Mariposa County Project Respect

What is Bullying?

Childhood Bullying

Bullying is unfair and one-sided. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening, or leaving someone out on purpose.

Some examples of bullying during childhood include: physical attacks, verbal attacks, name calling, ignoring, ganging up on one child, leaving someone out of a game or activity, making fun of a child for their differences, and more.

Children who bully may be former or current victims of bullying themselves. Both boys and girls use face-to-face and behind-the-back bullying behaviors. Boys tend to use more face-to-face behaviors, while girls tend to use more behind-the-back behaviors. Both are equally harmful to the victim of bullying. Bullying commonly increases between the third and seventh grades.

It’s important to distinguish the difference between bullying and conflict. Conflict is a disagreement that happens when people want different things. It is a normal part of human interaction. The people involved in a conflict have equal power to solve the problem. They can work it out together. They are not purposely trying to hurt each other. Conflict may be uncomfortable but it does not hurt.

Teen Bullying

Bullying during the teen years and adolescence is similar to childhood bullying in that the bully has power or control of some sort over their victim. It is one-sided. Once again, it is not to be confused with normal conflict, which is a healthy part of normal development in childhood and adolescence.

Bullying can involve a large variety of behaviors, but all involve a person or group repeatedly trying to harm someone who is weaker or more vulnerable.

Some examples of bullying behaviors in adolescence include:

  • Hitting/kicking/punching
  • Intimidating/threatening
  • Maliciously teasing or taunting
  • Spreading rumors and gossip
  • Making sexual remarks
  • Stealing or forcing people to give their money or belongings
  • Racist or sexist jokes or slurs
  • Putting someone down or making fun of them because of differences

For more information on teen bullying, visit the Safe Youth Website or see the Facts for Teens: Bullying (pdf).

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is another form of bullying. Domestic violence occurs when one member of a relationship uses their power or control in a relationship to harm their partner. Domestic violence can take on many forms including, but not limited to:

  • Physical abuse (punching, slapping, biting, kicking)
  • Emotional/Psychological abuse (threatening, put downs, intimidation, using fear tactics)
  • Sexual abuse (touching, forcing to do things the other person doesn’t want, rape)
  • Financial abuse (controlling all the money)

Research shows that children who are bullies may be more likely to use the same types of behaviors in their intimate relationships later in life. Once again, conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship, however, if one person uses physical, emotional, or financial power to control the behaviors of another person they are intimate with, this is domestic violence. For more information on domestic violence, its prevalence, its effects and what you can do about it, go to Mountain Crisis Services.

Workplace Bullying

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

  • verbal abuse
  • threatening, humiliating or offensive behavior/actions
  • work interference -- sabotage -- which prevents work from getting done

Workplace Bullying: (a) is driven by perpetrators' need to control the targeted individual(s), (b) is initiated by bullies who choose targets, timing, place and methods, (c) escalates to involve others who side with the bully, either voluntarily through coercion, and it (d) undermines legitimate business interests when bullies' personal agendas take precedence over work itself.

Studies have shown 1 in 6 workers in the US has been bullied according to this definition. Additionally, half of all bullies (58%) are women, half of all bullying is woman-on-woman, and women comprise 80% of targets. The vast majority of bullies (71%) are bosses.