Understanding Bullying

Bullying is a distinctive pattern of deliberately harming and humiliating others. It's a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first. Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds isn't handled well.

Bullies couldn't exist without victims, and they don't pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. No one likes a bully, but no one likes a victim either. Grown-up bullies wreak havoc in their relationships and in the workplace.

Many experts believe that bullying behavior is on the rise because children increasingly grow up without the kinds of experiences that lead to the development of social skills. It has been well-documented that free play is on the decline, but it is in playing with peers, without adult monitoring, that children develop the skills that make them well-liked by agemates and learn how to solve social problems.

Recent posts on Bullying

Why Are More Young Girls Killing Themselves?

Suicide rates have tripled among 10 to 14 year old girls during the last 15 years. What is going on? Several possible factors underlie this disturbing trend.

Touchy Toughies

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 22, 2016 in Ambigamy
Everyone needs a way to say "nope, I'm not going to listen." Here we explore two main "noping strategies" with an emphasis on how the rugged type do it.

Calling the Holocaust "Bullying" Is Offensive

By Izzy Kalman on May 18, 2016 in Resilience to Bullying
Experts who call the Holocaust "bullying" are wrong. They are trivializing genocide and catastrophizing bullying. Genocide is actually victim behavior.

New Study Reveals Six Benefits of School Restorative Justice

Zero tolerance approaches have not garnered much research support for reducing conflicts or violence. A new study identifies the many benefits of school-based restorative practices

Donald, people who live in glass houses shouldn't name call

Will she do everything she can to resist the ever-so-tempting, but career-ending response of, “You Mr. Trump are an ignorant pr—k!” from a Megan Kelly?

10 Tips: When You Don't Like Your Teen's Friends

What To Do When You Don't Like Your Child's Friends

Female, Over 50, and Over-qualified

Is the continued under-employment of professional women in a post-recession job market discriminatory, or an instance of institutionalized bullying?

How Can You Bear to Listen?

By Nick Luxmoore on May 12, 2016 in Young People Up Close
Sometimes we simply have to bear witness to the effects of other people's cruelty and remember our own capacity to be cruel.

New Report: Bullying Is a Serious Public Health Issue

How many children are impacted by bullying?

Do You Know How to Defend Yourself?

Have you ever been attacked, assaulted or hurt by another? Here's five time tested strategies for responding. Which have you used? Which would be good to learn?

What Can Organizations Do to Tackle Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying. What is your organization doing about it?

HB2 as Cultural Narrative

What must it be like to have 'dread'—and perhaps even 'shame' and 'inadequacy'—coded into brain circuitry linked to the urge to use a bathroom?

The Mystery Culprit in the Murfreesboro Arrest Outrage

By Izzy Kalman on April 27, 2016 in Resilience to Bullying
The bullying psychology is to blame for the outrageous arrest of ten young children for "doing nothing to stop a fight" in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Is Your Kid's Tattling Making You Crazy?

Somewhere in between the extremes of gratuitous tattling and shame-based cover ups, we must help kids find a tenable middle ground for reaching out to trustworthy adults.

How Incivility is Spreading Like a Cancer

By Ray Williams on April 26, 2016 in Wired for Success
The lack of civility in America has spread beyond politics.

The 3 Types of Children Who Bully Their Own Parents

Beneath the tough exterior of every bully is a scared child, constantly wrestling with insecurities and worries.

Bullied at Work? Why You Might Not Have Any Protection

What psychological factors allow organizations to avoid taking action against abusive bullying behavior?

Seventeenth Anniversary of the Columbine Shooting

By Izzy Kalman on April 20, 2016 in Resilience to Bullying
The 17th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, an event that led to a worldwide anti-bully movement, went by practically unnoticed. And that movement is making bullying worse.

"All Muslims Are Terrorists!"

By Izzy Kalman on April 19, 2016 in Resilience to Bullying
News about terrorism has fostered Islamophobic bullying. Here is simple advice, consistent with Islamic teachings, on how Muslims can cope with Islamophobic bullying.

Talking Out Military Sexual Trauma

By Eric Newhouse on April 18, 2016 in Invisible Wounds
Jennifer Sluga told the VA's "poet-in-residence," Thor Ringler, about her sexual abuse so her VA caregivers would understand her concerns, but it became a liberating experience.

We’re Giving Bullying a Bad Name

Think your child’s school needs an anti-bullying program? Here’s why you might be wrong.

There Are Two Kinds Of People

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 07, 2016 in Ambigamy
Remembering that you're fallible even in the middle of a fight.

Does Technology Make Bullying Easier?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 06, 2016 in Media Spotlight
A new research study published in the journal Psychology of Violence examines different forms of harassment, both online and offline, and the impact it can have on young people.

Outrage and Outrageousness: On Trump’s Popularity, Part 4

Although many people have described Trump's language as condescending, combative, or bullying, its aggressiveness doesn’t at all turn off his devoted followers. How come?

Why Trump Would Be the Worst Choice to Deal with ISIS

ISIS recruits who are radicalized and then sent back to their home countries to wage terror are not the same as fighting them in a foreign country. Trump doesn't get this.

Can Donald Trump "Unring a Bell?"

Did Donald Trump go one insult too far. And so, how will his being on the retreat and on the defensive come across to his supporters?

Finding Professional Help for Victims of Bullying

Sadly, parents might need to decide whether they should drain college savings accounts in order to get their child the professional help they need to get through high school.

Is Cyberbullying Overrated?

Cyberbullying involves using electronic communication to intimidate and harass someone. Because it's so public and so easily spread, it can be devastating.

Teen Sexting in Perspective

Is sexting really "the new normal" among teens? Here's what research says plus some practical ideas for parents.

I Am Done With My Mother

How to deal with ambivalence toward parents