Why Do People Bully?

Because of incidents where young people who were bullied have killed themselves, many have been asking, why do people bully? A developmental psychologist who studied bullying in particular says that bullying gives the bullies a sense of power and a way to pull a group of bullies closer together and keep someone out of the group.

The simple answer to the question “Why do people bully?” is that bullies want to show they have power over other people. Furthermore, bullies keep doing what they do when they see that they can get away with it. If no one calls them on their horrendous behavior, then they start to think that it must be OK.

Bullies have power, which brings with it popularity and high social status. Since they are often disliked by others, they may have some notoriety rather than genuine popularity.

Many bullies have social and emotional problems, but a development director for a bullying prevention program in the United States says the idea that bullies do what they do because they feel bad about themselves is not factual. Research has shown that bullies tend to have average to above-average self-esteem and have peer socialization. Then why do people bully others, if not to feel better about themselves?

Peer influence is considered a crucial factor in bullying. Even when a person is taught at home that shoving others, spitting on them, or spreading lies about them is not acceptable behavior, if the person’s peer group shows them otherwise, that person can lose his or her moral compass.

Parents who model aggression are also to blame since their kids can learn that sort of behavior from them. Those who have children should also be careful about how they handle conflict and what they say to their children about handling conflict. A psychologist who focused her scholarship on investigating “Why do people bully and behave aggressively?” has said that many parents do not talk to their kids early enough or lengthily enough about bullying, which may be why some high school kids apparently do not understand that they can be prosecuted for such abusive behavior.

When talking to kids about bullying, you should make the definition of bullying quite clear. Never assume that kids are just being kids if they happen to behave in a manner associated with bullying. Legitimate conflict among kids will surely happen, but they would still be of equal power and have support from their friends. A bully picks on people they know are weaker and intimidates, harasses, or humiliates them to force them into doing what he or she wants.

Posted at June 24th, 2011.

One Response to “Why Do People Bully?”

  1. I believe that if the person was bullied and it resulted in that person hurting themself because of the bullys actions, that bully should be held responsible of the outcome.

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