There is a distinction between the above behaviours:
Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else. They might have elements of bullying but rudeness is generally based on thoughtlessness, rude manners or narcissism, but not actually meant to hurt someone.
Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once or maybe twice.
The main distinction between rude and mean behaviour has to do with intention.
Kids are often mean by criticising clothing, appearance, intelligence, coolness.
Meanness also sounds like words spoken in anger, motivated by impulsion – angry feelings or propping yourself up.
Children should be held accountable but it is different to bullying when it comes to intervention.
Intentionally aggressive behaviour repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.
Bullying has 3 key elements:
- An intent to harm
- A power imbalance
- Repeated acts or threats of aggressive behaviour
Bullying may be physical, verbal, relational or carried out via technology.
Ultimately, the above is just words, what should we do about it?
I am focusing on bullying in my thoughts, because it is the most destructive of behaviours. In my experience, bullying has cost the lives of numerous teens and had intervention happened, maybe they would be alive today. Bullying puts the bullied person in isolation and leaves them with nowhere to turn, if you see it, intervene, the isolation stops and the bullying can be challenged.