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Are some children more likely to bully than others?

It has been suggested that there a number of things which can make bullying behaviour more likely. One of the things identified is the child's home background. If you think of bullying as a type of behaviour which can be learned or copied, then it is not surprising to find that there could be a link between a child's bullying behaviour and the aggressive behaviour of parents, brothers and sisters. Anxiety at home (for example caused by the separation of parents) may also contribute to bullying behaviour. It has also been suggested that jealousy could be a major reason for bullying. This could be, for example, jealousy of another child's popularity or academic success. Another possible explanation for bullying is that it is an attempt to build and hold on to a reputation; the bully might see his/her aggressive behaviour as a way of increasing his/her standing in the peer group. The point is made that there is, however, no typical bully and people bully for many different reasons.
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Article details

B Byrne (1995) 'Young People and Bullying', The Irish YouthWork Press, Dublin.
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Author details

Brendan ByrneDr Brendan Byrne has a long-standing interest in the subject of bullying as teacher, guidance counsellor, researcher and author. He currently works as a counsellor at the Coolmine Community School, Dublin. He regularly conducts workshops and seminars for school staff, parents' associations and young people. He was a member of the Government Working Party which drew up guidelines to counter bullying behaviour in schools. His publications include: 'Coping With Bullying in Schools', 'Bullying: a community approach' and 'Young People and Bullying'. He has also collaborated in the publication 'Countering Bullying in the Workplace, Home and School - questions and answers' published March 2004. He can be contacted by email.
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