Tuesday Ten: Why People Bully

Arnold and his friend talk about being afraid of "The Gooch." ("Diff'rent Strokes")
Arnold and his friend talk about being afraid of “The Gooch.” (“Diff’rent Strokes”)

Last week, the news was full of stories about Rebecca Sedwick, a twelve year-old girl who jumped to her death after she was bullied by classmates.

It’s reported (by dosomething.org) that approximately 160,000 teens skip school daily because of bullying and that 90% of 4th -8th graders report to be victims of bullying. Whenever I talk to young people of almost any age about bullying, they have a lot to say about it. There are stories upon stories of things that they have seen, things they have witnessed and even about how they have bullied others. As an adult, I remember clearly several instances from my own childhood and teenager years when I was the victim of cruel words or actions.

I asked my sixth grade Girl Scout troop why they think people bully other people last week. This is an important question, really. If we can help young people understand what it is that motivates people to bully others, we might be able to teach them better ways to deal with their own impulses to bully others or help them understand how they can react when others bully them.

Here’s what seven sixth grade girls shared about why they think people bully others:

1. They think they are better than everyone else.

2. They are jealous.

3. They were bullied by someone else.

4. It’s how they are treated at home.

5. They feel badly about themselves and want others to feel the same way they do.

6. They want attention.

7. They don’t like how a situation is going and they want to put the focus on something/someone else.

8. They think no one loves them.

9. Their parents treat other people that way and they learned by watching them.

10. They think it’s fun to hurt other people.

Visit websites like dosomething.org or stopbullying.gov for more information about bullying and what adults and caregivers can do to stop this trend!