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Bullies & victims

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Bullies & victims

Bullying crosses all social lines.

Boys and girls, black and white, gay and straight, disabled or not, those who have money and those who don’t—anyone may witness or experience bullying. What seems to be a better predictor of bullying is how we feel about ourselves and relate to others. Understanding the dynamics of bullying is the first step in stopping it from happening.

Who are bullies and who gets bullied?

Bullies may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • May control or manipulate others to get his own way
  • May be aggressive, nasty, spiteful, and combative
  • May be impulsive and quick to anger
  • Might enjoy pushing, name calling, or teasing other children
  • May be defiant and pushy toward adults, including parents and teachers
  • May be unfeeling toward others who are victimized
  • If a boy, he is often larger or stronger than others his age

Victims of bullies may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • May be cautious, quiet, or shy
  • May be worried or unhappy, with little self-confidence
  • May be depressed or have thoughts of suicide
  • May not have a good friend
  • May relate better to adults than other kids
  • If a boy, may be weaker or smaller than others his age

In addition, there is a small group of young people who both bully others and are the targets of bullying.

Group bullying

Dynamics change in predictable ways when kids bully in groups. Mean and nasty behavior becomes more likely, harder to stop, and worse when it happens.

Characteristics associated with group bullying:

  • More kids may join a bully when they look up to or admire her
  • Kids may feel less personally responsible for their actions
  • Adults or other students may have less influence and more students may join
  • Kids may begin to see victims as worthless or deserving of abuse

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