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If your child is being bullied online or at school, it helps to understand what causes bullies to behave the way they do. People are not born as bullies; they are conditioned to aggressive behaviors due to the circumstances of life. Understanding the motivations of bullies will help you assist your child to cope effectively with situations where he or she is being treated unfairly.
The Making of a Bully
Many children learn bullying behaviors from their own parents. The way that adults speak to one another and to the child affects that child’s impressions and conclusions about how people should communicate. When a child sees his parents fighting and controlling one another, he internalizes this behavior and resorts to it himself when feeling powerless or in need of control.
Bullying manifests itself in many ways. Mocking and shunning another person are common bullying behaviors for getting the upper hand in situations. The bully typically comes across as confident and in control and, in reality, he may be quite insecure or concerned about his own image. Putting down another person is a way of feeling better about himself.
Coping With the Bully
When parenting a child who is being victimized by a bully, it’s important to explain that the behaviors are due to weakness and not strength. A confident and conscientious person does not waste time mistreating others. Encourage your child to focus on personal strengths and to avoid situations that create close contact with bullies. Spending time online and at school with the friendly kids is the best way to create a buffer against bullying behavior.