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Odd but true: Bullying starts at home
IT might seem shocking to many, but truth be told, kids get their impulse to bully at home.
During a workshop at the Family Congress 2012, Rafael Dionisio, a resource person from Love Institute, stressed the influence of family life on the tendency of some children to bully others.
“It starts at home. We have to check the environment at home.”
What drives bullying behavior
Dionisio, who was bullied himself for years, said kids act out bullying because of certain realities at home.
Unknowingly, kids take out stress felt at home on smaller or less aggressive classmates in school.
Some factors or reasons behind bullying could include: lack of self-confidence, envy, entitlement and poor role models at home, and passing the buck.
Signs of a low self-esteem
Dionisio said a child’s low self-esteem could push him to prove “himself” by bullying others, if for example, parents exert extraordinary pressure on the child to perform well in school or in sports and he is unable to cope.
Even at a young age, envy could be a strong motivator for bad behavior. When a sibling is perceived to be a “favorite” of either parent, a child can react by initially bullying this brother or sister, before picking on other kids in school or in the play ground.
Dionisio shared that growing up, he felt inferior to his naturally studious younger brother, whom he ended up bullying.
Parents’ bad behavior exposed
More perceptive than adults make them out to be, kids zero in on their parents’ behavior towards people of lower socio-economic standing like the household help, and make it the template for treating others.
So if parents verbally and possibly, physically abuse their household help, children will think this is the normal way of dealing with others, even in school.
According to Dionisio, the bullying mechanism also functions like a dynamic in the corporate setting where the boss will scold the vice-president; the vice-president will pass on the buck to his staff; the staff will eventually go home and kick his dog out of frustration.
When a child has to deal with stress and unexpressed anger at home, he goes to school and looks for a weaker person to vent his frustration on.
The entire context of bullying shows that there is more than meets the eye, with the role of the family continuing to play a central role in how kids grow up. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz)