Anti Bullying Boston

What Is Bullying And Why Do Children Bully

What Is Bullying And What Is A Bully

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  • Myths About Bullying
  • Effects Of Bullying
  • How Parents & Adults Can Help
  • Who Is At Risk
  • If You're Being Bullied
  • school bullies in Boston One of the classic lines that bullies (whether children or adults) offer to explain or defend their actions is, “it was only a joke”; implying that the victim who is complaining has little or no sense of humor and basically just doesn’t get the joke.

    The difference between a joke or even teasing is that the “power” in the relationship is shared or equal in cases of bullying, the power in the relationship is one sided. It is this imbalance of power that characterizes bullying.

    The bullying itself may take many different forms and range from mere exclusion of a child to an active and systematic campaign of victimization using any number of means from spreading rumor and gossip to sending emails and text messages (cyber bullying) and/or causing actual physical harm. It is worth remembering that if any of these activities were done by an adult they would be breaking laws and in effect be judged criminals.

    Bullying can become a sadistic behavior: taking personal enjoyment and excitement from another person’s suffering. In a “normal” competitive confrontation; when a person has achieved their victory they stop, however if sadistic urges are called into play a bully will keep going, listening to the things their victim’s pain and playing on it to increase the misery.

    However in most cases it occurs because an individual has failed to develop a sense of empathy (or even selective empathy) and bullies with little awareness and knowledge of the pain their actions cause. Children bully for three main reasons:

  • 1) Because of high and unstable self esteem
  • 2) Because of an underdeveloped sense of empathy/selective empathy
  • 3) Because of sadistic urges


  • Often it is a combination/mix of all three.

    Bullying & Self Esteem

    Studies have shown that individuals (including children) who genuinely think highly of themselves (have high self esteem) but are subject to internal questioning as to why their opinion of themselves is not recognized by others or has not yielded the results they would have expected tend to have high levels of aggression towards others, taking offense at the merest slight, comment or actively looking for victims they can bully to confirm their view of themselves as people to be respected.

    being bullied as school in Boston These individuals and children are not suffering from low self esteem, they genuinely have an inflated view of themselves however they are not 100% confident, all of the time about this view of themselves: their self opinion is unstable or subject to self questioning. Basically they have high self esteem and an erratic confidence level. When they undergo any period of introspection or self questioning they are subject to emotions of shame and confusion.

    To deal with these emotions they will look for a victim whom they can exert dominance over and project these negative feelings on to. Once found this child will become their emotional crutch: reinforcing their own inflated opinions about their self-worth and “educating” other children around them to show the respect they believe they are worthy of.

    Sadistic Bullies

    The process of bullying itself may become addictive to a bully, as it is able to satisfy feelings of shame and uncertainty, whilst gathering respect (through fear) from others, which reinforce the bullies inflated view of themselves or it may satisfy any inherent sadistic urges they possess.

    Children learn about aggression and violence at a very young age, through witnessing parental arguments, other children’s behavior etc and develop their own coping methods and strategies for dealing with aggression very early on. They also learn at an early age, when they have little or no ability to control the adults around them or their situation and timetable etc, the pleasure of control over other children.

    For some children, merely being the leader in a particular game or deciding who plays on their team etc is enough to satisfy a desire for control however if a child has a sadistic leaning or bent then when this is coupled with a desire to control it may result in a campaign of victimization against another child. This won’t stop of its own accord but will carry on until the bully ceases to derive any further satisfaction from abusing the victim or when either the bullied child or a third party decides to put a stop to it.

    One of the biggest myths about bullies is that if you ignore them they will eventually go away. Click here to read more myths about bullying.

    Bullies, like sadists, know that society and other individuals have little time for them (sadistic rapists rarely give interviews as they know that their motivations –taking pleasure through a victims pain – is abhorrent to most people; most times they will try and explain/argue that they were unaware of the suffering they were causing their victim) and so become experts at down playing the role they played or the effects they had. They will argue that they were only “teasing”, that it was just for a laugh or that their victim actually enjoyed and took part in the abuse.

    There are of course bullies whose understanding of "social rules" is so confused they engage in bullying without a full awareness but these bullies are the exception rather than the rule.

    To read more about the effects of bullying on children please click here.

    To read more about the anti bullying courses we offer please, click here.