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Understanding Why Kids Bully

Understanding how and why a bully uses aggressive behavior is key to knowing how to handle the situation.

Kids bully for many reasons.

Abusive or overly strict parents can cause kids to act out and continue the cycle of what they’ve learned at home.

A common reason that a kid is a bully is because he/she lacks attention from a parent at home and lashes out at others for attention. This can include neglected children, children of divorced parents, or children with parents under the regular influence of drugs/alcohol. 

Older siblings can also be the cause of the problem. If they’ve been bullied, they are more apt to bully a younger sibling to feel more secure or empower themselves. 

And we cannot rule out the fact that there are adult role models who are bullies. This can include parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Sometimes the bullying behavior stems from a lack of discipline. 

Parents must understand that they cannot be their child’s friend. They must be parents and use discipline when needed. Being your child’s role model is a lot more important. 

While some parents don’t discipline their children for various reasons, it is important to note that kids crave discipline! They depend on your structure, rules and teaching them the correct path to take. 

When kids aren’t disciplined, they will act out. And when discipline is not used, kids can develop behaviors to compensate for their maturity and insecurities.

Many bullies either want to be popular or feel a sense of entitlement. They want to be looked up to and often expect everyone to behave according to their wishes. Child bullies often lack empathy and are not taught to think about how their actions make other people feel.

Some kids may be bullied and bully others, some do it ‘just because’ and some do it because they crave attention. Some kids suffer from low self-esteem. Some kids have learning disabilities and mental health issues which can cause them to act out.

Bullying behavior is a wake-up call that a child has not learned to control his or her aggression. A child who bullies needs professional counseling to get to the root of the problem and to learn healthy ways to interact with people. Counseling can lead a child to discovering why bullying is hurtful and can teach a child empathy. Family counseling can also a great way to help reduce anger and improve interpersonal relationships.

Bottom line, bullies are insecure and use abusive behavior to feel empowered and secure. Getting to the root of their behavior and modifying their behavior through counseling is suggested.