Reasons for bullying behaviour Essay
Reasons for bullying behaviour
Olweus (1980) identified that bullying children are usually impulsive and have an aggressive temperament and children who are bullied have a shy or weak temperament. Some of the children who are bullied lack assertiveness skills. Also, being different in some way such as being from a different ethnic group increases the chances of being bullied. In addition, children with special educational needs, with a physical disability or mild or moderate learning difficulties are also at risk of getting bullied.
Researches conducted by Petterson, DeBaryshe and Ramsay (1989) also identifies factors at home as reasons for bullying. Factors such as lack of warmth between the parents or among other members of the family, use of physical violence within the family or lack of clear guidance for behaviour to the children or even lack of monitoring of children’s activities. Study conducted by Olweus (1980) in Norvegia also indicated links of family background to bullying. For bullied children, Olweus (1993) found that over-protective parenting may increase the risk of being bullied.
Children in over-protected family environments usually do not develop skills as much as children who are independent and hence become vulnerable by the bullies. Bowers, Smith and Binney (1992) conducted research on the children’s, who are either the bullies or the victims, perception of their families. They studied and compared the perceptions of bullies, victims, bully/victims and control children. The study indicated that many bullies and bully/victims perceived that their families were relatively lacking affection among the family members.
The study also revealed that there were very poor monitoring procedures. The children who are only involved in bullying perceived that their families have power relationships between the siblings and the other members of the family. In this case of bully/victims the children perceived difficulties with the parental behaviour such as punitive ness and lack of involvement. The children perceived that their parents were more concerned about their own position in the family. (Smith, P. K. et al, 2007) Peer-level characteristics associated with bullying and victimisation
Peers are considered to be the most influential group in issues related to bullying. Various studies such as Espelage et al (2003), Pellegrini & Long (2002), Rodkin et al (2000) have studied the influence of peers in how individuals take to aggression and bullying. Homophily Hypothesis This hypothesis is based on the similarity of individuals within a group. In the late childhood and early adolescence, the peer group becomes extremely important for the individuals. During this time, the peer group involves in similar behavioural dimensions such as smoking, academic achievements and so on.
This similarity within the group is called homophily. In studies conducted on middle school students, homophily was found to be true in explaining the extent of how much the peer influenced each other in bullying their peers. The effect of peers was found to be higher for bullying than fighting. This provided evidence that peer influence plays an important role in low-level aggression than fighting. It was found that students generally hang out with the kids who bullied others. It was found that the students who bullied at similar frequency were found to hang out more.
Dominance theory Dominance theory is based on the observation that during the early adolescence, children look to increase their dominance. Pellegrini (2002) observed that the transition to middle school requires children to renegotiate their dominance relationships. Bullying is found to be a deliberate strategy for attaining the dominance, especially in a newly formed peer groups. Studies indicate that bullying was used more frequently by boys who targeted their aggression towards other boys during this transition.
This theory is structured around the complex interaction among the adolescent for the need of dominance, changes in the social surroundings and peer-group structure and the desire to interact with the opposite sex. Attraction Theory Attraction theory is based on the change in behaviour of young adolescents. It focuses on their need to establish a separation from their parents and also become attracted to other people in their age group who possess characteristics that is a reflection of independence. This independence can be interpreted as delinquency, aggression, disobedience and similar characteristics.
In this period, these adolescents are less attracted to individuals who possess characteristics of childhood such as compliance and obedience. This makes these early adolescents attracted to peers who are aggressive. This was also found during a study of 217 boys and girls by Bukowski, who found that the girls and boys were more attracted to aggressive peers when they entered the middle school. The increase in attraction for aggressiveness was more for girls. The different theories, especially the homophily hypothesis, dominance theory and attraction theory demonstrate the complex nature of bullying during the early years of adolescence.