Why Do Bullies Bully?
Bullying is a big problem in schools in the United States, as more and more incidences are occurring, whether they are reported or not. Students that are bullied are scared to report because they perceive that school authorities and parents are unable to do anything about it.
Students who do experience bullying end up with serious psychological scars and in worst case scenario, sometimes end up committing violent crimes on others. Those who do keep it within themselves can suffer years of depression, lack of self-confidence and fear. This can translate to poor performance in school and even way later in life, as well as higher probability of the victim committing suicide. In fact, the effects of bullying can be seen and felt even decades after the victim and bully have left school.
Parents, educators and psychologists are often at a loss as to how to properly address bullying before it becomes worse. After all, children often start by teasing and playing pranks on each other, but if left unchecked, this can quickly progress into much more than just friendly and childish teasing. Bullying can also end up as part of the school culture, as is perceived by up to 71% of students. Therefore, it is not just parents of children that are bullied that have a stake in addressing and changing the bullying culture in a school. After all, school is supposed to be a safe haven and a center of learning for all students, not a place where the kids are terrified to go to.
To understand how authorities and parents begin to change this bullying culture, it is worthwhile to look at the reasons why bullies even begin to do what they do:
- Cultural reasons – Children who see violence and the cultural importance of winning will learn that and apply it in their social circles: the school. The cultural significance of power can be learned by kids even in early ages and unless they are taught differently, will seek it the same way adults do.
- Institutional reasons – Should the child see instances of bullying or violence at home or the school, then he or she will easily copy what they see in adults.
- Social reasons – Some children who are seeking attention can see and learn quickly that doing good does not warrant attention from authority figures like naughty acts do. This is also reinforced when they see on TV that those who misbehave become more popular than those who are perceived as “good girls or boys”. Children who are jealous of those who get attention might not understand how to deal with their feelings and address it appropriately.
- Family problems – Children who do not feel loved and accepted in their families are more likely to bully other children, either at home or in other places where they interact with other kids.
- Personal reasons – Children who feel rejected would most likely want to make other people feel the same.
Getting to the root cause of bullying is critical to be able to stop the bullying from the source. In fact, being aware of these influences and risks that turn children into bullies can stop it from starting in the first place. Parents and educators can start to think of ways to identify high-risk children and work through their reasons to begin bullying other children.