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PlaygroundEquipment Blog
Monday, July 28, 2014

What are the factors that make kids bullies or victims?

Bullying can have different effects in one child’s life, depending on his role on the prevalent bullying incident. A kid can be the initiator of bullying, the victim, or a victim who eventually becomes a bully, too. This vicious cycle is translated to a hard-hitting truth revealed by the Journal of the American Medical Association wherein 3.2 million out of 3.7 million sixth to tenth graders are affected by the beastial beast called bullying.

With the increasing number of youth being involved in these bullying situations, now is the right time for parents and educators to address the real causes of bullying—the real roots of the problem this time. What are the reasons why kids are bullied? How do they affect your children’s role in this never-ending cycle? How do you pinpoint it the minute your child comes back to your house from school? What makes someone a bully? Be aware of these 15 factors that causes a kid to be bullied, to be a victim, or to be a mix of both roles.


Bullies attack their victims as an outlet from negative situations in their families. Photo by Thomas Ricker via Flickr, Creative Commons
1. Bullies are 3 times more likely to have dysfunctional families. Experts reveal that negative family situations such as broken family relations are positively associated with kids being involved in bullying. Research also shows that a kid who actively sees bullying taking place at home also develops bullying behaviors. This is also considered as one major cause of bullying among children.

2. A kid who has negative self-concept is more inclined to attacking others directly or indirectly. Children who are frequently punished at home or receives negative words in a regular period of time are most likely to develop an “attacking” mindset, since it gives them a sense of importance and a feeling of superiority in dealing with others.

3. The driving force of bullying is the yearning to “fit in” the so-called cool kid group. Bullies recruit other kids to become part of their group that’s “in” at school to be part of their bullying activities. In fact, 85% of bullying activities happen inside these peer groups. Why do kids bully? Many kids join these kinds of invitation, even though they are uncomfortable about it just to be part of a popular group at school.

4. Non-involvement of school officials may further increase chances of bullying. If this continues to happen at schools and in the playground, bullies become more confident in bullying others, since no one is out there to reprimand or intervene in the bullying scene. Reports say that 1 out of 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time
As bullies lack empathy, parents and educators need to empathize more with the victims. Photo by Twentyfour Students via Flickr, Creative Commons
5. Bullies lack empathy. When children hurt other kids, they are not sensitive to what others are feeling. They even develop a sense of accomplishment when abusing others, thus they continue to bully others.

6. Bullies are commonly kids who possess stronger physical abilities. Children who are more aggressive and impulsive towards other kids have higher risks of becoming a bully. They easily use their strength to cause harm and physical damage to their victims. Stop A Bully Canada reports that physical assaults such as shoving and hitting account for 39%, ranking second at the types of bullying reported from September 2011 to April 2012. While in America, 280,000 secondary school students are physically attacked each month.

Physical assaults as a form of bullying still ranks among the top cases of bullying reported. Photo by stopabully.ca
7.Victims of bullying tend to be physically weak. These includes children who are anxious, introverted and are submissive. They are easily targeted by bullies since they know that victims will not easily fight back once attacked by them.

8. 63% of children with autism were bullied. If you think the victims are just the normal kids, think again. A 2012 survey done by the Interactive Autism Network further reveals that kids with autism are likely to be bullied from the fifth grade to the eighth grade. Furthermore, children with autism are 50% more likely to be bullied in a public school environment rather than in a special education environment and in private schools, since normal kids tend to view children with autism as different.

9. Kids who don’t socialize with others are prone to be bullied. Since they have fewer friends, they are more likely to fall victim to bullying than those kids with a great number of friends. This tendency alerts bullies to initiate the bullying incident to their victims.

10. Bullies crave for attention. They became part of the bullying scenario just to fulfill their attention that is either lacking in their homes or at school. They feel much better whenever they bully since it gives them a better feeling taking advantage of other kids.

11. The bully and the victim cycle is attributed to the classic roles of dominance and submission. This set up is undoubtedly part of society and even the economy, and it is still present among children. The bully dominates more by threatening and inflicting harm, while the victim is more passive and submissive to the bully.

12.  Kids who are disciplined inconsistently develop bullying behaviors. Since these kids are not properly disciplined, they are not aware and are not able to respect other people’s boundaries. This is primarily due to the fact that the discipline were never strictly enforced, allowing them to freely do what they want.

13. The rise of obesity among kids is proportional to bullying episodes. For example, obese children who are in the third grade until the sixth grade have 65% greater chances of being bullied than normal children. A study at the University of Michigan reveals that even if an obese child has good social skills and performs well at school, he or she is still prone to bullying. Experts advise that children get fit by structured and supervised play so that incidents of bullying may be decreased.

14. Bullies want to gain power. There are several reasons why children want to have power over other kids. But the underlying cause to this can be attributed to controlling parents. Since kids can’t manifest their power over their parents, they see bullying as a way to be more powerful by pushing other children around.

A single, annoying thing can trigger a child to become a bully if he is not in touch with his emotions.  Photo by
 Mindaugas Danys via Flickr, Creative Commons
15. Bullies have low EQ.  According to a study conducted by W.T. Grant Foundation, a more favorable emotional intelligence has caused 10% of some 270,000 youngsters to forego anti-social behaviors like bullying. The lack of EQ leads to a poor sense of self that is then translated to impulsive behaviors such as aggression and violence.

With these causes at hand, there is still hope to combat this societal beast. Whether the solution should be through anti-bullying laws or other alternative solutions, parents and educators should still be wary of these causes of bullying behavior. In doing so, they maintain a close relationship with children through open communication. If these root causes are addressed early on, then bullying incidents can be decreased and we can help save one kid at a time from being a victim to this bullying cycle.



Learn about the author: Jennifer Holmes

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