Recognising a bully

Very often bullies themselves have been victims of physical abuse and bullying at school or in the family.

Bullies need to feel control and power over others and sometimes lack empathy for their victims. They are defiant, confronting adults, antisocial, and tend to break school rules.

They are often angry and irritable, having difficulties in coping with frustration. Very often bullies themselves have been victims of physical abuse and bullying at school (or in the family)! They can feel anxious about the situation at school or at home. They generally choose victims who are smaller, younger, weaker, more withdrawn and more passive then they are. Some bullies do not even have a slight understanding of any of their victims’ feelings and how harmful the threatening is for them.

They easily start feeling resentful and often feel aggression towards themselves, even when there is none. The bully does not necessarily have to be included in the act of violence, s/he can be the organiser, i.e., persuade and encourage others to be violent. They usually dislike school and are not well-adapted to it, they have bad self-control and are insensitive to others’ feelings.

While some bullies enjoy aggression, feel safe and accepted among their peers, others have poor school achievement, are less popular among their peers, and feel less safe. In some situations, bullies become victims.

Bullies always find a way to intimidate and tease which will most embarrass the victim: they tease because of someone’s weight, appearance, hair colour, family, popularity, hard work, learning difficulties, religion, position in the society, jealousy against the victim…

Signs warning of bullying

Parents whose children show the signs mentioned below, should consult a professional who will help them understand children and advise how to prevent violent behaviours.

Signs in young and preschool children

tantrums lasting longer than 15 minutes per day, so that parents and other family members cannot calm them down, but eventually ‘give in’

frequent fits of random aggression

they are impulsive, fearless and energetic

they constantly defy rules and refuse to obey adults

they are not tied with their parents, in unfamiliar environment, they do not look for, nor do they approach them

they often watch violence on TV, enjoy violent topics or are malicious towards their peers

Signs in school children

poor attention and concentration

often obstruct school activities

poor school achievement

often fight with other children

respond to disappointments, criticism and teasing with considerable anger, guilt and wish to retaliate

often watch violent movies and play violent games

have few friends and are often excluded due to their behaviour

mingle with children known for aggression and disobedience

constantly confront adults

tease and annoy animals

feel frustrated

seem not to empathise with others

Signs in adolescents

do not respect authority

lack empathy for others’ feelings and rights

solve problems using violent behaviours

have poor school achievement and show inclination for truancy

get expelled from school

abuse alcohol and drugs

participate in fights, thefts and destruction of public property