Why Children Bully

Why Children Bully


Have you ever thought about why kids bully? Well, we have some bad news and some good news for you.

Here’s the bad news- Bullying is a learned behavior and can be learned for a wide variety of reasons and from a wide variety of sources.

Bullying often is instigated by outside factors that cause children to seek to unleash in the act of bullying such as:

  • New sibling
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Relocation
  • Changes in household income
  • Family fallouts and arguments  

Other reasons a child may bully are:

  1. They need power and control – They may come from a home where they witness abuse or dominance by one parent over another, or they themselves may be the victim of abuse or harsh behavior by a parent.
  2. They lack empathy for others – Some children may need to be taught this skill as they are maturing if it does not occur as naturally as it may for other children.  If parents and other adults fail to teach this skill, this may be a contributing cause to bullying behavior.
  3. They possess feelings of entitlement – This child may begin to internalize the belief that they can do anything they want and get away with it if that has been the case at home, and this could lead to bullying, expecting no consequences.
  4. They desire to be popular – These children may come from a home where parents value their children being the “popular kid” or running with the “in-crowd” and therefore feel tremendous pressure to satisfy their parents.
  5. They possess feelings of jealousy or inadequacy / low self-esteem – These bullies target others, often in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

No matter what kind of bully someone is, they have not learned kindness, compassion and respect. Understanding the child’s background or reasons may help us deal with the situation but it does not excuse the way they are treating others.

Thankfully, there is some good news too- Bullying is a learned behavior and can be unlearned! 

Surrounding children with positive examples of upstanders (people who stand up against bullying in all forms and are advocates for kindness and respect for all), teaching kids the social-emotional skills they may be lacking, and encouraging them to improve each day can make a huge difference in the behaviors they exhibit towards their peers and others. 

Always remember that you could be the positive influence in someone else’s life! Stand up for those who might not be able to stand up for themselves and know that you are not alone!


Why Do Kids Bully?

Why Children Become Bullies