Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rude, Mean or Bullying?

Rude, Mean and Bullying

 This ancient bridge connects two opposite sides or banks.  Similarly, education connects the known with the unknown and equips learners with tools to build better relationships in their future.

At the middle school, we do so many different things surrounding the support of a child's growth and development.  We work on social situations, mental processes, academic advancements and self-awareness.  We talk about manners and making others feel comfortable.  In short, we try and make citizens of these people, all while trying to get students ready for the regular high stakes testing.  Another blog initiated a conversation over these following terms.

Define Rude. Discourteous or impolite
Their actions may be rude, when students do not realize the pain they cause another person.

Define Mean.    Offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating; nasty; malicious: 
When mean, the student knows and is intentionally trying to make another suffer or feel bad about.

Define Bullying.   A blustering, quarrelsome or overbearing and habitually badgers and intimidating smaller or weaker people.
The bully repeatedly displays mean and or rude behavior to a specific student or students.  There is no sign of the behavior ending and the victim often feels powerless to control or manage the attacks or the feelings of helplessness that follow.

Those of us on the receiving end seldom consider the title of the behavior.  We just know how we feel during the event how we hurt afterwards as we consider what we might do to work through the pain.  We may even consider retaliation, revenge or making someone else hurt perpetuating the viscous cycle. 

Middle schools invest time, energy and substantial resources on breaking this cycle and helping students with empathy.  It is a continuous, mufti-faceted approach battling on the home-front, cultural issues, in the cafeteria and buses as well as the occasional classroom remark.

On the other hand, students acting out towards others, often times their friends, think they are just being funny, or they were just messing around.  These seemingly harmless remarks often go unchecked and unaddressed but are the most detrimental.  For instance, if an enemy would make an attack, a victim might excuse or ignore the infraction.  On the other hand, friend saying something may actually get our attention and provide doubt confusion or even insecurity.  This same friend may themselves struggle with confidence and esteem issues and overcompensate perceived shortcomings trying to mask or hide behind bravado!  Here is where empathy, understanding, training and finally consequences are in order!

How are we mean?
What do we do that is rude?
When do we bully others?