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What makes a bully want to hurt other people?

Oftentimes, bully perpetrators are troubled and lack positive coping and social skills.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children with mental health disorders are three times more likely to be identified as bullies. With this statistic in mind, it's important to not only increase efforts to help the targeted youth, but also focus our efforts on the perpetrators. Youth who bully should be seen as kids that need help. 

Did you know that teens who bully others are more likely to engage in risky behaviors? 

Research shows that bullying has been correlated with:

  • Suicide
  • Academic problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health problems
  • Family violence

The perpetrators could benefit from professional help.  Counselors can work with bullies in several different ways:  First, they can reach out to these students one-on-one. Understanding an individual student’s situation and background can sometimes help shed light on why the youth is resorting to bullying.  Second, counselors can teach these youth how to identify the emotions they are experiencing (i.e., anger, frustration, jealousy, and insecurity) and offer them positive ways to work through their feelings. Third, counselors can help those who bully practice introspection and understand how their words cut and leave scars that can last a lifetime.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.