medic asks:

Is instigating a form of bullying?

In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Oct 1, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

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Instigating other kids to engage in mean or abusive behaviors is a form of bullying. The instigator works behind the scenes to create drama and chaos for other kids. They get a sense of power just as if they were the ones actually doing the hitting or verbally abusing the child themselves. And, there are differences between the ways girls and boys go about this.

Boys Town press publishes books and materials on bullying. Below is a list of books you may be able to find in your bookstore or library, or you can purchase them at

"No Room For Bullies" by J. Bolton and S. Graeve
"Don't Pick On Me" by Susan Eikov Green
"Relational Aggression in Girls" by J. Kupkovits
"Teaching Children Empathy" by T. Caselman

If you would like to talk more about this or any other parenting issue, please call our toll-free hotline. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. Take care and best to you!

Cynthia, Crisis Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline

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Additional Answers (2)

aqblickley writes:
Hi medic,

Yes, in my opinion, instigators are themselves bullies! Urging other kids to bully is a major contributor to the bullying problem. In many cases, kids would not bully others if there weren't bystanders instigating, encouraging, or even just observing the bullying that's taking place.

For free bullying resources, check out our Special Edition on bullying. I'm including the link below. There are articles about warning signs, the effects of bullying, and ideas for how to get involved - as well as free resources to share information with kids and parents.

Hope this helps, and thanks for using JustAsk!

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Karenmom writes:
Yes, instigating is bullying--just more cowardly.  Usually people who instigate trouble or problems for others are more manipulative, conniving and in my opinion more dangerous and do more harm than the bully pushing in line at the lunchroom.  Instigators secretly slip and slide, start trouble and then move away to the side lines as not to be connected to the trouble that they have started.  The repercussions and consequences for this behavior is much worse than directly lashing out at an intended victim and eventually will bring havoc on the instigators life.
> 60 days ago

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