Bullying is unsafe behaviour that requires quick action to prevent further harm. Addressing the underlying causes of bullying behaviour is another crucial part of the process. Bullying can be a communication of a child or young person’s unmet needs, emotional distress and trauma responses. Happy, confident, secure children and young people are far less likely to participate in bullying behaviour. Bullying can be a complex situation with multiple causes and contributing factors. Here are some of the main things that may underly bullying behaviour:
Some children may resort to bullying as a way to gain attention, power, or control when they are struggling with unmet emotional or social needs. These could include: abuse; a lack of positive healthy relationships; bereavement; parental divorce or feelings of insecurity.
Peer pressure, social hierarchies, and a desire to fit in can also contribute to bullying behaviour. Children and young people may bully others to gain acceptance among their peers or because they witness others engaging in bullying.
Children and young people often learn behaviour from their environment, including their family, peers, and media. If they are exposed to aggressive or bullying behaviour in these settings, they may imitate it without understanding the impact it has on others.
Some children and young people may struggle with regulating their emotions, leading to aggressive or bullying behaviour as a way to cope with their feelings of anger, frustration, or insecurity.
Lack of empathy
Bullying can be related to a lack of empathy, where children and young people do not fully understand or appreciate the feelings and perspectives of others or the impact their behaviour has on them.
All of the above factors are indicators that a child or young person needs guidance and support. They don’t make the bullying behaviour OK – it isn’t – instead, they mean that educators need to be curious and ask the question ‘why are they behaving in this way?’ There is no quick fix solution to bullying but an approach that recognises nuance and does not make generalisations about anyone involved will be the most effective so that all children and young people feel safe and supported in school.
Ready to create an anti-bullying culture in your school? Download our webinar recording and receive our free toolkit
In just 45 minutes, you'll gain valuable insights and tools to empower you and your team to tackle bullying head-on and create a positive, inclusive atmosphere. Here's what you can expect:• A clear grasp of the neuroscience and motivations behind bullying behaviour
• An understanding of why punitive measures can have an adverse effect on creating an anti-bullying culture in schools
• Tips for tackling bullying behaviour in-the-moment as well as kickstarting a preventative approach
• Thrive’s audit and action plan, and relational anti-bullying policy template - so you can audit existing practice and enhance where required
Get the recording and receive your free audit and policy template by clicking below.
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