I have heard about bullies in schools, haven't ever seen or faced them in real life though.
I would like to know what makes a kid bully, and how to prevent him from becoming a bully?
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Your first question is what causes a child to become a bully, and there are many possible causes, most of which directly relate to low self-esteem:
Bullies may be seeking to
To prevent your child becoming a bully, then, you should work to help him develop a positive sense of self. You can:
choose a non-judgmental disciplinary method that recognizes that misbehaviors are a sign the child is temporarily out of control and needs help calming herself down; discipline should address the behavior and not the child herself.
When a child misbehaves, you talk about the behavior. For example: "In our house we don't hit when we get angry, we use our words. Go to your room for a timeout to settle down." Instead of "You are a bad boy for hitting your sister. Go to your room until I tell you that you can come out." Always try to describe the behavior instead of labeling the child.
give your child opportunities to develop his talents
If you suspect your child is a sociopath, you will need professional help. For a person with no sense of right and wrong, life is a game, and games are about winning. To be productive and of no harm to others, this person must learn that he wins best when everyone around him wins as well.
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, PhD
Having been bullied in more than one school, I can provide these observations from the "victim" perspective:
To stop bullying, the above points must be defused or negated:
It's not easy being different when uniformity and/or conformity to (sometimes hidden) norms are valued. In my case, I was being bullied because I was an outsider in several ways: I was new in town, I had lived in other countries, I spoke several languages fluently (even English better than the teacher), I was bright, I was tall, I was good at most things, I enjoyed school. This was very different from the average style in my class, so I was an easy choice.
I'm not an expert at this; I do help look after my partners three kids and I have a son of my own who lives with his mother. But from my experience, and from what I have read over the years, a child usually becomes a bully if there are problems at home: not enough attention, or the child is getting bullied at home.
It is mostly a cry for help, or trying to vent some anger onto someone else.
My partner's son used to get bullied when he was 5, quite extremely, and when she went to confront the parents, she found out that the bully's dad was an alcohol and drug abuser, who really did not care.
Personally, I feel that the best prevention is someone for the child to talk to, someone they can look up to and respect. It's a real shame that in 2013, some people still would rather satisfy their own wants rather than their children.
But other people have different views; some think computer games, and that is their opinion, but I grew up on computer games and I have never had trouble.
I hope this is some kind of help.
While many of the bullies I have seen in schools have come from homes with significant parenting problems, it would surprise you the number of kids who bully (at an older age) who come from loving homes. It can be very easy for the bully-ee to become the bully in a chain-reaction kind of way.
At its root, bullying is about power and a lack of self-esteem. A kid who has a parent who is abusive or who is an alcoholic or drug user has very little control over his/her own life. There is no sense of security or constancy in their lives, and if a child is being beaten at home then he/she will have learned that that is the acceptable way to handle anger and frustration. A kid who comes to school and is bullied can become a bully as a way to regain a sense of power and as a way to make themselves feel better about themselves--even if that child comes from a loving home. Bullies feel better about themselves after an incident of bullying.
Also keep in mind that the way that girls go about bullying is very different from the way boys go about bullying. Boys will openly make fun of other boys and threaten them; girls can be very subversive and include tactics like spreading rumors, shunning other girls from their circle of friends, etc.
There doesn't seem to be a huge body of research on the matter but a recent meta-analysis looked at the effect of parenting on the risk of children to become bullying victims or turn bully themselves.
Citing from the abstract:
Negative parenting behavior [including abuse and neglect and maladaptive parenting] is related to a moderate increase of risk for becoming a bully/victim and small to moderate effects on victim status at school. Intervention programs against bullying should extend their focus beyond schools to include families and start before children enter school.