Bullying

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. Bullying is not garden-variety aggression; it is a deliberate and repeated attempt to cause harm to others of lesser power. It's a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first. Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds isn't handled with consistency.

Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 students in the United States reports being bullied at school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics. In grades 6 through 12 alone, over a quarter of students have experienced bullying. Electronic bullying has become a significant problem in the past decade. The ubiquity of hand-held and other devices affords bullies constant access to their prey, and harassment can often be carried out anonymously.

 

Just Who Is a Bully?

Studies show that bullies lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others' feelings. They misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations. They typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully have strained relationships with parents and peers. Bullies couldn't exist without victims, and they don't pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness even in nonthreatening situations and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. Increasingly, children are growing up without the kinds of play experiences in which children develop social skills and learn how to solve social problems.

CONNECTED TOPICS

Assertiveness, Child Development

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