Parent Resources
Rude, Mean, or Bullying?

Dear Parents, 
When discussing social concerns occuring at school with friends or classmates, it is important to help your child to correctly define the behavior that is occuring.  These terms are introduced to students through monthly classroom counseling lessons.


Rude = Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else. Incidents of rudeness are usually spontaneous, unplanned inconsideration, based on thoughtlessness, poor manners or narcissism, but not meant to actually hurt someone.

Mean = Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice). The main distinction between "rude" and "mean" behavior has to do with intention; while rudeness is often unintentional, mean behavior very much aims to hurt or depreciate someone.

Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power. Bullying entails three key elements: an intent to harm, a power imbalance and repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior.

Size of the Problem
While helping students learn appropriate reactions to situations and real or perceived problems, the following information on the Size of the Problem is being taught in classrooms in grades 2-5.  In discussing situations with your child, you may ask questions, such as "How big was the problem?",  "Did your actions make the problem smaller or bigger?" , and "Did your emotions match the size of your problem?" 

Size of Problem  Who Can Help  Examples of Problems  Possible Emotional Reactions 

Emergency, 911, Firefighter,
Police, Ambulance

Danger, Fire, Tornado, Seriously ill or injured person  Terrified, Anxious 
 4  ​Special Adult to Fix: 
Principal, Doctor, Counselor, Dentist

Someone hits you, destroys your property, sick or injured, bullying, divorce, tragedy 

 Very Sad, Furious, Afraid


 ​Adult to Fix: 
Teacher, Parent, Nurse, Babysitter

 You are slightly sick, You can’t figure out how to do assignment

Nervous, Sad 


 ​A kid can fix it by him/herself

People talking about you, receiving consequences for unexpected behavior 

Frustrated Angry 


 ​Let it Go:  So small its not really
a problem at all 

Having to work with someone you don’t like, Not being first in line, having to wait or take turns 

Irritated, Disappointed