Why School Bullies Do What They Do

Midou Fernande Leroy, 31, is treated for injuries received in Tuesday’s earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

AP Photo
Midou Fernande Leroy, 31, is treated for injuries received in Tuesday’s earthquake in Port-au-Prince.



A couple of years ago school bullying seemed to be a big deal in the schools. Young, short, below average income, intelligent, boy, girl, glasses, braces...whatever the reason, bullies will find a way to get under your skin. But why?

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Is it the parenting? Science Daily suggests yes, it is.

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Free State High School held an Invitational Swim meet on Thursday January 13, 2010. Connor Munk worked for a second place finish in the 200-yard Freestyle.

A review of national and international research on the issue is finding a family connection to the origins of young bullies. Elizabeth Sweeney, a University of Cincinnati master’s degree student in sociology, presented her findings Aug. 3 at the 103rd annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Sweeney reviewed research out of England, Germany, Norway, Japan, South Africa and the United States, which she reports lagged behind the European countries in examining the phenomenon of bullying prior to this decade. The majority of the research that she examined involved children between the ages of nine and 16.

Sweeney says her review of the literature found that children raised by authoritarian parents – parents who are demanding, directive and unresponsive – are the most prone to act out bullying behavior.

On the other hand, there were parallels showing that children raised by nurturing, warm, responsive parents were less likely to bully.

“Children who experience hostility, abuse, physical discipline and other aggressive behaviors by their parents are more likely to model that behavior in their peer relationships,” she writes. “Children learn from their parents how to behave and interact with others,” Sweeney says. “So if they’re learning about aggression and angry words at home, they will tend to use these behaviors as coping mechanisms when they interact with their peers.” Her review also found that children from middle-income families were less likely to bully than children from the high and low ends of the family income scale.

There is even a television show called Bully Beatdown where people who have been bullied write into the television show about their bully. Bully Beatdown will go out and offer their bully cash if they will get into a ring with one of their big guys and fight him. If at the end of the match the bully does not get pinned, he gets cash. But if he does get pinned, the person who he has been bullying gets the cash. Check this out!

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