Bullying is something parents, students and educators are talking about, and children’s author Peter J. Goodman has put out a list of things to think about. (Goodman is the author of “We’re All Different But We’re All Kitty Cats.”) We often talk about the victims, but what about the perpetrator? What about the root of the problem? Very interesting stuff. Here are some things Goodman says about bullies:
- They aren’t sure about the best way to communicate their feelings. Usually, there is something that a bully wants, but they tend to go about trying to get it in the wrong way. While people have typically thought that bullies were never the popular kids, for example, research shows that they are often popular kids. They tend to bully because they are trying to look good to their peers, and become even more popular.
- They may be hurting inside and want you to hurt, too. Some kids who bully don’t feel good about themselves and may be bullying others to help offset their own feelings. Bullies usually want to feel stronger. Bullying others makes them feel stronger and more powerful. Bullies, especially those who bully to raise their social status, want desperately to fit in with their peers and be accepted.
- They are probably bullying people in the home, too. If someone is a bully at school, there is also a good chance they are bullying someone in the home, such as a sibling. Research published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology found that children who bully at school are likely also bullying their siblings in the home.
- They have probably also been bullied, somewhere along the way. Some children who bully have learned the behavior at home. Research has found that many children who bully have seen such behavior in the home, or are more likely to have been exposed to violence in the home.
- They probably sought you out because they thought you were weak. According to the American Psychological Association, a typical victim is sensitive, quiet, withdrawn, shy, insecure, has low self-esteem, and appears physically weaker than the bully. Those students who appear not to have at least one good friend are often seen as easy targets by bullies.