16:49:23

Thing I don't agree with in that bullyingUK definition is the " intending to hurt" bit. I was bullied for years but I don't think for a minute my bullies intended to hurt me, as far as they were concerned they were just having a laugh, the fact that I wanted to die as a result wasn't of interest to them or they would have just found it funny.

I think bullying is sustained meanness.

antiqueroadhoe Wed 16-Mar-16 06:47:56

I agree mewling. I also don't think that reflects the subtleness employed by some. It can be quite an art form with some girls, whose aim is to ensure they appear innocent, while maximising the nastiness. N

twofalls Wed 16-Mar-16 15:27:42

Totally agree with this. It's why it's been hard to pin point exactly how dd1 is being bullied.

Parky22 Sun 03-Apr-16 22:38:01

Can I ask at what age it becomes bullying? Are 5/6/7 year olds capable of bullying?

fluffymummy108 Tue 10-May-16 10:15:25

Two falls you have described my daughters situation exactly! She is 12 and mildly dyspraxic and is having all the issues you described and it's making her miserable. All the school seem to be willing to do is keep an eye on her. It's heartbreaking to see her so sad.

Tamarandave Sun 15-May-16 14:49:48

The most essential distinction in my opinion is that mean-ness is a one off or occasional occurrence. Bullying is a repetitive, daily or weekly occurrence.

Mean-ness may often be between erstwhile friends and be resolved after a patching up. Bullying however is often done by children who are not now or never were friends with your child.

Also bullying is often characterised by more than one child (perpetrator) vs one child (victim)

Bullying is also characterised by being unrelated to your own child's words or actions in relation to the perpetrator. In other words, a bully will target your child even if your child has taken measures to avoid contact with the bully(s) and has done nothing to attract the bully's attention.

Tamarandave Sun 15-May-16 14:54:03

The other point I would like to make is that the natural state of children is one of optimism and happiness. It takes a lot to make a child miserable and not want to go to school.

If your child has already reached this stage, then real damage is being done to them already and they need to be removed from the source of harm or the source of harm needs to be addressed and stopped rapidly and completely

Gowgirl Sun 15-May-16 14:57:06

I hated school, but I don't think I was bullied, it was more the girls were mean I didn't fit in and gave up trying.....was still horrible to live through though!

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