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Home » Conflict Resolution On The Playground: Eileen Kennedy-Moore (Transcript)

Conflict Resolution On The Playground: Eileen Kennedy-Moore (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of clinical psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore’s talk titled “Conflict Resolution On The Playground” at TEDxAsburyPark 2024 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Impact of Bullying

Anyone who spent time with children knows they can be very mean. As a clinical psychologist, I’ve heard so many cases of terrible bullying. I worked with an 11-year-old who faced daily ridicule from half a dozen kids who were calling him gay. I’ve worked with a girl, her name was Marla, well, we’ll call her Marla, and her friends made a “We Hate Marla” website listing everything they disliked about her.

I saw a client in her late 30s brought to tears by the memory of her high school classmates trashing her car 20 years earlier. Bullying is not something we just forget about when we become adults. Schools around the world have tried to stamp out bullying by encouraging kids to be upstanders who call out cruelty rather than bystanders who tolerate it. These programs are important. But an unintended consequence of anti-bullying efforts is that the word “bullying” is often thrown around too casually.

Distinguishing Bullying from Ordinary Meanness

What I’ve seen far more often than bullying is ordinary meanness. For example, I worked with a 10-year-old who was very upset because her friend was sitting with someone else on the school bus. So she wrote a letter accusing the friend of bullying by excluding her and listing every mean thing the friend had ever done. Then she gave the letter to her friend, who promptly accused her of bullying.

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