Whilst it’s easy to judge and condemn children who bully, it does very little to solve the problem. No child is born a bully and understanding the motives behind their actions can often be helpful in stopping the behaviours.
Low Self-esteem/feeling inferior
When a child feels inferior or suffers from low self-esteem, they can focus this negative attention on others who seem to be ‘better’ or excelling; particular in the areas in which they themselves are struggling.
Victims of bullying
Children that have experienced bullying often in turn become bullies themselves. Being in a situation where their own power was stripped away or they were left feeling helpless may cause them, in turn, to get that power back by bullying others.
Peer pressure is one of the most common causes of bullying and is a classic example of pack mentality. A child can be coerced into bullying out of fear that they themselves will be bullied.
Children have difficulty in communicating to others when they have a problem; especially as their language skills are still developing. They may express their frustration and helplessness by venting their anger on someone else.
Poor social skills/learning disabilities
Children with learning disabilities or poor social skills sometimes struggle with interacting with others and reading social cues. This can make them seem aggressive or domineering.
Dealing with pressure.
Children much like adults can face both external and internal pressures and some struggle to cope. This can cause some to vent their frustrations on those around them.
When children feel powerless or feel like they have little to no control, this can cause them to lash out at those they perceive to be weaker in order get back power.
A culture of aggression and bullying
Children learn most by example and experience and this includes how they treat others. If a child is raised in or exposed to an environment where aggression or bullying is the norm, this behavior will in turn become the norm for them and form the basis of how they interact with others.
Children may use bullying as a way to get back at someone who has ‘wronged’ them. This often takes the form of cyber bullying, spreading rumours and socially ostracising the victim.
To maintain popularity.
In order to maintain popularity and a sense of superiority, you need people who are inferior and less popular. Girls in particular are more likely to target someone who threatens their popularity or social standing.
Tola Okogwu is the author of the Daddy Do My Hair book series and founder of the hair and beauty blog, My Long Hair Journey (MLHJ). Tola holds a degree in journalism and has written for several beauty publications including Black Beauty and Hair Magazine.
An avid reader, Tola enjoys spending time with her family and friends around her home in Kent where she lives with her husband and daughter. ‘Daddy Do My Hair? Beth’s Twists’ was Tola’s first children’s picture book and was inspired by the relationship between her husband and daughter. Her second book, ‘Daddy Do My Hair? Hope’s Braids’, is released in June 2017 and opens up the conversation about bullying in schools.