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 two-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

The Sad Case of The Duggars

How The Duggars Situation Contributed To Sex Abuse

People Who Say “I Hate Game Playing” Play Them

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 19, 2015 in Ambigamy
Hate game playing? Hate it enough to wonder what's really behind it? If so read on.

Friends or Frenemies? Understanding Bullying in Schools

When kids and parents improperly classify rudeness and mean behavior as bullying, we all run the risk of becoming so sick and tired of hearing the word that this critical safety issue among young people loses its urgency as quickly as it rose to prominence.

Are YOU Your Harshest Critic?

No one is perfect; even the best and brightest make mistakes. Don't dwell on your failures, instead learn from them and move on. Negative self-talk and worrying about what others say can zap the energy you need to become your better you. Silence the inner bully that persistently goads you to hurt and neglect yourself, in the interests of becoming the best you can be.

Finally! An Internet Response to Cyber-bullying

"HeartMob" will provide an on-line platform for reporting cyber-cruelty.

Does Reading Harry Potter Books Reduce Prejudice?

According to a recent study, young people who identify with Harry Potter are less likely to be prejudiced against minority groups.

How Bullying Changes Your Life’s Course If You're LGBTQ

This happens across the board in many different socio-economic groups, but it particularly pronounced among those who identify as gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer or bisexual (LGBTQ).

Bullying Hurts Everyone, Even Bystanders

A vast majority of teens are called homophobic names in middle and high school. This name-calling is not the result of kids being kids. It is bullying, and it harms everyone.

How Not to Be Boring: Advice for Teen Introverts

By Sophia Dembling on April 22, 2015 in The Introvert's Corner
Teens crave and seem to admire risk taking. What can introverted teens do to scratch that itch?

Four Ways that Online Harassment Can Be Upsetting for Youth

By Michele Ybarra MPH, Ph.D. on April 21, 2015 in Connected
What factors make some incidences of online harassment more upsetting to youth than others? While most Internet-using youth do not get harassed online, a fraction of youth harassed online are upset by the experience. Knowing what to look for can help us assist youth in need.

3 Reasons Any of Us Can Blow Up, at Anyone

We all have thoughts and impulses that are horrific if acted upon. Keeping our impulsive behaviors in check is one of the most important and hardest things we have to do in life. And if you add extreme frustration, anger, or alcohol it becomes that much harder to control this more ugly side of all of us.

My Student Wants a Romantic Relationship

Romance, teachers, and students don't mix.

Check Your Weapons at the Door

Forget nukes - our words can be the most dangerous of all.

We’ve Been Warned!

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Time Out
The precursors of group violence, terrorism and even genocide have been identified. Despite extreme cultural and religious differences between the terrorist of Oklahoma City and 9/11 - they emerged from ideologically similar muck that continues to produce horrific mass murderers internationally. We hate to face it, but we must.

"Burn Book": An App for Bullying

For those over 30, or without teenage children, the term “Burn Book” may have no meaning. 0thers will recognize it as the iconic Treasury of Nastiness from the movie Mean Girls. Now it has become an app—one that enables anonymous bullying in specific, selected communities:

Why do we like our bully boss?

By Eyal Winter on April 18, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Check if you have a Stockholm Bias toward your Bully Boss.

Couple’s Alert - Is Your Love Dying?

By Randi Gunther Ph.D. on April 17, 2015 in Rediscovering Love
By the time I see couples in therapy, they are often at a breaking point. Frustration tolerance is at an all-time low, and a love that once had such hope is floundering badly. We have to get through layers of disillusionment, anger, and hurt to see if there is anything worth saving at all and if both partners want their relationship to heal.

Cyberbullying? There’s an App for That

In the 2004 teen comedy “Mean Girls,” a central plot point is a notebook filled with vicious rumors and gossip — the “Burn Book,” it is called. Now the concept has been taken into the social media age with the “Burnbook” app.

Empathy

How do we come by what's morally right or wrong?

Smartphones for Dummies—and Young People

You've hemmed and you've hawed, but finally you've given in and bought your child a smartphone. Now, the challenge begins: how do you ensure that he or she uses it wisely? Here are 10 guidelines to promote respectful, responsible use of your child’s new gadget.

Redditor to Redditor

Young men are finding new ways to reach out to each other and older generations for advice and mentorship.

Why Some People Let Us Down When We Need Them

If someone has experienced a particular event, they’ll sympathize with those going through the same experience. But those who have gotten through difficult situations tend to be the harshest judges of those who fail under similar circumstances.

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.

Workplace Bullying: A Real Issue That Needs a Real Solution

By Shimi Kang M.D. on April 09, 2015 in The Dolphin Way
Although school-based bullying in children and youth has achieved much attention over the years, adults bully all the time and in surprising places. Universities, hospitals, schools, corporations, and even the police force are all settings where the real, common, and shockingly increasing problem of workplace bullying is occurring.

Bullying: A Case Study Revisited

They delighted in their own cleverness, and in their ability to get many uninvolved bystanders to sing a chorus as they waited in the food line. In other words, the humiliation of one girl became a popular bonding experience, and ad-libbing new lyrics was a way to get positive peer attention.

When Did “Victim” Become a Bad Word?

Our culture discourages people from acknowledging and/or talking about a victim's suffering. Many people feel embarrassed when they feel bad.. It’s as if they’ve done something wrong—as if their personality or their character has failed them in some way. It’s no wonder that many victims believe that to acknowledge their pain and suffering is to “feel sorry for themselves.”

Just Boy Banter or Tween Mean?

Tween boys are particularly prone to running in packs, complete with alpha and beta males. Similar to the queen bee who likes to hold court, alpha males are known to challenge and test the betas who surround them. There is of course a difference between playful teasing and bullying.

The Epidemic of Insecurity

The stressors in your life adversely impact your self-esteem and trigger insecurities. Because you cannot avoid them, learn how to negate them. These steps will help you combat your insecurities and strengthen your confidence in you own worth and abilities.

Is Your Boss Making You Sick?

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on April 07, 2015 in Time Out
Have you ever had a lousy boss? How about nasty coworkers? Do you dread Monday morning with more than ordinary Sunday night blues? Bullying can make your workplace toxic.