It is known that bullies don’t have a very promissory future. They have a higher risk of substance abuse like alcohol and drugs in their adolescence and adult years; they are more likely to get into fights, drop out of school and destroy property; they engage in sexual activity at a younger age, they have a higher likelihood to be involved in crime, and when adults, they’re usually abusive towards their romantic partners, spouses and children.
It is important to remember that bullies often come from homes where they have minimal parental attention and warmth, where discipline is random and physical punishment is common, as well as anger outbursts. These living conditions cause the children to be distrustful, and to have limited ability to have empathy and to delay gratification.
Bullies have to acknowledge that their behavior will continue to have negative consequences until they change it. Once they do, they may be open to accept help.
How can a bully be helped?
To help a bully the first step is to make them recognize their own actions, then they have to understand what effect such actions have in themselves. As they develop anxiety that enforces that they don’t want to get in trouble again, they can change their actions to avoid trouble, so they find other ways to satisfy their needs. Once all this has happened, they can acknowledge what are the effects of their actions on the others, and then develop guilt over that. Finally a bully can learn to trust others and delay gratification, forming positive relationships with adults that actually help them.
All these steps can be accomplished with structured counseling, reasoning on the aggressive behaviors and consistent consequences on such behaviors.
Asking the bully why, pleading to change their behaviors, making them apologize to their victims, and enforcing their self-esteem, as well as expressing frustration will NOT HELP! It might actually make things worse.
Instead, one can ask the bully the following questions: What did you do? Why was that a bad thing to do? Who did you hurt? What did you try to accomplish with that? Next time you have that goal, how will you accomplish it without hurting anyone? This way, one can help the bully go through each one of the steps mentioned above.
- Understanding Bullying
- Why Bullies are Bullies?
- Why do Bullying Victims Don’t Tell?
- Helping your Child if he/she is a Victim of Bullying
- Exclusion is Also Bullying!