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The Right and Wrong About Bullying

I recently had the opportunity to speak to law enforcement and school administration leaders.

We discussed the difference between bullying and conflict, why they are different, and why they need to be handled differently.

Listed below is the information we shared:

Picture2  Conflict:

  • Equal power
  • Happens occasionally
  • Accidental
  • Not serious
  • Equal emotional reaction

Most Conflicts:

  • You can see and hear what’s going on.
  • You should always monitor the situation.
  • If you see the problem escalating, it’s time to step in.


With Simple Conflict:

  • Simple Conflict involves playful banter back-and forth between both parties.
  • Simple Conflict is accompanied by a friendly tone of voice and laughter.
  • Simple Conflict is accompanied by affectionate gestures or expressions.
  • Simple Conflict brings people closer and encourages friendships.
  • Simple Conflict sometimes helps to lighten a tense or anger situation.
  • In most cases Simple Conflict does not lead to physical confrontations.



  • Bullying is not playful
  • Bullying is one sided
  • There is no compromise

NO COMPROMISE, and there is NO working it out!

When I heard a middle school principal says to his students:

“Obviously we tell them to try to work with the bully for a while.” Junior High School Principal

I am not sure school leaders and administrators really understand the difference between bullying and conflict. Because if we say these words to a Target of an Aggressor or person bullying them we are not offering them help we are sending them back to the wolves.

At the workshop when I asked the attendees what they would say or do to help a Target here was their responses:

Right Things to Say                                      Wrong Things to Say

Tell Someone                                                Ignore Them

Show No Reaction                                         Join Sports

Comforting Words                                        Just tell them to stop it

Listen to them offer to support them       Confront

Draw attention YELL

Peace Circle Referral

Tell a Teacher

The best advice shared at the workshop:

“Address the root causes for the bullying with the aggressor (bully).”

Let’s keep this discussion going please send in or email me your comments:

Copyright Richard Paul 2015