In Bullying Prevention and Intervention by Swearer, Espelage, and Napolitano, their research reveals some of the myths about bullying which I have summarized below:
Myth #1 Bullying is an isolated, individual aggressive action.
The fact is that bullying and victimization problems are influenced by peers, families, schools and communities, and thus require a social-ecological perspective.
Myth #2 Bullying occurs between a bully and a victim.
Bullying is a dynamic, social relationship problem where the social-ecological conditions such as adequate supervision, home environment and peers determine behavior.
Myth #3 Anti-bullying policies are ineffective.
Mandated anti-bullying policies do increase awareness and consciousness and do bring about lasting social change.
Myth #4 Bullying is a "normal" part of growing up.
Yes, bullying seems to peak during the middle school years, but it is a lifespan problem that is not isolated to one developmental period. Workplace bullying and bosses as bullies is a frequent problem as well. There are serious repercussions to not only the target, but the legal ramifications to the bully are life altering.
Myth #5 It’s impossible to stop bullying.
With a coordinated, intelligent effort by students, parents and schools to provide positive leadership and healthy relationships, there is definitely less bullying.
Myth #6 Bullying prevention and intervention are complicated and expensive.
Modeling and shaping children’s relationships is free. Is teaching everyone to treat others as they wish to be treated really that complicated or expensive?
Myth #7 Physical bullying is more damaging than relational or verbal bullying.
The negative effects of these less overt forms of bullying can last well into adulthood and escape early detection. As I mentioned earlier, words and the emotional pain they caused can linger in minds forever.
Myth #8 Figuring out how to evaluate anti-bullying efforts is too complicated.
Every school has a math teacher. Evaluating the statistics and surveys from anti-bullying intervention efforts would be a great classroom assignment.
Checklist: Are You a Bully?
1. I enjoy making other people feel bad or sad
2. I make fun of others and do name-calling
3. I start or spread rumors about others
4. I make physical, emotional or verbal threats to others.
5. I deliberately leave people out or exclude them
6. I send mean emails and text messages that are degrading of others.
7. I hit, punch or cause physical pain to others.
8. I use put-downs to make others feel not as good as I am
9. I encourage others to do any or all of the above.
Bullying Behavior Includes the Following Factors:
• Occurs more than once
• Physically or psychologically hurtful
• Exhibits a power imbalance
If you answered yes to any of the above, know that you can change. The first step is to admit that you are a bully. You can’t correct a problem until you admit that you have the problem. Making the decision to change is the first step which is deepened when you make a commitment to that goal. Writing it down and telling others of your goals confirms it. Ask a friend or someone to make you accountable for the change you choose to make. You may even want to start a support group in you school or community and invite other bullies to join you. Bullies will follow the changed behavior of other bullies who are one of them. Your choice and commitment to change can influence others who also need to make amends.
Why Bullies Love to Bully
Some bullies do find pleasure by inflicting pain on others due to a sadistic nature that goes beyond getting even or revenge. It is how they are wired and in their DNA. For most bullies the motivation is about power. Because many bullies were first bullied and stripped of their power, they now are on a mission to get it back.
While the destructive behavior and harm they cause may be similar, what motives a bully varies and their motivation determines how effective counseling and reconditioning methods will be to change their behavior.
Common characteristics of bullies:
While the destructive behavior and harm they cause may be similar, the motives a bully has varies and their motivation determines how effective counseling and behavioral reconditioning methods will be to change their behavior.
• Bullies are quick to get frustrated, annoyed and angry.
• Bullies lack the essential virtues of empathy and compassion.
• Bullies violate rules and regulations and have a positive view of violence.
Bullies are often bigger and stronger than their peers.
• Bullies often smoke and drink more and do drugs.
• Bullies more often carry weapons to school.
• Bullies deliberately miss school and drop out more frequently.