The fourth grader had a slightly bloody nose. Tears ran down a dirty face with blood on his sleeve. Not allowing his peers to hear his cry, he muffled his voice. Another student had run to get a teacher and the hurt boy looked at Mrs. Smith with confused eyes. The boy is thinking about what he is to tell his parents. The bully shouts, “I didn’t mean to hurt him!” The phrase, “Boys will be boys,” does not justify the situation.
Bullies almost always try to down play their actions. Most of the time the bully’s intent is to emotionally hurt or physically cause pain to their victims. The motivation of the physical act varies, however, accepting this behavior as normal when a boy ruffs up another boy, creates more harm to the bully and victim.
Bullies who act like they didn’t mean to do hurt another or try to comfort the victim once caught are ploys that bullies like to incorporate. Sometimes bullies do not truly understand the cause of their angry outburst. Unfortunately, young bullies some times have been recipients of the same physical action by someone that they themselves trust. The bully may know it is wrong and know it hurts the other. The bully may lack the skills to work through his anger without physically hurting some one else.
A key factor to remember, changing a bully takes time. Bullying is a learned behavior that has generally been part of the child’s life for an extended period of time. Set up a team meeting to best help the bully. Being consistent is important for intervention which means that all adults interacting with the bully must understand what the team goal and intervention process looks like. Also remember to celebrate small steps the individual makes to manage his behavior.
While on a school campus, phrases of bullies always gain my attention. How do I know the phrases bullies like to use? I was once a bully. So, if you want bullying to go away, I believe that everyone needs to be aware of the bully’s excuses and create a plan to eliminate its power.
For additional suggestions, visit Billy Speaks, your trusted Bully Advisor.