Single Parent Faith

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Where do Bullies Learn to Bully?

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, bully."—Tim Field

I just finished watching Anderson Cooper’s Townhall, “Bullying – It Stops Here” and couldn’t help but wonder, where are these bullies picking up on this bully behavior?
What makes a bully, a bully? Somewhere in their own personal lives they may be victimized and bullied themselves.  Kids don’t come out of the womb bullying. This is a learned behavior.  This behavior is being modeled for them, perhaps even encouraged.

This is such a multi-tiered problem. It doesn’t appear to be as simple as being birthed in schools and staying there after these bullies graduate high school. A few years ago I experienced a manager at work who was trying to manipulate and bully me. During that time I ran across a book while at B&N and purchased, Robert Sutton’s, “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't.” The book reinforced that companies must deal head on with these bully individuals before they inflict further damage to employees and the companies they work for. You can read about Mr. Sutton's motivation to write the book here.

Surely there must be a connection between adult bullies and younger ones.

Talking to a good friend of mine who works at a hospital, she shared that in the hospital environment there’s a pervasive problem with nurse-on-nurse verbal and non-verbal aggression, and abuse inflicted on the non-MD staff by the MDs. All too often dismissive doctors who feel the need to impose a pecking order and oppressively rule as dictators, make the work environment unbearable for their victims. This is no different than what the high school experience is for the victims of bullying. 

Which leads me to ask, how are these bullies raising their children? How are they teaching their children they should treat others of differing appearances, manners of speech (accents, speech impediments, etc), cultures, religious beliefs, sexual orientation…?

Whether our children extend respect and human dignity to their peers (and consequently adults), is influenced by the foundational work we do as parents. That being said, the schools also have an obligation to deal with the root cause of bullying within schools, not by blaming the victims, but by holding bullies and their parents accountable

In the work environment, many corporations have zero tolerance for work place harassment, abuse and violence. People lose their jobs if they cannot behave in a respectful and professional manner. How are we preparing the next generations to behave in the “real world” if we flagrantly allow violence and humiliation in schools?
Turning a blind eye to bullying, by telling victims to “ignore it, it will go away,” doesn’t work in the corporate world and it sure doesn’t work in schools. Problems don’t go away by ignoring them. It’s time for school administrators to open their eyes to this.

“Bullies thrive wherever authority is weak."—Tim Field

Ella Venezia

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Source Image:  © All rights reserved by Joseph R. Stokes


  1. Agreed! We have a neighbor kid that bullies and we have observed the father doing the same. It's shameful!

  2. I love my Anderson Cooper and respect him even more when he brings these specials to the nation. The more I watched the more I thought about a therapist friend who said "Hurt people, hurt people." And it's so true. Bullies have been bullied to the point of a sense of powerlessness. That's my belief, however I don't have the answer to how to approach this in the schools, except for the accountability part. I wish I did.

  3. This is a great post. the world is full of conflict and there is no way to escape the cycles in it.You can send out strong currents of Peace love and happiness.You can start your own tide of Peace. Believe me when I tell you someone will feel it and they just might change.


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