Appendix 1: Rude, Mean, and Bullying
Although none of these behaviors are acceptable within CHEMinistry-sponsored events, it is important to have a shared language and understand the difference between these behaviors so that when we address it with children, we are clear about how the behavior was wrong and what we can do to resolve it. The following definitions are taken from an article that appeared in Psychology Today on November 25, 2012 and will be used as such in the discipline process.
Rude = Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else. Rudeness might look like burping in someone’s face, jumping ahead in line, bragging, eating a bite of someone’s snack without permission, etc. Incidents of rudeness are usually spontaneous, unplanned, inconsiderate, and based on thoughtlessness or poor manners, but the motive behind rudeness is not to actually hurt someone.
Mean = Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone. The main distinction between “rude” and “mean” behaviors lies in the motive. Rudeness is unintentional, but mean behavior aims to hurt or depreciate someone. Kids are mean when they criticize clothing, appearance, intelligence, or anything they can find to denigrate. Meanness can also be words spoken in anger — impulsive cruelty is often regretted in short order. Rudeness that is repeated after it has been addressed can also cross the line into meanness.
Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power. Experts agree that bullying entails three key elements:
- An intent to harm
- A power imbalance
- Repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior.
Kids who bully say or do something intentionally hurtful and continue doing it with no sense of regret or remorse, even when the victim expresses hurt and tells the aggressor to stop. Bullying may be physical, verbal, relational, or carried out via technology. Physical aggression includes hitting, punching, kicking, spitting, tripping, hair-pulling, etc. Verbal aggression includes abusive and hurtful words to intimidate and/or denigrate. Relational aggression includes social exclusion, shunning, hazing, and rumor spreading.