Humans have bullied each other since the dawn of time. On the playground, there is always that formidable bully who stalks around wreaking havoc in the lives of his or her playmates. Why do kids bully and why do some kids feel the need to instil fear in the lives of others? If you are the parent of a bully, you are probably at loss for your child’s behaviour and want nothing more than to tame the bully!
Why do kids bully?
- Bullies are not born! A child is not born to be a tormentor but in many cases circumstances will cause them to take action to protect or defend themselves or the child may not have the necessary verbal skills to express how they feel. The playground tormentor may be a completely different child at home (who is calm and loving) and as such, when parents are informed of their child’s tormenting behaviour they are in shock.
Kids lash out when they are afraid or when they feel threatened and often they find that bullying other children is their only means of protection and a way in which they can prevent other kids from harassing them or singling them out.
By nature, humans are jealous. Even though we, as adults, try hard not to envy what our friends or neighbours have – we still do. Kids are not immune to jealousy and when they see or hear of a child who receives expensive toys, is taken away on expensive holidays, etc., a child is unable to control their resentment or their anger and they lash out.
Children today are bombarded with violence and the nature of our movies and TV programs demonstrate that in order to succeed in the real world, boys must be tough, and they need to be angry. This behaviour is mimicked by the bully who believes that anger will earn the respect of his fellow classmates. Hollywood movies continually show the hero as being a dangerous and an uncaring individual who always gets his way by force. A child (who is unable distinguish between fact and fiction) believes that this behaviour will make him look powerful and earn him respect.
There are a number of reasons why kids bully and why they feel the need to threaten and torment kids who are smaller than they are. Bullying can often be an act of revenge, an act of jealousy or it may simply be that the child is angry and is unable to express his or her feelings.
Taming the bully
Parents and teachers need to make a conscientious effort to work together and help the child to understand that bullying is an unacceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated. Children who are at the receiving end of the bully’s harsh words or harmful actions live their life in constant fear and the action of the bully will have far reaching effects on the life of the bullied child. It is important to put a stop the damaging behaviour and give the playground bully the help needed.
- A parent will need to look at their own behaviour before they can help a child. As a parent – are you a bully? How do you treat your spouse or partner? Do you threaten people when you don’t get your own way? Kids often mimic their parent’s behaviour and if you or your partner are making use of harsh tactics at home to get things done or to control other, a child will know no better.
- Limit your child’s TV watching time and ensure that you watch TV together.
- Spend quality time with your child. Show him or her that you have a genuine interest in their lives and ask those questions about their fears and concerns.
- It may be necessary to arrange a consultation with a child psychologist who will, through play therapy or art therapy get to the root cause of the problem and give the child various ways to work through their anger, or fears.