I invited one of my daughter’s friends to her birthday party and when the girl’s mom didn’t RSVP, I sent a friendly text communicating how badly my daughter wanted her to attend. The mom responded by saying her daughter wouldn’t be able to come because (and she admitted the awkwardness of this) her daughter told her that my child has been teasing, taunting and hurting her daughter’s feelings almost every day. I don’t know what to think because I don’t see what goes on at school…but if it’s true that my child is a bully, what should I do about it? — Liv, New Jersey
I think we should start by defining bullying behavior. As a society, we have gotten caught up in the word bullying, and the minute someone else might have a bad interaction with someone or someone is mean to them, they immediately label it as being bullied. Power struggles among girls are also a common occurrence and ugly though they may be, they don’t necessarily constitute bullying. It’s important to understand that, in the true sense of the word, bullying is a pervasive, consistent aggression toward another person, either physically or emotionally.
So, with that in mind, we need to identify whether your child is the bully. And how do you do that?