Why Do Kids Bully, Tease and Threaten Each Other?

Why Do Kids Bully, Tease and Threaten Each Other? - Do you remember your own childhood? Did your siblings tease or taunt you? Did you pick on others who were smaller or less powerful than you were? Was it a chore to go to recess for fear of being called mean names or excluded from games? Were others in your class mean or unkind to you because of something that you could not help?  Do you still carry those scars with you as an adult?

Bullying, intimidation and inter-personal conflict are encountered by all of us at one time or another during our lives. If we were lucky, we had caring adults who helped us problem solve and recognize that the teasing had little to do with us and more with the thought process of the bully.


Bullying is about Power


Bullying is deliberate psychological, emotional and/or physical harassment of a person.  It can be one bully to one target, as in families. Or it can be group or gang oriented. Many children engage in bullying every day.  Even though each child and circumstance is unique, those who bully or demean others in order to gain power do share some common characteristics.


Why Do Kids Bully, Tease and Threaten Each Other?

Why Do Kids Bully, Tease and Threaten Each Other?




  • Likes to make fun of others
  • Prone to violence when  things don’t go their way
  • Aggressive with adults and siblings
  • Enjoys extremely physical contact activities
  • Has a manipulative personality
  • Likes to blame others
  • Frequently bends the rules
  • Enjoys the power of being a leader and having followers
  • Lacks impulse control
  • Why Do Some Kids Bully and Some Don’t?


When I was interviewing kids about friendship for my book The Left Out Child it was very obvious that there is a shorthand on the playground.  Everyone knows who is in the popular group, the jocks, the brains and the weird ones.  There is constant jockeying for position to be included and involved with the group. There is a hunger for acceptance and approval in every level, including home.

Those kids who do not give in to the temptation to tease or threaten others have developed social skills and have learned to find other ways to fit in and get along.

Adults Need to Teach and Model Respect

Children need to be shown other methods of solving problems by the important adults in their lives. Children see family and adult dynamics as how they should act in social situations. It will take a village to teach and show respect and kindness to one another.

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