Paws for Guidance

The "Bones" on Second Grade Guidance


We hear a lot about bullying on the news and in conversations with each other. Kids and adults alike use the word "bullying" quite frequently. Therefore, it is important to be clear about the definition of bullying. Elementary schools in District Five are using this consistent child-friendly definition of bullying: Bullying happens when someone with more power repeatedly hurts another with words or actions on purpose. As this definition can be difficult for young children to recall, second grade students recently learned the 4 "P"s in the peapod of bullying. The information provided in this newsletter is intended to inform you of the way your child has been taught to know when bullying occurs. Keep in mind, in most cases all four "P"s must be present in order for bullying to be verified.

What Bullying is NOT

The word "bullying" is serious, and it is often misused by children and adults alike. Therefore, In order to understand what constitutes true bullying, we must first understand what bullying is NOT. Sherri Gordon, the auther of seven books for tweens and teens, offers these insights about what bullying is not.

Absent of a PATTERN of the specific behavior, bullying is not:

  • expressing negative thoughts or feelings
  • being left out
  • experiencing conflict
  • teasing
  • not playing fair
  • being unkind

To read more about the difference in bullying and unkind behavior, click on the link below.

The Bully Pod

This is our Bully Pod. Students learned about the 4 "P"s that must ALL be present in order to say that bullying is occurring. We call them the "Ps in the Bullying Pod." It is an easy way to help children determine if "bullying" is the correct term to use to describe a problem that is occuring.

The 4 Ps of Bullying

Bullies have some form of greater POWER

An imbalance of power is the primary quality that charactertizes bullying. Those who engage in bullying take unfair advantage of a weaker party. The power of a bully may be real or perceived by the bully or the person(s) being target. Some types of power include:
  • physical strength or size
  • social skill or status
  • a specific ability (intellectual, verbal, athletic, artistic, etc.)

A good way to determine if real or perceived power is present is to have the target complete this sentence, "That person is _____er than me."

Bullies cause some type of PAIN

The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a lie. While bullies sometimes cause physical pain to a target, the most common forms of pain bullies inflict are emotional and social pain. This involves hurting others' feelings or friendships/relationships with others.

Bullying behavior is a PATTERN

Teasing is not the same as bullying. However, teasing can escalate to bullying if it occurs over and over. Bullying is a pattern in that the bully either targets a specific individual or group over and over OR the bully targets many different people with the same type of behavior.

Bullying behavior is done on PURPOSE

People sometimes react out of emotion without the intent to purposefully hurt. But bullying behavior is purposeful in nature. A bully knows that he or she is causing pain and continues to do so for that purpose.

"So now that I understand what bullying is, what do I do as a parent?"

You may have heard of ways to "bully proof" your child. Truly the only way to bully proof your child is to keep him or her in isolation from other people and that is certainly not a solution. The truth is your child is likely going to have at least one encounter with bullying in his or her growing years. Your child may be a target. Though you certainly hope not, your child may even bully someone. However, the greatest encounter your child may have is being a witness, a bystander, to a bully situation. In our next classroom guidance lesson, students will learn about these three roles in any bully situation. Therefore, the next guidance newsletter will deal more with how to recognize these roles and how to respond. In the meantime, you might find the website below helpful in learning some action steps for anti-bullying.