A Warning to the Bully

Are you a bully? Do you think it would be fun to be a bully? Do you believe that bullying behavior is only part of “kids being kids” and that they will grow out of it? Statistics tell a different story.

According to the “National Crime Prevention Council“, being a bully is shown to be a gateway behavior, giving them the impression and teaching them that threats and aggression are acceptable behaviors, even in adulthood. This website is all about the long-term effects of bullying and that includes people who bully. Here’s what you have to look forward to if you are a bully as a youth:

  • 60% of boys whom researchers classified as bullies in 6-12 grade are convicted of at least one crime by age 24. That’s a majority of these youth.
  • 40% of these same youth had three or more convictions.

This certainly shows that bullying is a long-term life changing event. One thing that’s hard or near impossible to do is to remove a conviction from your record. With that conviction, you will statistically make less money and have fewer good job opportunities. So if you want to bully, that’s what you have to look forward to.

As a society, I don’t see how allowing boys to fight and punch as kids is a helpful concept as they enter into adulthood. We call that assault as an adult and it is a crime. I just gave a presentation where this was a focus of the discussion. For boys in particular, fighting seems on the surface to be the solution to stopping a bully from bothering you. Give them one good punch and they will leave you alone.

But what are we teaching the victim? That physical fighting solves problems? Maybe as a youth, but by doing that we are not modeling behavior we want as adults. I don’t have the answer to this one, since much bullying happens away from adults and many parents feel that not having their child fight back would be more detrimental. I tend to disagree in that we are teaching behaviors we don’t want them to have later. There must be a better way.

In the meantime, if your child is a bully or you are a bully, take a long look at the statistics above and decide what direction you want to take in your life. It is a decision that could affect the rest of it.

4 thoughts on “A Warning to the Bully

  1. That is exactly why we need to stop this behavior, and stop it early….before it starts! What better way than by using a novel – Strike One! by Andrea Prostko. The boys who read this (3rd – 6th graders) will think you are just trying to get them to read, but what they will find is that they are really getting a very important lesson on bullying!! And…did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month??

  2. In my case, “standing up for myself” only resulted in ME being punished… which then of course, resulted in more ridicule. I can’t speak for what it is like now… but back in the early 80’s, a kid like me was viewed as totally weak, and a lost cause. I honestly think even the school administrators were somewhat “entertained” by my circumstances… particularly the men. Perhaps they thought if they offered some protection, or admonished the bullies, they would then be viewed as weak, or otherwise disrespected by the students. I have NEVER understood why the victim becomes the problem. Send the bullies away. Quite likely, their parents would benefit from some therapy of their own. I’ve never known a bully without a bully parent right behind them.

    • I agree that bullies are conditioned by their surroundings, although I don’t doubt that some people are just born cruel. I too saw that standing up as a victim got me in trouble with schools as well. It certainly felt hopeless at times. I am happy for you that your cancer treatments are over. I wish you continued good health.

  3. One of the things that I wonder about research like this is what constitutes “bullying behavior.” The older I get and the more I question social norms, the more I conclude that it takes more physical violence and/or mean-spiritedness than I believe it should for Americans to describe behavior as “bullying.”

    A lot of the nagging, badgering, manipulating, and gossiping that is considered “normal” seems like bullying to me, too. Yet, it’s practiced as adults and considered acceptable, because it’s not physically violent.

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