What Were You Thinking? Getting in The Mind of a Bully

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

We are all guilty at some point or another of focusing only on the victims of bullying. Usually, any thought towards the perpetrator is geared towards some kind of punishment. Do you agree?

But do you know the perpetrator is also a victim? A mentally and emotionally balanced child or person does not exhibit this kind of behaviour. So I mentioned earlier that a bully is also a victim and this is what I mean.

He or she may be a victim of:

- self hate

- loneliness

- lack of attention

- lack of love

- need for acceptance and of course one of the most powerful and usual culprits

- a victim of an abusive or dysfunctional home setting.

Whatever the causes of the bullying, bullies pick on others as a way of making themselves feel better. They use intimidation to get what they want. They are often not happy and use bullying as a way of trying to achieve popularity and friends. they usually have a gang, but many of their followers are just too scared to say no to them.

In order for us to be rid of this social ill, we must address the source of this behaviour based on the possibilities outlined above. It may require intervention from teachers, counselors, medical doctors, psychologists or even the police force. How far are we willing to go?

If not addressed, these troubled youths who carry out the act of bullying eventually become the misfits in society and causing further mayhem in the lives of those around them. While some eventually stop the behaviour others go on to engage in workplace bullying.

If as a parent you find out your child has been bullying others; here are several things you can do:

- Stay calm

- Try not to become angry and defensive

- Get a full report of your child's activities

- Find out if it's a one-off incident or a pattern

- Talk to teachers, guidance counsellors, and other parents - the more you can find out about what has been going on, the easier it will be to work out why your child has been bullying and what can be done about it.

- Enlist the school's support in correcting your child's behaviour

- Do not speak to other children or victims without parental consent or the presence of a Guidance Counsellor or the parent of the child.

- See if your child has any ideas about why the bullying started, and what might help it end. Is there something else in the background?

Has the child been bullied as well? The majority of bullies have been bullied!

- Reassure the child that you still love him or her - it's the behaviour you don't like, but you will work with your child to help change this

- Find out if there is something in particular which is troubling the child

- Work out a way for your child to make amends for the bullying, starting with an apology

- Set limits. Stop any show of aggression immediately and help the child find other, non aggressive ways of behaving

- If your child bullies when faced with certain situations, work together to practice alternative ways of behaving

- Explain that it is not a weakness to get away from a situation where the child can feel himself losing his temper. It is a sensible way of ensuring that the situation doesn't get worse

- Teach your child the difference between assertive behaviour and aggressive behaviour

- Create opportunities to praise your child for doing things well

- Talk to the school staff. Explain that your child is making an effort to change his or her behaviour. Ask them for ideas.

- It might also be helpful for you and your child to talk to a psychologist. Ask your GP for a referral.

- Talk to the teachers about setting realistic goals for your child - don't expect too much too soon - and about rewarding him or her when a goal is achieved.

- Ask if the school can provide a room where children could go if they feel they need time to ‘cool off’

- Other children may deliberately provoke your child, especially if they think he or she is trying to reform.

- Explain to your child that there may be taunts or provocations, but that it is best not to respond, but just walk away.

You may also help by controlling their own aggression and by making it clear that violence is always unacceptable.

Victim or perpetrator, both will need focused intervention from parents, teachers and all involved to bring about the required change. But yes, it can be done.

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