Why Bullies are Bullies:

Bullies don’t bully because they are strong, powerful or full of confidence. They bully because they lack all these traits. They probably don’t have real friends or a person to talk to. They really want to be accepted by others because they don’t accept themselves. They don’t like themselves, they probably see themselves as many of our students see themselves already – as weak, unworthy and full of faults. However, they found a way to think better of themselves. Their way is to show others that they are stronger, that they have better clothes, more money or whatever else it is that makes them feel better. In fact, they are really unhappy because all the time they need to prove to others that they are worth someone else’s attention. Usually this is when they do something really bad or aggressive – something that grabs others’ attention.

It’s like with small children – they will cry, break their toys, or make a mess until you notice them. Only then will they stop. More than anything else in the world they want attention. If they cannot receive positive attention, love and good words, they will be happy with any kind of attention, so they start to misbehave. It is the same with bullies. They want somebody’s attention. If they get together usually there is a group leader whose attention they will seek. And to get it they have to bully others. It is just a matter of proving themselves as worthy. And when we think of gang leaders, they need attention from the rest of the group to actually stay leaders. So they will usually have to be as bad as they can to get this attention. There is really no true friendship within such groups, no real talking, no understanding, no relationships – only pure competition. So, if we think about it this way, we may understand how bad they all have to feel everyday. There is no one to talk to because no one wants to listen. All people around including teachers and other students will see them as bad. To make themselves feel a little bit better they will try to make others feel worse about themselves until they believe that they really are hopeless. This way bullies feel more powerful because in fact they are really weak. It is their way to build their false self confidence.

They will cry, break their toys, or make a mess until you notice them. Only then will they stop. More than anything else in the world they want attention. If they cannot receive positive attention, love and good words, they will be happy with any kind of attention, so they start to misbehave. It is the same with bullies. They want somebody’s attention. If they get together usually there is a group leader whose attention they will seek. And to get it they have to bully others. It is just a matter of proving themselves as worthy. And when we think of gang leaders, they need attention from the rest of the group to actually stay leaders. So they will usually have to be as bad as they can to get this attention. There is really no true friendship within such groups, no real talking, no understanding, no relationships – only pure competition. So, if we think about it this way, we may understand how bad they all have to feel everyday. There is no one to talk to because no one wants to listen. All people around including teachers and other students will see them as bad. To make themselves feel a little bit better they will try to make others feel worse about themselves until they believe that they really are hopeless. This way bullies feel more powerful because in fact they are really weak. It is their way to build their false self confidence.

Although this problem affects

We all have many great things to say about ourselves. Together we can help each other discover them. The more positive things your students find about yourselves the easier it will be for them to regain their confidence and to believe that they are actually wonderful people. Their self-acceptance is the key to being free from bullying as bullying is really targeted at making them feel as bad about themselves as possible. To face bullying is to discover good things about themselves. If your students find it a difficult task, encourage them to ask others to make a list of their traits, and they will soon discover that lots of people really see them as wonderful people.

Also finding good things about others will help your students stay more positive, refocus, see the world from a different perspective, and smile more every day. Remind them over and over that there is always at least one person who will want to listen to them and support them, and that they need to keep looking for this person. Teach them to never doubt it. And never stop searching

We all have many great things to say about ourselves

Once your students start to feel better about themselves, they will begin to believe that it is them who can make a real change in their own life, that they can take their life in their own hands and shape it as they wish because they have all that power to do so. If they find it difficult though, just encourage them to visualise their life without bullying, try to see how they would like their life to be in 20 years’ time from now, and how they would like to feel about themselves then. Help them find their own way to let it sink in. So they may want to write it down, paint it away, dance it through or even jog it out. Let them release the energy they don’t want to feel – run, swim, dance, paint, take martial arts classes. Help them find the things they love the most and let them do these as often as they can, ideally with other people who feel as passionate about it as they do. Encourage your students to join a hip-hop or street dance club, a karate class or a sports club, just to find their own way to release this energy. It will help them feel good and find out that they have another aim in their life that excites them. Keep reminding your students that they can create their life any way they want, and that they have all the time they need for this. They can never give up because they are unique and wonderful people!

Once your students start to feel better about themselves

Guest Author:

Vito Matt (MA Edu) – Curriculum Developer and Instructional Designer

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