The age old question is: are bullies born or are they made? Research has shown that both of those things might be true. This unit explains the various spheres of influence that can eventually cause a child to become a bully. We examine the specifics within these spheres to see just how bullies come to be and we take another look at our case study to see how this cycle of bullying has affected his life.
Most cases of bullying begin with insignificant conflict situations, sometimes invisible to others or downplayed by everyone around. When violence grows, and there are more and more acts of aggression, we refer to this growing aggression as "The Pyramid of Hate".
This worksheet will be very helpful in determining if your child is exposed to bullying in his or her immediate surroundings - at home and school. Talk to your child to get his point of view on each of the topics presented.
As with other phenomena that reach the general public, bullying has many myths that often interfere with a full understanding of the problem. See which of the common opinions about peer violence are false.
Review the stories below and try to answer the questions.
Tom came back from school badly bruised, with a torn jacket. When his parents asked him ”did something happen?” he just snapped that nothing and further interrogation was just retorted with a short explanation about a fight with a friend. According to Tom, this incident had no meaning at all and no one should really bother about it. Having finished his conversation with his parents the boy went to his room quickly and closed the door. Should the parents accept the child’s explanation that it was a single and meaningless incident in such a situation?
If generally nothing bad is happening in a child’s life and a significant incident takes place at school – violent as well – the child will not talk about it willingly as it is a situation that extends everyday situation. Meanwhile, Tom’s behavior is typical for a child who is suffering from bullying. He answers his parents’ questions reluctantly, claims that nothing had happened, quickly stops the contact. We can assume then that it is the first symptom of peer aggression noticed by the parents and not a single incident. In such a situation, the parents should take a closer interest in what is happening in their son’s life.
Patricia’s parents are both well-paid managers. They work a lot and are often away from home. They argue a lot after tiring work days. Their daughter has everything, all her needs are fulfilled – she attends many extra-curricular classes, always has fashionable, new clothes and electronic gadgets.
Patricia’s parents satisfy all her whims to squash their sense of guilt caused by the lack of time and on the other hand just to leave them alone. The girl is often late for class or even does not get there, yet the teachers turn a blind eye on it as she generally is a good student. Can we say that Patricia is in a risk group of children who may come across school violence in the light of this description?
You should pay attention to the fact that a child has a weak, superficial contact with her parents. Another significant factor is the aggression present at home – because although we do not know if the parents’ fights end up with just verbal violence or go further, it is already alarming that aggression has become part of Patricia’s everyday life.
The girl has good results at school so more of her misconducts are forgiven. She may allow herself to play truant or commit minor incidents, belittling of which is connected with an increasing sense of impunity. We have indicated quite a few from our list of threats!
As you can clearly see, even at first sight, a child who is a good student, of the so called good-background house may be in the risk group! And although it does not mean that Patricia will definitely become a culprit or a victim of bullying, thanks to this task, you already know that it is sometimes worth to take a closer look at the home situation and the child’s environment to understand how serious the threats hiding behind a corner may be!