Social Question

sydsydrox's avatar

Bullying: What's the deal?

Asked by sydsydrox (588 points ) October 19th, 2011

How does bullying start? What makes up a bully? What is happening to make it stop? Share your opinions. (PS: I already know what it is, and I just want to see what other people say.) Don’t be afraid to share any stories here. I promise I won’t make fun!

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16 Answers

Joker94's avatar

When someone is noticeably abnormal or different, which isn’t a bad thing, is around, they tend to get picked on. They’re easy targets for terrible people. As far as their reasoning, I don’t think bullies ever needed a reason. They’re just rotten people, all the way through. Never needed more of an explanation than that.

tranquilsea's avatar

Most bullying behaviour is due to the need for the bullies to level the playing field. They do that by pulling people they see as being above them (most of the time erroneously) down and by picking on the perceived weaker people to raise themselves up.

I don’t have a lot of hope that bullying behaviour will stop. We’ll see upswings of proactive behaviour after some thing tragic happens and then we’ll go back to business as usual.

woodcutter's avatar

Nothing succeeds like success. The bullies know they can get away with it so there is no motivation to stop. Every once in a blue moon a victim will go ballistic and cause a bully to respect the person. That is what a bully understands, that if their target decides to not be a victim it takes the fun out of it. And that is pretty much what it’s all about, fun… for the bully. Because it isn’t about revenge or to settle some score it’s purely to intimidate and terrify weaker people because they can and to somehow make them feel powerful and respected if they are lacking in those departments at home.
I think schools are afraid of stepping on toes by cracking down on bullies. Some of these bullies are kids of respected people so they don’t want to offend and make a stink.

King_Pariah's avatar

Sometimes they have personal issue/feeling of inadequacy that drives them to cope inappropriately by bullying to make themselves feel better.

Kardamom's avatar

Some bullies simply weren’t raised very well and just don’t know any better, so they do what is easy and fun and gets a rise out of people (whether the rise is positive or negative).

Some bullies know that what they are doing is wrong and hurtful to other people, but they’re so selfish, that they just don’t care.

Some bullies are people that have been bullied themselves, and are the type of people that are “followers” and they think that the only way to fit it, or to not get bullied again, is to bully other people first.

Some bullies are attracted to the fact that it makes them look powerful or badass. Most people don’t want to be perceived as weak, and for some people, acting like a bully pretty much assures that they will not be seen as week. They don’t care if in addition to appearing powerful, they also appear as mean.

Some bullies have mental problems or personality problems that make them mean. Some of these types of people can’t help it that they are mean, and some of them may not even be truly aware that they are being mean, because they’re not smart enough or mentally cognizant enough to realize it.

Dealing with bullies is hard because some punishments and/or deterrents work for some types of bullies and don’t work for other types of bullies.

There are all sorts of lawsuits that can be brought against schools if they treat one child, incorrectly, so the schools are hesitant to do anything to stop the bullies, except for to give weak lip service to have no tolerance for bullying.

Some schools (teachers and administrators) really have no idea what to do about bullying, because they have been given absolutely no training. Others have a huge fear of being dragged into a lawsuit for doing the wrong thing.

Most teachers cannot act as parents or babysitters although they are often called upon to do so. They are limited by what they can say and do, legally, and many times parents and administrators have not shown any interest or knowlege on how to effectively handle bullying and how to teach children to resist becoming bullies, or how to report cases of bullying without becoming bullied or ostracized themselves.

In our society, tough people are still seen as super-cool. So gangsta rock dudes, gun-toting former California governors in movies, football and boxing and violent video games are part of the norm, and kids see those activities and try to emulate those behaviors. Being macho is seen as something positive. Learning manners and compassion is seen as wimpy and old fashioned. Until some of these ideals of manhood and ideals about being tough change, nothing is likely to stop bullying.

And because it’s extremely easy for people to anonymously bully other people online, there is really no fear and no public shame to stop people from bullying. My guess it that bullying is likely to get a lot worse in the years to come.

sydsydrox's avatar

@tranquilsea
Yeah, I don’t think anything will start to take hold to stop bullying. Most programs are to help the victim get through it, which isn’t bad, but nothing is being done about the actual bullies themselves. Plus, if the victim kills themself or something, the bullies aren’t going to jail, or anything; they get away with it. ‘Tis unacceptable. We (our generation) need to make a plan to squah it. NOW.

slopolk's avatar

To be a bully means there is some insecurity that the bully has, and he/she feels the need to point out other peoples difference (maybe before someone points out his/hers) which is really sad, because everyone has something about themselves that they don’t like. If you have learned to accept your own differences, then you can learn to accept other peoples. If your son/daughter is a bully then it is something the parent is teaching (or lack thereof) to encourage that type of behavior. If your child is being bullied, I encourage parents to build up that childs confidence every chance you get. People of all types are bullied, My daughter is blonde hair blue eye 14 yrs. old looks like a model, and there were girls talking crap about her to her, calling her Barbie (aswell things that I couldn’t say on here) and I explained to her like this: Sometimes being beautiful is a curse, and there are going to be people that just don’t like you because they are insecure themselves, don’t let others opinion determine how you feel about yourself.

majorrich's avatar

As a child in the 1960’s My family was the first Asian family to move to my hometown. I believe it is a cultural norm to allow continued bullying in the media and print and in schools to turn a blind eye to bullying of Asians. From 4th grade through graduation I endured the pulling of eyes and the “ching chang chong” in front of adults and teachers. I still bristle when I see caricatures of my people in the media. This would NEVER be tolerated if applied to a Black child. In my case, I was not only the first Asian, I was the first non-white student. I learned to defend myself, which today would be a felony. In those days it was daily survival. Having survived my youth, I am stronger for it. My son grew up in a much more open society. I guess it’s all good. but We have a ways to go toward racial tolerance

wundayatta's avatar

My sense is that there is something missing in bullies. They lack some kind of self worth, probably because they’ve been picked on or abused by their parents. They then pick on anyone else they think they can get away with it. From what I understand, if you stand up to a bully, they usually back off.

They may have sycophants who may sometimes get involved if they think it’s easy or if they lead bully requires it, but usually the sycophants will just watch and let the bully do his or her thing, only joining in when clearly the bully is winning.

You can intervene in school by creating a culture that does not allow bullying anywhere. You can also try to deal with the family conditions that create bullies, but that’s trickier. It’s a tough thing to deal with.

stardust's avatar

I agree that bullies (most) lack self esteem. It’s usually the case that they themselves are being bullied and as such, it is learned behaviour. I’m sure it’s different for every individual but I think education is a necessity in helping to curb this kind of behaviour.

sydsydrox's avatar

Keep going! I love long, thought-out stories and descriptions! (Especially Kardamom, wow what a mouthful) I hope more people catch on to this.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think bullies have been bullied themselves, I believe their parents bullied them possibly. I believe their parents never taught them how to feel about failure and how to move on and how to not treat others along a power continuum. Kids are bullies when they’re young, ‘cause they’re pretty selfish beings and that’s fine but we must teach them how to not be that way and some people don’t teach their kids that because, well, they are themselves incapable of handling other people or frustrating situations. How often do I have to face a bully in the park only to see that his or her mother is even worse, so pathetic.

sydsydrox's avatar

Sometimes, that is very true @Simone_De_Beauvoir, that is very true

linguaphile's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir There’s more and more research supporting what you’re saying. They’re saying that bullying is a learned behavior, an unhealthy coping skill, and usually a transference from an experience being the victim.

There’s one bullying prevention program that I REALLY like, by Izzy Kalman from www.crosscountryeducation.com. The crux of this approach is that you can’t strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. Kalman focuses more on how to teach both bullies and the victims healthy problem-solving skills and how to have better coping skills.

The program works to reach the victims by teaching them to be strong, rather than focusing completely on stopping kids who have learned bad strategies to keep the upper hand. Of course, they’re not going to give up their upper hand if it works- they’ll just become better at hiding it. It’s hard to convince people (not just kids) that their upper hand is wrong when it is gratifying, but bullies rarely go after people who are assertive enough to stand their ground.

Kalman also argues that the strategies bullies use often become considered “good skills” in the corporate or business world, so our society’s giving us conflicting messages—rewarding people who are skilled at manipulating others with promotions and keeping weaker/nicer people down. So, the proposed solution? Focus on the people who can’t stand up for themselves and teach them how.

raven860's avatar

http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/serial.htm#Types

“Don’t be afraid to share any stories here. I promise I won’t make fun!”
How old are you?

raven860's avatar

“Focus on the people who can’t stand up for themselves and teach them how.”
^ That is definitely the way to curtail bullying.

Having good self-esteem, self-confidence and self respect is like having a shield and armor. Also, letting your kids doing what interests them is something and to be driven in that fashion helps a lot.

Having many different circles of friends and different hobbies helps…basicaly having too many interesting things going on in life to worry about 1 idiot who is acting strange and abnormal.

Most people (children) seem to not understand that being Good is a strength and not a weakness.

I would also like that parents raise their kids with high moral standards and exemplify it.

I say all of this from experience.

A lot of bullying also happens because the people involved think they can get away with it. Steps to need to be taken or at least addressed when such is the case even if it is not always possible.

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