Bullies are evident in every school all over the country, about 10 to 20 percent of aggressive children are bullies while 15 to 30 percent are victims. (Berk, 2014. p. 502). Bullies attack their victims verbally, physically, and emotionally. “Bullying is an imbalance of power where the bully has power over the victim and is intentionally abusing the power in order to hurt the victim.” (Kuykendall, S. 2012). Victims of bullying often do not report bullying to parents or adults at school, so intervention needs to start before it begins.
Children develop aggressive behaviors toward others from different factors as they grow up. “Some bullies are high-status youngsters who may be liked for their leadership or athletic abilities.” (Berk. 2012. p. 502)). Of these children, some are disliked or become disliked based on their cruelty to others. Bullies acquire status based on athletic abilities, socio-economic status, and peer group standards. Teachers and parents play an active role in assisting children build self-esteem by giving approval and praise. This allows a child to gain a higher sense of self while learning to associate with others. Peer contact becomes an important developmental aid because it contributes to perspective taking and understanding of self and others. It enhances peer interaction which increases sharing, helping, and decreases some forms of aggression. As a child gets older, peer groups are beginning to form which separate individuals based on unique values, standards of behavior, and a structure of leaders and followers. When children begin to separate into groups, some children fall into a category of “ousted children” who are no longer respected and make an easier target for bullying.
Children who are targeted by bullies share traits such as having an inhibited temperament and a frail appearance. (Berk, 2014 p. 502). Victims of bullying may also have histories of resistant attachment, overly controlling child rearing, and maternal over protection. (Berk, 2014. p.502). Some types of parenting is associated with fearful behavior and vulnerability which could later produce adjustment issues such as depression, loneliness, poor school performance, disruptive behavior, and school avoidance. (Berk, 2014. p. 502). “Victims report anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal and homicidal ideations.” (Kuykendall, S., 2012). Children with low self-worth and self-esteem tend to allow themselves to be bullied because they don’t have the social skills and support to stop the cycle. With a combination of negative home and peer experiences, they are at severe risk for maladjustment. (Berk, 2014. p. 502). They have a sense of learned helplessness