Why do children bully one another? There are many answers to that question. A few are straight to the point while others point to a gray area where no real answers can be found. There are also answers that many people do not want to hear. The fact is bullying is something that, although it can’t be completely prevented, it can be controlled.
Quick action on the part of parents and teachers can curb bullying behavior. Knowing the reasons why children feel the need to bully others is only the beginning. The next step is understanding what causes a child to want to bully. The underlying causes of bullying can be addressed, helping everyone involved to move past the problems and focus on working together to resolve past conflicts.
Parents who continually ask, “Why do children bully?” often only have to look at the environment the child is raised in. Children who bully often do so as a way of controlling the world around them. They enjoy the feeling of power they get when they can make another student or person feel inferior. In most cases, the bullying takes the form of mental and emotional attacks.
When a student graduates to physical violence, there are serious issues at hand that must be addressed by licensed medical professionals. Signs of bullying often appear long before physical attacks begin giving parents and teachers ample time to gain control of the situation. When bullying is allowed to progress without any type of adult intervention, the problem may not lie solely with the child.
Students may also bully others out of frustration. When adolescents struggle within their environment, the constant upheaval can cause them to lash out. Struggles with homework, disciplinary situations in school and problems at home can create an atmosphere where students feel as if they live in a state of chaos. When they cannot control the chaos, the strive to control those who cause the chaos. This can lead to bullying tendencies and an outright disregard for parents, teachers and anyone else they perceive to be in a position of authority.
What Causes a Child to Become a Bully
A child’s environment plays a large role in what causes them to become a bully. For example, students who perform academically may be made to feel inferior by other students they believe to be smarter than them. Their response to the feelings of intellectual inferiority, most often comes in emotional and physical outbursts. Yelling, threatening and intimidating other students offers them a chance at superiority they may not find inside the classroom.
At home, older children may bully the younger ones. If one child is repeatedly given preferential treatment over their brothers and sisters, the siblings who feel left out may begin to bully them out of jealousy. Children who know and understand that they are physically superior to one or both of their parents, may begin to exhibit their independence at any early age. This type of bullying often occurs in single parent homes where the mother is the primary caregiver.
Children whose parents are recently divorced or who have experienced a traumatic event in their home life, may also lash out and bully other students. When this occurs, the bullying is often the result of anger or frustration over not being able to do more to help the situation. A child who loses a parent, either through divorce, death or any other type of removal, may blame themselves for the situation. While it isn’t their fault, they may assume they are the cause and act out in whatever fashion they can as a distinct call for help.
Often times children will bully others in the same fashion as they are bullied. If a child is constantly yelled at by parents or other authority figures, they will often respond in kind. Those who are slapped or shoved may escalate to physical altercations rather quickly. Knowing what a child is exposed to on a regular basis will help counselors and other healthcare professionals get to the bottom of the problem rather quickly. In cases where family members other than the parents are the perpetrators of the abuse, the parents may actually have no clue as to what is happening right underneath their nose.
The first step in stopping a bully is identifying who they. The second step is finding out why they are bullying others. Is it due to control issues, frustrations at home or just anger and frustration in general. The answers to these questions are not always easy to find at first, but they must be addressed none the less. The next step is working with the victim to find out how they have been affected and what needs to be done to get them back on track.
Helping bullies to cope with their environment and the situations they often find themselves in, will help to level the playing field so that everyone is on the same page. Certain situations may call for the child to be removed from the home environment until the issue causing the abuse or mistreatment resolves itself.
A child’s home life is not always the cause of the bullying. It can be outside forces such as other students who have singled the student out. While they are being bullied by one group, they themselves may begin to balance things out by bullying someone else. Parents, teachers and counselors must come together in situations like this to get all of the students together and on the same page when it comes to treating one another fairly and putting a stop to all bullying activity.
Pairing students together in mentoring programs often goes a long way towards leveling the playing field. If children are put together in situations in which they must work together to achieve a common goal, they are less likely to lash out or bully one another.
When the question, “Why do children bully each other?” is asked of students, many do not have an answer. If bullying is done out of frustration, the person acting out often regrets their actions but does not know how to make amends. In some cases, the bullying cycle is started out of anger and kept in play by a child’s friends. Other children may encourage the continuation of the attacks because it allows the entire group or clique to feel more powerful. This type of situation can quickly transform from cliquish groups to outright gang type activity.
Once an incident of bullying is uncovered, both parents and teachers alike must come together to discover what the underlying problem is. If everyone works together, the issue can be addressed, dealt with and put in the past so the child can continue to move forward along their academic path. In instances, where the situation is severe, it may take several months to rectify the problem.
Counseling outside the school may be needed if the problem is found to be within the home or between family members. Enlisting the help of a counselor who is certified to work with family matters may be an option that most parents and caregivers should explore. Parents who need help leaning how to effectively deal with their children’s rebellious natures can benefit greatly from counseling.
Parents and teachers have to look at the student as well as their environment if they expect to find out answers as to why children bully. Because of the continued rise in the number of reports of bullying in and around school grounds, school officials and faculty members are being required to take additional training on how to identify students who bully as well as those who are being bullied by others.
This proactive measure enables teachers and school officials to take control of the situation much earlier than ever before. It reduces the number of opportunities students have to attack others and when an attack is witnessed, no matter how slight, immediate measures are taken to make sure it does not happen again. Schools have started to implement no tolerance policies when it comes to bullying with students who are caught being immediately suspended.
While this has proven to be effective, the consequences may seem rather harsh to parents who are worried about their childrens academic standing. Each school handles the bullying problem differently, but in the end, all parties agree that there is no place for bullying in the school environment.
Sources: http://www.education.com/reference/article/why-do-kids-bully/, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/tc/bullying-characteristics-of-children-who-bully