Bullying or Drama? Why Knowing the Difference Matters

Bullying is a big problem that needs to be vigorously addressed and confronted, no question about that. But stretching the issue beyond its actual size by crying bullying over every hostile situation that teens hardly does any good for the cause. By confusing what may rightly be defined as everyday drama in teens’ lives with something that is much more serious, any attempt to deal with the latter is likely to fail due to the obscured focus. Knowing the difference between the two matters as it can help in exploring different ways to prevent bullying.

The difference between drama and bullying

Even though the line separating drama from bullying may have blurred for anti-bullying advocates, there’s still a visible difference between the two to set them apart. Drama is the everyday difficulties that all teens face. There are no victims and no aggressors. Rather, it just them being part of the social world where mean things occasionally happen. It is the true right of childhood passage that teaches kids to deal with social problems. Bullying, on the other hand, is a behavior characterized by repeated pattern of rejecting or harmful behavior by the aggressor towards the victim. It typically involves power imbalance, which leads to the behavior continuing over a period of time. Bullying is serious which, if left unchecked, can lead to severe short-term or long-term implications for both victims and perpetrators.

Overcomplicating the issue of bullying

The major concern with confusing drama for bullying is that it can lead to a misleading narrative that can obscure the reality of the situation. Classifying everything bad that happens to teens as bullying can fuel the perception that the problem is so big and widespread that it’s beyond containment. This can also create friction when attempting to shift the social norms pertaining to bullying, as parents, kids and educators may feel compelled to accept the situation rather than fighting it. Furthermore, throwing the word around casually raises the risk of it eventually becoming a useless buzzword with little cringe-effect on the society. On the other side of the spectrum, treating bullying as a rite of childhood passage and viewing it as “kids just being kids” can cause the problem to spread and affect even more lives than it already has.

Dealing with bullying requires both focus and a clear perspective. Making the problem more complex than it actually is or trivializing it will be detrimental to efforts taken for its uprooting from the system.

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