The Difference Between Bullying And Mean Behavior


When children are growing up, they are still figuring out how to get along with each other, so fights and misunderstandings can arise, and it is normal for that to happen. While, as parents, we enjoy our children being happy among their peers, these situations are typical, and we even experience them as adults, so it’s not something to worry about. 


When children argue or are not getting along with someone, mean behavior appears, and it can be confused with bullying situations, but not all unkindness is bullying. 


So, how can we differentiate these two situations, help children get along, and teach them how to solve misunderstandings without being mean? 

The Importance Of Teaching Children The Difference Between Bullying And Mean Behavior

Rudeness is unacceptable, and we must work with our children to be considerate of their peers and the people around them. However, it is not the same as bullying, and we must teach our children this difference.


Since bullying is a form of harassment that lasts and can have tragic consequences in the future, teaching our children what bullying is can help them identify it. And as parents, it is essential to know the difference since perhaps a mean or unkind behavior can be solved by talking to your children and others involved. Still, bullying has different and more profound treatments that involve school authorities and discipline policies.

What’s The Difference Between Bullying And Mean Behavior?

Toley Ranz is here with some tips on differentiating these two situations and guiding your children into solving them! 


  • Consider Their Age: When children are around 4 years old until 10, they are still learning how to express their feelings or thoughts, so sometimes they can ask things that may sound rude, but they’re full of innocence, and they’re not bullying. If your children ask about someone’s weight, it is essential to explain that asking or speaking about others’ bodies is unkind, but if your children are mocking a peer because of their weight,that would be  bullying. In this instance, it is also crucial to give your children tools to answer these comments and say, “I didn’t like what you said about me” or “I felt hurt that you said that,” instead of answering with more unkindness. 

  • Be Realistic: As adults, we can’t be everyone’s friends, nor should we expect this from our children. Typically, they don’t get along with everybody, and maybe they won’t receive invitations for every birthday or party. But being deliberately excluded and receiving mean comments about would be bullying.

  • Types Of Teasing: Teasing is not ideal but can appear. When children and pre-teens gain trust, they can start teasing each other and laughing, but there’s a difference between laughing together and laughing at someone. Joking and teasing become bullying when the person feels exposed, and there is a conscious decision to hurt this person. Teasing becomes bullying when kids make demeaning comments, engage in name-calling, spread rumors, and make threats. Help your kids to learn to differentiate and abide by it.  

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