Although there’s no real justification for bullying, there are many reasons why people resort to bullying in school, at home and in the workplace. Children and teens may have different reasons for bullying in a school environment than an adult at home or in the workplace. The results, however, can be just as devastating on the victims. Despite efforts to curtail the verbal and physical abuse of bullying, it remains a major problem in society today.
Many studies have been conducted in public and private schools to get a better understanding of the bullying issue and work out solutions to eliminate the problem from the school environment. These studies have explored some of the major reasons why bullies bully and what effect it has on children and teens obtaining a quality education. The following explains what these studies have uncovered.
The home environment plays a big role in helping children and teens develop positive social behavior. Parents are responsible for teaching their children courtesy, respect and self-control. Children and teens who live in a loving home environment where parents are actively involved in their upbringing are less likely to become bullies.
In contrast, children and teens who come from broken families or live in an atmosphere of tension and strife may develop aggressive and destructive behavior which could easily carry over into the school environment. Lack of discipline and supervision could also contribute to abusive behavior as children or teens resort to bullying others to get what they want.
If a parent or older sibling demonstrates harsh behavior towards younger children, these same children may eventually repeat that conduct with classmates who are physically or mentally weaker than themselves in an effort to gain self-esteem or respect. Many bullying issues could be nipped in the bud at the home level by parents taking more responsibility for the upbringing and moral education of their children.
Peer pressure and Bullying
Some reasons bullies bully is to gain acceptance from peers at school. It can be very difficult for older children and teens to be left out of social activities and events due to lack of acceptance by their peers. Children or teens may resort to bullying in an effort to look cool or be accepted as part of the “in” crowd.
If children make friends with others who bully, it’s easy for them to get sucked into the same behavior. Children and teens who have grown up within a violent atmosphere or are used to viewing violent TV shows or movies may have a very flippant attitude towards violence, considering it a natural part of life. This makes it easy for them to accept and go along with bullying behavior.
In some schools, bullying is used to gain a reputation and prestige among what is considered the “elite” crowd. Students who want to enter that social status have to accept these wrong mindsets and attitudes towards their peers. Other children may bully for self-protection to avoid getting taunted or bullied themselves.
What Do Bullies Hope to Gain
There are as many reasons for bullying as there are types of people who bully. Most bullies have an agenda for their behavior. There’s something they hope to achieve through their abusive action.
Studies on bullying show that many kids turn to this behavior for the same reasons, regardless of their location or background. Some common reasons of bullying behavior are:
- To get attention from teachers, parents or peers
- To take out their frustrations, anger or pain on others
- To get what they want
- Poor upbringing at home/lack of training in common courtesy and respect for others
- Copying behavior from violent television shows, video games or movies
- To cover up their inabilities or inferiority complex
- To be accepted among a certain crowd
- For excitement or to alleviate boredom
- To gain control over other people
Sometimes other students encourage bullying behavior by making the bully feel important or cool. Students also encourage the abuse by not reporting incidents as they happen. This may be due to fear of becoming the next victim. Schools that do not enforce bullying policies or offer little supervision on school grounds can be more susceptible to bullying attacks. By being more proactive in supervising hallways, cafeterias, bathrooms and playground areas, faculty and staff can help curtail this abuse.
Understanding why bullies bully can also help teachers and staff get a better handle on how to diminish incidents among students in their care. Rather than ignore bullying incidents or play them down, teachers can confront this aggressive behavior with their students and expose it for what it is. Teachers and staff can make a tremendous difference in eliminating bullying by taking an active stance against it. Schools that take a zero tolerance attitude towards bullying stand a greater chance of seeing a reduction in this behavior on their premises.
Bullying can destroy a child or teen’s character, confidence, friendships and opportunity to receive a quality education. Victims of bullying behavior may suffer physically, mentally and emotionally from this abuse, leaving scars that could last well into their future. They often grow fearful of returning to school, are incapable of keeping up with their studies and suffer from emotional trauma that robs them of the simple joys of life.
Bullies also suffer from their actions. They rarely have any true friends due to fear of their behavior and lack of trust. Without help, their anger management problems could continue into later years, affecting their ability to complete their education and establish a career. Today’s employer looks for individuals with the ability to communicate and work well with others. A bully’s aggressive personality that extends into adulthood will be a detriment to his obtaining a good job and establishing a prosperous career.
Schools suffer from the action of bullies as it destroys students’ confidence in their educational system. If students feel school officials are not interested in protecting them from abusive acts, they will have little respect for the school or their education, which could result in higher drop-out rates and increase in crime. Everyone loses when bullies are allowed to have their way.
Creating a Bully-Free Society
There are no good reasons for accepting bullying as a natural part of society. If parents and teachers learn to recognize signs of this abusive behavior early on, they can take the necessary steps to correct wrong attitudes and mindsets from the start. Bullies are not born that way, but develop an aggressive behavior pattern over time.
A child’s home life, upbringing and personal experiences in life can contribute toward developing adverse behavior patterns. Parents can help instill good behavior in their children through moral education and setting the example for them to follow. Parental involvement in their child’s upbringing is essential to helping create a bully-free society.
As most children obtain a public education, it’s also important for teachers to become more involved in their students’ behavior at school. Rather than simply reacting to bullying activities after the fact, teachers can teach their students the importance of developing communication skills and demonstrating courtesy and respect to others.
Moral education is sorely lacking in today’s public school system. Many people feel this is the responsibility of parents. However, it does no harm for teachers to reinforce these principles in the classroom. In fact, teachers who encourage and praise their students for good moral behavior in the classroom are doing their part to curtail bullying.
Children spend an average of 4-6 hours in a school environment. It only makes sense for teachers and staff to help instill positive social attitudes and mindsets in their students along with their academic training. Children as young as preschoolers can be taught such moral values as
- good manners
and other social skills that will help them integrate well into society when they are older. Moral education is a fundamental part of a child’s training. It will affect just about every aspect of his or her life as he or she grows into adolescence and adulthood. By minimizing this aspect of a child’s upbringing, parents and teachers do their children a disservice and handicap their future.
From a child or teen’s perspective, there may seem like many “logical” reasons for bullying in their home or school environment. By outward appearance, bullies seem to be popular and revered by other students. However, appearances are deceiving. Bullies are never fully trusted by their so-called “friends” nor have their respect. For many bullies, it’s only a matter of time before someone else comes along to claim their position and make them a victim of their own abusive behavior.
Bully children and teens also grow up with a false sense of importance and poor social skills that will hinder them later in life. By exposing the negative repercussions of bullying from the start, parents and teachers can help their children make good choices in their lives that will benefit them both now and in the future.