Why do children bully?

Elizabeth Nassem

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    I, Elizabeth, first became affected by bullying when I was bullied as a child. I couldn’t understand why I was bullied, and why, even though some people were aware of this, it continued to happen. I was called racist names and physically assaulted, people used to spit in my hair, and sometimes, when I was hiding, several people would search for me to threaten and push me. As an adult looking back, I realise that as the bullying grew in severity, I became known and targeted as a ‘victim’. When I later researched bullying for my undergraduate degree, the academic literature made me feel ashamed of being a victim, particularly when I read a description from Salmivalli et al. about ‘helpless’ and ‘provocative’ victims1. I remembered what my experience felt like as a child: the cold sweats, being frightened of school every day, unable to concentrate on my work. I became weak, anxious and I could hardly eat. But then, as I read Salmivalli’s suggestion that the best response to bullying ‘is not to respond’, I took a more critical stance. As an adult who has researched bullying and a practitioner implementing anti-bullying strategies in school, I do not believe that bullying should be reduced to something that should just be ignored. Bullying places children’s safety at risk, can cause anxiety and even suicide.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6
    Pages (from-to)68-73
    Number of pages5
    JournalSchool Leadership Today
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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