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We need to empower kids to not fear bullies

By Anthony Dillon - posted Wednesday, 21 March 2018


What makes a bully?

And, more importantly, what can be done about them?

We know bullying is a huge problem. Even the Prime Minister has admitted to having been a target as a boy, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers research suggests the problem costs society $2.4 billion per annual school cohort.

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The first step in addressing bullying is to realise that we as a society have been unwittingly promoting the view that people are fragile, are in need of constant reassurance, and must be protected against criticisms and so-called microaggressions.

Consider a report on the BBC website which states "A head teacher of a leading primary school has said young children should not have best friends because it could leave others feeling ostracised and hurt."

Seriously? Children are being taught that their feelings are easily hurt and that they are easily offended and powerless to not be offended. Such thinking becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This needs to stop.

Malcolm Turnbull might be all smiles on school visits now, but he admits he was bullied during his own school days. (Pic: Brendan Esposito)

The second step in stamping out verbal bullying is to understand that bullies engage in bullying because of their own feelings of inadequacy and insecurities, despite the outward mask of confidence they wear.

People relate with others in accordance with how they relate to themselves.

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Those who genuinely like themselves, not in a narcissistic way, but who can appreciate their own self-worth, genuinely like others and have no need to torment, attack, or harass them. They neither see themselves as inferior nor superior to others.

But this is not true for bullies, whose bullying behaviours are better seen as calls for help.

This is not to excuse any bully's behaviour, but an understanding of the bully's primary motivations provides clues on how to reduce their bullying behaviour.

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This article was first published by the Daily Telegraph.



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About the Author

Dr Anthony Dillon is a researcher at both the University of Sydney, and the University of Western Sydney in the areas of Indigenous health and well-being, and mental health

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Anthony Dillon

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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