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What causes people to become bullies?

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Bullying is a major epidemic in the United States. The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics (2015) shows that, nationwide, approximately 21% of students between the ages of 12 and 18 have experienced bullying. Only in recent years has bullying been seen as a serious issue and taken as being a crime that threatens the wellbeing of many people, especially grade school students. A bully usually preys on individuals who won’t fight back and/or those they consider “different.” There are many different faces of bullying, and it doesn’t always look like a big kid or group of kids taking lunch money from a smaller kid with glasses. Sometimes it’s an adult in a position of power over another person. Influence, fear, and insecurity are all factors that cause people to become bullies.

One of the most substantially large reasons that causes people to become bullies has everything to do with how and who they were raised by. Many bullies are easily socially influenced by the actions of people in their family and even by people on television. Usually, the first people in their lives are the ones who they pattern their behavior after. Adolescent children are very vulnerable to outside influences, and if they visually perceive someone being picked on by an adult or other children, more than likely, they will copy those activities. If they are not taught that that behavior is wrong, then they will perpetuate to do it. There is a high chance that a bully observed someone in their family or a friend get away with bullying and hateful behavior toward other people, and they think that is normal for them to display the same conduct towards other people too. According to Bonds & Stocker (2000), family is unquestionably the pre-eminent convivial system in which a child is rooted. As such, much research has fixated on parenting approaches, the quality of relationships between parents and children, and family functioning as important factors related to an incrementation in the chance of children bullying their peers.

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Another reason that causes people to become bullies is fear. Even though the world perceives bullies as tough and confident, in all actuality they are fearful of many things. They are afraid that they won’t be accepted by others. They are also afraid that people will see through their act of being who they’re portraying. People who are mean to others are utilizing anger as an embankment against their own fear. The image of being tough supersedes a bully’s low self-esteem and the need to visually perceive others as lesser, McCulloch (2016). Fear starts to show when they find themselves in certain situations. Above all else, no bully wants to meet their equal and with that possibility comes fear. Sometimes, bullying others makes them feel like they are in control of their victims and they tend to feel more security because most of their peers are afraid of them. Some bullies don’t mean what they do, but fear of being an outcast or unpopular makes it all worth it. Bullies tend to look for the approval of their peers and when they don’t know how to communicate their point, they become fearful and they turn to hurting others.

Bullies often feel superior and use that feeling to degrade others they feel they’re inferior to. They are almost always dangling their material possessions and social status over someone’s head and they exploit that to defend their behavior. When bullies feel like they are better than someone, it gives them a reason in their mind to treat people with disrespect. Bullies pick on others because it takes the focus off of themselves and what they believe others see about them. It has everything to do with order and it boils down to insecurity.

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