Why Kids Bully: Understanding Bullying in Order to Combat It

Bullying is a sad reality for many children. But in order to combat bullying, we must understand why kids bully – and tackle this behaviour from the root causes.

Children First Canada’s Raising Canada 2020 report lists bullying among the top 10 threats to childhood. As children return to school in the fall, some may encounter issues with bullying once again. Bullying can be done by a child or by multiple children. This causes a child to feel alone and isolated from everyone around them.

Wondering why kids bully? Understanding the reasons that drive kids to bully other children is the first step towards reducing bullying throughout the school system.

Why Kids Bully?

There are many reasons that would cause a child to bully other children. Although these reasons are causes for bullying, they aren’t an excuse. All children should understand that not only is bullying wrong, but it can also be damaging for the bullied child.

A Bully is Seeking Attention

One of the reasons that children bully others is because they are looking for the attention that comes with being a bully. The recognition that they are seeking isn’t positive attention, but that doesn’t matter.

Bullies are typically children that don’t receive enough attention and affection from those who care for them at home. Due to the lack of attention these children are missing out on at home, they begin to seek it elsewhere.

The attention they receive by bullying another child fills the void they feel from their caregivers’ lack of affection.

They Feel Insecure

When children don’t feel secure with themselves, it may cause them to lash out at other children. For example, if a child doesn’t think they are as smart as other children, they may make fun of kids that exhibit intelligence.

When a child who bullies others ridicules a classmate for being smart, it creates a temporary feeling of security about their own shortcomings.

Learned Behaviour

Some children who act as bullies do so because they have learned this behaviour at home or from other individuals in their lives. For example, this may occur by watching an older sibling or their parents interact with each other around the house.

Once children have been subjected to this behaviour for an extended period of time, they will begin to model this behaviour at home and away.

The Child is Naturally Dominant

In some cases, the act of bullying stems from the child naturally being dominant. This doesn’t make the child a bully directly; it just means that they tend to be more aggressive than other children.

As long as the child learns and understands how to control their aggression and use it productively, it shouldn’t be an issue at school.

Let’s Put a Stop to Bullying

Why kids bully? There are many answers to this question, but none of them makes bullying excusable. To prevent bullying, children and parents alike must be educated on the subject and have honest conversations together.

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