Since October is Bully Prevention Month, I thought I would dedicate the majority of the rest of the month to the topic, covering everything from bullying, to prevention.
To start, it only seems fitting to define what a bully is and is not.
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. The National Association of School Psychologists approximate that 1 in 5 children has either been a bully or been the target of a bully – not surprising in my opinion. In fact, I would guess the total may even be higher.
Bullies can be defined in many ways – but here is my favorite definition from Barbara Coloroso’s book, THE BULLY, THE BULLIED AND THE BYSTANDER:
“Bullying is a conscious, willful, and deliberate hostile activity intended to hard, induce fear through the threat of further aggression, and create terror.” (p 13)
Coloroso goes on to identify three specific elements to bullying – three elements that are included in legal definitions as well:
- Power – a bully is always in a position of dominance with their victim – either real or perceived.
- Aggression – The goal of the bully is to induce harm in some way – either physical or emotional. This IS NOT accidental in any way – it is deliberate acts of exclusion, aggression and/or violence.
- Threat – Bullies do not typically act as a one-time thing. There is typically the perception that the bullying will continue.
- Terror – Bullying in its more persistent and extreme forms produces a kind of terror in its victim. This can have long-lasting and devastating impact on the victim.
IN the next post, I will tackle the different types of bullying, including relational aggression and cyber-bullying. Until then, what is your definition of a bully?