As National Bullying Awareness Month 2020 comes to a close, I thought I’d share a little about bullying in general rather than a summary of a specific true-crime case. Perhaps if we understand the bully, we may be better equipped to council our children and grandchildren so they don’t become a bullying victim.
To better understand bullying, I look to reputable resources like Psychology Today (PT).
Why Do Bullies Bully?
Children who bully typically do so to get attention, get what they want or to establish social dominance.
Children aren’t born bullies. Some bullies became so by successfully acting out to get their way. Some child bullies learn how to bully from an adult bully they admire or respect.
PT packed the next paragraph with so much insight, I had to share a direct quote.
Research finds that bullies have a distinct psychological makeup. They lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others' feelings. They exhibit a distinctive cognitive feature, a kind of paranoia: They misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations. Others may not like them, but they typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully tend to have strained relationships with parents and peers.
Who Bullies Target
When bullies polish their bullying skills, they seek children who lack assertiveness and radiate fear. Children who don’t stand up for themselves—they’re submissive.
Bullies choose victims who:
become visibly upset when they’re picked on
don’t appear to have friends
Sadly, often, the insecure behavior displayed by the victim is off-putting to other children.
I’m sure you already know cyber bullying is often anonymous, which amplifies the ferocity of the aggression [direct quote from PT]. The solution to cyber bullying seems simple—stop using social media. Children who’ve used electronic devices since they were babies aren’t able to “unplug” so easily. Removing their devices or banning them from social media feels more like a punishment than a safeguard.
Stop the Bully
Schools across the county have adopted anti-bullying policies. These detail the consequences for bullying. What they don’t do is provide any counseling or teach the bully social skills. When schools can issue detention or suspension to bullies, the bully resumes bullying with more aggression after they serve the punishment.
Until bullies can learn better methods to gain popularity, social acceptance, or peer approval, bullies will continue to bully. Therefore, it’s crucial to teach children who fit the victim model how to respond to bullying and cyber bullying to take the target off of them.
Here are two great resources for parents: StopBullying.gov and Bullying Guide from DrugRehab.com
Be sure to email me if you hear of a true-crime you think would be good in a book. I’ll research it, share it and possibly use it one of my novels.
Source: Psychology Today