Why children become bullies (part 2)

Thanks again for joining me on another Joe the Biker blog titled “Bullying Facts – Why children become bullies part 2.”  You have the option of either reading the blog content or watching it as a video below.

As I mentioned in my last video blog children are not born bullies.  Bullying behavior is developed in the early stages of life.  There are four possible reasons why a child becomes a bully.

  1. Inappropriate discipline.
  2. Permissive aggressiveness.
  3. Relationship with primary caregiver.
  4. Temperament of a child.

The topic I am going to talk about today is permissive aggressiveness.

I remember presenting three performances as Joe the Biker at a school in Taunton, MA a couple of years ago.  It was an all day affair.  During one of my breaks the principal approach me and asked a favor.  He told me that a student after one of my performances called another a monkey which he considered to be inappropriate and wondered if I would talk to the student privately.

I agreed to his request.  After my last performance I headed down to the principal’s office to meet this sixth grade student.  He was a tall, slender young man named Jamal. The three of us took a seat.  I could tell by the principal’s face he was a little shocked at my approach as I asked Jamal a couple of pointed questions.

Jamal didn’t deny his rude comment and looked at us like “what’s the big deal”.  I asked how many brothers or sisters he had.  He came from a family of five and was the middle sibling.  I asked him if he and his brothers and sisters fought, yelled at each other or even called each other names.  He responded “of course we do” like it was a common reaction to siblings dealing with conflict in his family.  “What does your mother say went you guys argue or call each other names?”  He said “she yells at us and tells us to shut up and cut it out.”

We went on to talk about how name calling can hurt and how someone may take offense and consider it a personal attack which could seriously impact their well-being.  Jamal was basically a nice kid and understood what he did was inappropriate and felt he owed the other student an apology.  Jamal left understanding that what was okay at home was not appropriate in the school.

The principal and I had a conversation.  “Why we are shocked with Jamal’s behavior”, I commented.  “Even though Jamal has to take responsibility for his rude comment – to a degree he was just acting in a manner that was reinforced at his home.”

He loves his brothers and sisters but in their family atmosphere yelling and name calling was normal and an acceptable behavior.  His brothers and sisters took no personal offense unlike a school atmosphere where a student could be offended by being called a name.  Schools have to demand more appropriate social skills and can’t allow this type of behavior.

Jamal is a product of permissive aggressiveness.  It is hard for a young individual to shut off the home video when they come to school and so they slip into their normal behavior pattern.  Many times we try to show students a new more appropriate pattern when dealing with conflict but at the end of the day they go home and see the old video over and over again.  It’s reinforce and that is why it is so difficult to break.

Parents have a very important role in the development a child.  As a parent you are a teacher and your words, actions/reactions and approach to conflict is their foundation.  They will reference that resource each time they have to solve a problem.  If a parent yells and screams at their child – the child learns early on that this is an acceptable response well before they enter school for the first day.  If a parent argues with their spouse and their children – again the child learns that arguing is okay.  The worst of all scenarios is when parents act out their angry in violence or use passive aggressive behavior to solve conflict in the house.  The child learns to become a bully.

A child is like a sponge.  They absorb everything they hear, see, smell or feel from the time they are in their crib until the time tell go to school.  Parents have to realize their role in nurturing a child.  They are a child’s guide and teacher.  A child will always try to mimic a parent’s behavior.  Just think of it like this.  You are being recorded 247 by your children so how you act they will eventually act.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for spending time with me.  Remember I encourage feedback and comments on my blog.  I am happy to entertain questions about bullying.  You can always download my FREE Parents’ guide to bullying at my site www.joethebiker.com or by clicking


Speak Your Mind