5 Reasons Teens Become Bullies

By McKayla Arnold

Why do kids become bullies? Were they born to bully, or did something take them off course to produce a teen that lacks empathy and compassion?

1) Problems at Home

Bullying is often a learned behavior. Although any child can become a bully, experts believe that problems at home can lead to bullying behaviors. Children who experience the following are more likely to direct their anger toward other children:

  • Neglect
  • Inadequate adult supervision
  • Conflict between parents
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • A lack of warmth and affection at home
  • A lack of rules and consequences

2) Personality

No one wants to raise a bully, but some teens have personality traits that may make them more likely to taunt or ridicule others. Studies show that bullies tend to be:

  • Aggressive
  • Impulsive
  • Dominating
  • Lacking empathy and social skills

Of course, biology isn’t destiny, and teens who grow up in happy, loving homes are perfectly capable of growing into caring, well-adjusted adults.

3) Stress

Teens are more stressed than ever, and some are acting out by directing their frustrations at other teens. Teen stress can be caused by:

  • Academic pressure or poor performance at school
  • Family conflict
  • Lack of friends or a support network
  • Concerns over physical appearance
  • Being bullied themselves

By attacking other students, bullies gain a sense of control over their lives and an artificial sense of superiority. In many cases, bullies were victims of bullying themselves and are clinging desperately to their sense of power.

4) Overconfidence

Experts used to believe that bullies tortured others to compensate for their own low self-esteem, but research now shows that most bullies feel pretty good about themselves. Whether they are smarter, taller, richer, more popular or better looking than other teens, something causes them to feel superior. Being cruel to others makes them feel powerful and gives them a place to direct their anger.

5) Insecurity

While some bullies are extremely confident, others pick on their peers because of a deep and pervasive insecurity. They may think that harassing another teenager will impress their friends, make them more popular or get a laugh.

If you suspect that your teen is bullying other kids, get involved right away. Bullies themselves tend to suffer from depression and emotional and behavioral issues and may benefit from a therapeutic program for troubled teens. Talk to your child and their teachers so that no other child suffers at the hand (or word) of your teen.