Why do children bully?

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Why do children bully?

Bullying occurs for lots of different reasons, but we have to remember that kids are involved in a social context. Kids form unique groups of friends, and when they do, it also creates what we call a "social ladder." On that social ladder, kids divide themselves into three groups. There's the popular group, there's that middle group with most kids, and then there's that bottom group. All kids want to do everything they can to get themselves into the middle or top group because the bottom group is most vulnerable to bullying. Kids test out aggressiveness when kids try to move between groups to make sure there is always someone below them. That's what bullying is really about. We have to really be aware of social groups that start out at early ages. We have to teach kids that being on top is not what really matters, but that's why bullying occurs.

Watch Joel Haber, PhD's video on Why do children bully?...


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Joel Haber, PhD

Psychologist, Bullying & Parenting Expert, Author

Dr. Joel Haber is a Clinical Psychologist and internationally recognized bully prevention and parenting expert. He was selected as a webinar leader and a speaker for the Obama Administration Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention initiative.  He was also an invited participant to the Second Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit in 2011. His recent book, Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good set the bullying standard for schools, camps, sports, organizations and families dealing with bully prevention and intervention. He recently published The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive, Not Reactive Parenting.  He is a consultant and expert to the American Camp Association, and to LG Electronics as a member of (LGTextEd.com), providing cyberbullying and mobile harassment expertise to parents and families. He is an advisor to Cartoon Network’s anti-bully campaign: Stop Bullying: Speak Up.  He is an expert for No Snap Judgments: The Addams Family Broadway Show- National Campaign to promote acceptance and tolerance amongst our youth. He is also co-founder of Tool Kits for Kids (toolkitsforkids.com), recipient of five national parenting awards for helping parents and kids develop the tools and emotional life skills to overcome worry, build confidence and develop resilience. He has written and published extensively, speaking each year to thousands of parents and educators to help make children’s lives, safer and better. 

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