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What Causes Bullying: Where Do They Come From?

written by: Jacqueline Chinappi • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 1/17/2012

What causes bullying? Bullying in the classroom is not new. Bullies have been around for ages and if the teacher can not understand why the child is bullying, she may never really be able to help the child. So where do bullies come from?

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    In the Classroom

    What are some of the causes of bullying and how can we help these bullies? When people think of a bully they may imagine a larger than life kid who goes around picking on kids half his or her size. Many times though this is simply not true. Bullies can come in many sizes and forms. They can be short or tall, a boy or a girl, have glasses or no glasses, etc. Some popular television and movie bullies are actually girls! One of the most popular “girl bully" was Nellie Olsen from Little House on the Prairie who was always tormenting Laura Ingall’s and was constantly cheating, stealing, and most of all lying.

    When we envision a bully we see fists of rage and violence. Many times violence is not the only abuse or bullying going on.

    Major types of bullying include:

    • Verbal abuse: name-calling, putting someone down, teasing, insulting others, threatening others.
    • Physical abuse: punching, kicking, biting, shoving, making others do things they do not want to.
    • Relationship abuse: telling others you will spread rumors about them if they do not do something, rejecting people and not talking to them, talking badly about people behind their backs(lies & rumors).

    Kids and even adults who are bullies try to push others down to feel a sense of power. For one reason or another, the constant demeaning of other people makes the bully feel good about him or herself. When the bully feels good then they feel as if they are “better than other". This bullying not only brings attention to them but also brings a personal gain.

    It seems bullies thrive on attention, unfortunately it is negative attention. This negative attention puts a damper on the children's class time and education time.

    These bullies can be acting this way for several reasons:

    • This is the only way they know how to act: perhaps they have been pushed around, beaten down, and abused at home. These types of bullies do not know anything else, they have not been taught any other way.
    • They do not get attention at home. These types of bullies are seeking attention and love but they do not know how to go about it. So they turn into bullies and receive negative attention. The first time they do something wrong and get attention, they feel good about themselves. So instead of trying to do something for positive attention, they continue down the road for negative attention.

    Teachers and staff need to recognize when you have a bully in the classroom. The faster you realize this child is a problem the faster you can help resolve his inner problems. More likely than not the child does not want to be mean but he or she has already built up this reputation…almost like no going back. The bully should meet with a school counselor and set up a list of goals to help resolve his bullying ways. The main goal above all would be to help the bully recognize his behavior patterns and understand that he or she can change. When people think of what are the causes of bullying, we should understand that the bully may very well be bullied as well. Therefore leaving this victim to look for a victim himself to ensure a higher level of self esteem.