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Why do children bully

Causes of bullying: Why do children bully?

There is no universal reply to the question why do children bully. Usually a child bullies when he is insensitive to others' needs and desires and oversensitive about his own needs and desires. However, each child has to be analyzed as individual case.

Following are most common causes of why do children bully?:

  •     Bullying behavior
  •     Born Bully
  •     Trained Bully
  •     Temporary Bully
  •     Hardcore Bullies

Bullying behavior

Bullying is a behavior. Every behavior is either inherent or learned. Inherent behavior is what a child is born with. Learned behavior is something that the child has learned from surrounding people and environment. Click here to read more about child behavior.

On the same analogy, Bullying is either inherent or learned from others. If your child is a bully, you need to ascertain whether he is a born bully or he has learned this behavior from others. It may be a case of mix of both inherent and learned behavior.

Born Bully

A born bully starts bully behavior even when he is a toddler, though the symptoms are milder. If we are sure that the child is behaving that way ever since toddler stage and there has been no source to teach aggressive or bullying things to him, we can conclude that the child is inherently like that.

If that is so, consult developmental therapist, occupational therapist, child psychologist or psychiatrists.

Some child may have some different type of neurological constitution. An example is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) kids. These kids are very impatient, impulsive, energetic and extremely active. These traits make them bully when they don’t get what they want. Click here to find out more about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) kids.

ADHD is just one example. There are more and could be many more minor or major disorders which need to be examined.

If we have notice the behavior of the child and we rule out the inherent behavior, we can focus on the learned behavior.

Trained Bully

A child who is otherwise peace loving and normal by birth may also turn into a bully if he finds an aggressive or bullying atmosphere in the family, where he finds everybody being insensitive to others. The family members have problem in sharing feelings and belongings. Nobody in the family is affectionate. There is a culture of violence in the family.

Parent of bullies are inconsistent on the issues of discipline and consequences. They aren’t bothered about the behavior of their kids. They don’t even think it necessary to monitor their kids’ activities. Physical punishment is very common in such families.

The bonds between parents, children and siblings aren’t very strong. Being angry on petty things, pushing, pulling, slapping is a common behavior. Violent movies, TV shows and video games add fuel to the fire.

The child learns this behavior and with the passage of time he is fully trained into a Bully. The child doesn’t even realize that something is wrong with that kind of behavior, because he doesn’t come across any sensitive behavior to compare with.

Temporary Bully

Some kids bully all the time at all the places. These are habitual bullies. On the other hand there may be kids who are not bully otherwise but they may bully sometimes. These are temporary bullies. The reason for temporary bulling may be:

suffering from some trauma like death of a parent, relative, close friend or pet, parents’ divorce, birth of a new baby, boredom or frustration, being under pressure to succeed at all costs etc.

Hardcore Bullies

The root causes for habitual or hardcore bullies are different from temporary bullies. Every such child might be having a different reason for bullying. Some of the common reasons are:

  •     Desire of being powerful and popular
  •     Pampered and spoiled Bullies
  •     Reaction to bad experiences
  •     Unaware Bully
  •     Having Fun

1. Desire of being powerful and popular

Bullies are generally bigger and stronger than their victims and they use intimidation to get what they want. They like the feeling of being powerful and in charge of the scene. They believe that aggression and violence is the only way to get things done their way. Power makes them feel good about themselves. They feel like tough super heroes that they see in comics and movies.

2. Pampered and spoiled Bullies

Some parents pamper their children to the extent of spoiling them. They fulfill all of their kids’ desires. They don’t teach their kids to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This makes the kids realize that it is acceptable to demand any thing at anytime. It also teaches them to misbehave if their desires aren’t fulfilled. They try to impose this behavior on everybody expecting everyone to do what they say.

3. Reaction to bad experiences

Some kids are themselves victim of abuse or bullying at home, school or playground, and take out their anger and humiliation on others. They may be bullied by their sister, brother or even their own parents. Some kids are bullied when they're younger, and they turn into a bully themselves when they are a few years older.

Some kids might have problems in more than one areas of their life like studies, communication, playing etc. Something or someone is making them feel insecure, inadequate, humiliated or having no sense of accomplishment. Bullying makes them feel better.

Their parents, siblings, teachers or peers might have been neglecting them. With the passage of time the feeling of being ‘neglected’ grows into the feeling of being ‘rejected’. They look for opportunities to grab attention of their peers, teachers and parents. Acting bully makes them feel that other are paying attention to him.

Some kids might be jealous of the victim because people like the victim for some of his qualities. Bully has a strong desire to dominate and overpower this victim.

4. Unaware Bully
Some bully don't even know that their behavior is hurting others so much and how it makes the victim feel. In fact, you may be a bully yourself and not know it, and wonder why do children bully.

5. Having Fun

Some bullies enjoy troubling others for fun only. They know that they are hurting others. But they do it because they enjoy seeing others crying, being hurt, in pain.


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