When I do interviews it is not uncommon for me to be asked questions about bullying. Bullying is a hot topic right now from preschool to the corporate world. I am often asked if drama is the same as bullying and if the skills I teach through the Stop The Drama! campaign can help with bullying.
The short answers are “no, it is not the same” and “yes, my skills can help”. Let me explain:
I do not believe that drama is the same thing as bullying. Bullying, as I define it, has a malicious intent. A bully is purposefully making an effort to emotionally or physically hurt his or her target. Drama is caused by the lack of skills to handle conflict in any other way. An individual engaging in drama may not realize her actions are hurtful. A bully has no doubt they are and relishes that fact.
However, drama can be a precursor to bullying. When someone engages in gossip, backstabbing or catty behavior and achieves a positive outcome he or she is more likely to use that method again. Over time, it becomes apparent that the behavior is hurtful but it continues to happen. Thus, drama becomes bullying.
The 7 No Fail Secrets to Stop the Drama! (available as a free download from www.StopTheDramaNow.com) provide specific skills which allow an individual to express themselves in a way that can be heard. These skills can help a potential bully get what he or she needs without resorting to dramatic behavior which can escalate to bullying. Additionally, a target of a bully is likely to fair much better if he or she has the ability to articulate how bullying is affecting them to the bully him/herself, or a parent, teacher or authority figure. Targets who suffer in silence are likely to struggle more.
All of that is not to say that drama is not as damaging as bullying. I absolutely believe it is. However, it is important as leaders that we understand which problem we are addressing so we can manage it properly. Providing the communication and conflict resolution skills which lead to the ability to engage in productive conflict will keep the mean behaviors of drama and bullying from occurring. In that vein, next week we are going to discuss if schools should be doing more to address the problem of frenemies. Frenemies certainly fall under the category of drama but maybe not of bullying. So knowing that drama behaviors can escalate into bullying, should schools be doing more before it becomes bullying? Come back next week for that conversation.
What are your thoughts? Are the behaviors associated with drama (gossip, backstabbing, cliques, etc) the same as bullying? Why or why not? Let us know if the comments.
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