Church Point / Mona Vale NSW 2105Monday to Friday 8am to 6pmPh: 0417 462 115FB Logo1
Maarit Rivers, Child Therapist

Ph: 0417 462 115

Church Point / Mona Vale
NSW 2105

Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

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Why a child may bully – it’s a learned behaviour that can be changed

There are many reasons why a child may bully, but no child is born this way. Its cause is unfortunate learned behaviour that specialised therapy can change. A bully is also a victim. Intolerance, particularly towards difference, may have been instilled at home or school. To a bully ‘difference’ can be be seen as being inferior. Alternatively it may stem from possibly misunderstanding a religion. Or likewise misunderstanding media.

Why a child may bully – it has various causes

A bullying child often has underlining emotional difficulties

The bully may have low self-esteem and in addition be depressed.

Bullying may assist conceal their shame, and similarly anxiety.

The bullying may be a cover for insecurity.

Bullies typically seek to boost self-esteem. Abusing others may cause them to feel empowered.

A bully becomes angry quickly, and generally lacks self-regulated behaviour.

The bully may do so as a result of being likewise bullied – perhaps by other children. Or, for example, at home.

By bullying, the bully’s status might rise. In addition, bullies can create a false belief they are supported as a result of others watching.

Some bullies learn to deceptively charm adults despite their vicious bullying tactics. Furthermore, they often lack empathy, compassion, remorse or shame. Many have such feelings embedded deeply. As a result takes work and time to resolve.

Bullies may refuse responsibility for their actions. For example  “he was asking for it”, or “she deserves it.” If  bullying is unchecked, that child may eventually become a bullying adult. They have a high risk of criminality. They may also become domestically violent. Research shows a high risk of ending up in prison.


How to help a child who bullies

Help the child to handle feelings of anger and learn to think before acting.

Teach the child to learn co-operation, communication. Equally important is to teach the child to ask for what they want.

Create opportunities for them to do good, for example to assist others in various ways .

Restrict violent computer games, videos, music computer and TV viewing. Likewise, to keep all such media in the family room. Monitor programs.

In addition have a person they respect, and who matters to them, discuss the bullying. Furthermore, have that person ask them to stop bullying. That person could be an older child, parents, teacher or a sports coach, beloved uncle or aunt.

Offer constructive and entertaining activities. For example, physical activity helps. They learn to be a team member and, as a result, to self regulate their actions.

Direct the child’s tendency to bully to leadership for hopefully more constructive use.

A bullied child reaction may actually encourage or worsen bullying. Nevertheless a bully/bullied mediating session can assist because both behaviour’s may need changing.

If bullying is truly serious, the child needs equally serious professional counselling. (Be aware that many counsellors lack adequate training and/or qualifications.)

Finally, your goal with a bully is to teach and mentor. Your goal is not to punish and isolate. Assist them to heal their ways and relationships with other children.


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