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I see a lot of memes on social media decrying bullying – and that’s great, but I cannot help but wonder why children bully in the first place. I mean, I can see that it seems like learned behaviour – monkey see, monkey do. But where did it start – somehow, somewhere it must have become a cycle, right? The mom bullies her daughter who bullies her daughter and on and on it goes. I’ve come to understand that people who are hurt tend to hurt others, whether they consciously mean to or not. So, to my mind, shaming or attempting to make a bully feel guilty for their behaviour may just add to the feelings that cause them to bully in the first place. I have tried to understand the reasons children bully others ever since I was bullied myself as a child.

Let’s face it happy, content people generally do not bully others, or cause unnecessary pain. I think that goes for children too. I think we need to look deeper than the surface to understand the reasoning behind bullying. Treating a child like they’re a monster does not seem to me to be a reasonable or helpful way to handle bullying. In an age where bullying, especially on social media, seems to be growing out of control I think it’s time we gave more thought to the reasons for this behaviour and try to find better ways to cope with it – for the sake of all our children and young people.

23 thoughts on “WHAT MAKES A BULLY A BULLY?

  1. Excellent post. And thought-provoking. I’m wondering if children who become bullies are in some way getting it from their parents. For example, if a father or mother is particularly insecure, and engages in putting others down to make themselves feel better about themselves, perhaps a child will follow their example and take that behavior to the playground.

    I know it’s much deeper than that. But it seems to me that would be a possible scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think it’s learned behaviour – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that. It is the use of social media to bully others that really worries me. People (children included) become so much meaner when they think it’s anonymous.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s one of the reasons I no longer use Facebook. It seems to have gotten worse and worse, especially in light of the current cultural divide. It’s almost as though the sense of anonymity gives people license to cut their IQ’s in half, if you ask me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You probably have a lot more personal self-control when it comes to a site like Facebook than I do. It seems to play upon every diagnosis they’ve ever laid on me. My ADHD draws me to the Messenger every time it pops up, and I then forget to complete the comment on the timeline. My bipolar disorder leads me to stay up all night on the darn thing without wanting to stop to take a break to eat. And my addictive personality prompts me to accept friends until I’ve collected thousands of them, 90% of them people whom I do not know and have no reason to trust. So in my case, I’m a lot better off without it.

        I also have three Facebook-related posts on this blog, the most telling by far being “The End of an Era” at https://edeninbabylon.com/2017/12/28/the-end-of-an-era/ if you would like to take a look at it sometime. When I got to #4 of the 8 reasons I happened to cite, many people said right there: “Andy, you should NEVER use Facebook again.”

        I do enjoy Twitter and WordPress very much.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think that is very smart and there are times I’ve considered getting rid of it, but as I said I like being able to connect with family across the miles (and miles). These days I spend more of my free time on WordPress than any other social media. I like reading posts from people like yourself who have interesting and intelligent things to say.

        I hope all is well with you and wishing you lots of blessings throughout the year ahead.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that most people are bullies at some time in their lives. I was bullied quite badly- beaten and racially insulted at school as well as by people in Austria. I was always very aware of the unfair nature of that behaviour.

    But looking back I found that I had also bullied people without realising it, or even worse without considering the impact of my actions. Something that seemed relatively innocuous to me was often very hurtful to others. I never physically tormented anyone, but to this day I have a very cutting tongue, I can see people’s foibles and make very succinct and hurtful comments, that hold more power than I realise. I think most people have been a bully, but chose not to acknowledge that fact, or simply forget to hold others to the standard they want to be treated themselves. Perhaps some people disagree but I’m always suspicious of those who claim that sort of superiority. It usually arises from poor self awareness, not moral strength. “Let he who is without sin… ” is not a right to an action, but a reminder of responsibility, IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Perfect timing for this post! Yes, I do believe this is all learned behavior, EVEN if parents or caregivers are not meaning or knowing they themselves are doing this. I work with young kids (9-14mo) and honestly at that young age, they are already mimicking behaviors, it is amazing how much little beings absorb, pay attention to and honestly learn. Social media is the the BIGGEST reason why bullying has gone to a new level. Kids DO NOT know how to speak with their God given voice…. What they would not say to someone’s face, is much easier to text, Snap, whatever…. And it does go all back to parenting and being AWARE of what your kids are doing, saying and acting like on their phones and social media. I agree, it is not about belittling these kids who are doing this, it is about TEACHING them a better way to be. Thanks for the thoughts!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As I see it, having shared experiences in my post, there are two sides. On one side, we have bullies who themselves were bullied (i.e. bully parent or sibling), or taught to do unto others before they do it unto you, which is fear/anger based. But what about those who are bullied? It’s important for parents to teach their little ones to speak up, and give them experiences in which they can come face to face with themselves and their fears, and stand up. Camping? Sports? Teamwork? Of course, many parents may not be aware of bullying or how to handle, or they have handled but don’t know how to share what they’ve learned, figuring that’s part of life and each child must learn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very good points, but as a parent of children who were bullied it is not easy to find solutions, and in today’s world with much of the bullying taking place on social media it is even more of a problem. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Normally, I stay away from social media, preferring activities with other people physically, as in sports, social events, and friendly chatter or lunch. Perhaps, getting children involved in such things, including sleep overs, playing outdoor games and indoor board games, as well as other activities engages them in handling day to day disagreements and competition, more in a real-life fashion. I noticed, as a teacher, those who spent much of their off-school hours online or gaming, that they seemed far too much in their heads, and those who participated in sports, clubs, even getting together at each others’ houses, seemed better adjusted. Not always, but usually.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I am very much a bookworm. I interact more with people on WordPress than anywhere else. I work at a library so I do interact with coworkers and patrons there, but I have grown to look forward to the interaction here. But you do raise fair points. However, some people are more naturally introverted than others…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re absolutely right. Happy and content people with a reasonable amount of self-esteem do not bully others. Bullies produce more bullies. A lot of the time the kids bullying now have parents that were a bully at their age. And it continues because bullies are rarely disciplined for their behavior which is why we see a growing amount of workplace bullying as adults. This world is full of evil mean people that enjoy seeing others suffer, something that is especially apparent with social media. I do have hope that these people will finally get what they deserve. Whether it happens naturally or by God himself we soon will have peace from this foolishness (Psalms 37;10,11).


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