Bullying is the act of oppressing someone whom one perceives to be “weaker” or “less” than they are in any way. Bullying, obviously has gone on between adults all throughout history and in the present, but when we think of bullying we often think of kids being mean to each other and this is exactly the type of bullying I wish to discuss. We all remember more or less how we were when we were children, we were more naïve, we were dreamers, we were more optimistic as well as more immature, and we just had an innocence about us that quickly disintegrated once we became adults, matured, and experienced life more. However, children aren’t immune to the issues of life, they are not immune to emotional issues that at this age they fail to understand fully if not at all.
Why kids bully is a question I’m sure we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of for a while. Instead of judging a child or scolding them; we should try to understand them and their behavior. Why do they feel the need to pick on another child? What emotions do they get out of this? What makes them willing to do that? Children, like adults, subconsciously or consciously look for love (from others and for ourselves), acceptance, validation, security, and attention. Humans are social creatures and we crave these things because they determined our survival in the past as a species. One of the most notorious reasons a child bullies is out of insecurity and a need for attention. When we have little to no love for ourselves and our lives, believe it or not, we feel better about ourselves and our lives when we belittle others and their lives. Misery loves company, so we feel good when others are going through a similar experience as we and we get comfort from that. The bully might also be jealous of the child they are bullying, so they resolve to bullying them because of this insecurity and the need to feel good about themselves.
The second reason a kid might bully is to fit in; like I said we crave acceptance and validation. This kid might want to fit in with the “popular crowd” in school and when they observe children in this group bullying, they want to do it to feel liked, wanted, accepted, validated, a part of something, and loved. The third reason a kid might bully is to let out their negative emotions towards that child; “Hurt people hurt people” and this child might be going through a tough situation at home, this can prompt them to let it out on other children and even on their parents/adults.
Children are our next generation, so I believe educating them on these matters is extremely important. We need to, first of all, show them love, acceptance, validation, and attention at home so that they don’t feel like they need to go to the wrong places to obtain these things or do the wrong things. Teach them to then love and accept others, to be a follower instead of a leader, that decisions are life and that there are consequences attached to those decisions and finally, we must teach them how to understand, process, and let out their emotions in a positive way.