The Bully Mentality: How to Stop Making Bullies

Bullies are being mass-produced on an unprecedented scale. To solve this national crisis we need to look at the causes beyond the “bullied bully” and find solutions to repair a society gone wild.

How Scienists Use Social Referencing to Teach Robots

Stop The AssemBully Line

Not all bullies have violent monsters in the closet. Many bullies have caring and loving families. But the bully mentality does start at home, on play dates, and other gatherings.

Social referencing teaches young children how to respond to the world around them through the facial expressions and behaviors of adults.The way we react to situations can have a positive or negative result on children from a very early age.

Examples of social referencing:

  • If we smile at a stranger, our child will believe the stranger is safe.
  • If we laugh when someone trips, our child will believe laughing is an appropriate response.
  • If we turn in a found wallet, our child will understand honesty.
  • If we poke fun at a neighbor’s clothing style, they will find teasing acceptable.
  • Here's an interesting experiment on social referencing and a child's reactions.

Our Kids Are Watching

A sense of being above the rules of society is another learned behavior that runs in the family.

When parents break the rules or feel they’re more important than others, their behavior is easily passed onto the child because they see fast results. The wrong message is taken a step further when the role model is also viewed as good and noble.

Here’s an extreme example of a hero/bully role model:

  • A father and son enter a donut shop. Dad makes an effort to hold the door open for a woman with several packages and a toddler in tow, but when he gets in line it’s moving slowly. He starts heckling the employees about their sloth-like performance then tells his son, “Go to college so you don’t end up working behind a counter like these losers.”

By being more aware of our contribution to the bully mentality perhaps we can grow a new generation who views bullying as an immature lifestyle and not see it as an acceptable pastime.

Insight: How Kids Want Parents to Behave

Shifting the Tides

The key to ridding the world of bullies may come from the victims and bullies themselves.

While Zero Tolerance policies and programs are in place to prevent bullying (in the open), we still need adults and children to step forward and start calling out behavior for what it is, destructive conduct.

At one time, bullying was more physical. We could see the damage of sticks and stones. Today, kids often give and take punches invisible to the naked eye, but if we look closely for the signs, the damage is all too visible. Depression, acting out, violence, and suicide are just a few results of being bullied.

What Adults Can Learn From Kids

That’s why it’s so important to enlist victims and bullies in this war on the bully mentality. By listening to and reading their stories, we can learn to follow the signs then we can begin plans for the most effective strategy.

Kids have remarkable insights and are quite creative when it comes to finding solutions. We need to tap into those superpowers.

Here's a new site worth looking into. Teens Against Bullying is encouraging kids to not only identify bullying behavior at in it’s infancy, but it allows kids to take a proactive role in shutting down the bully business through creativity and empowerment. There is strength in numbers and these kids are determined to raise awareness and build a program to stop bullying.

Funny or Not?

Responsible Views of the Vulture Culture

Humans have enjoyed watching other humans destroy each other long before the first gladiator stepped onto a field in a coliseum, so the media is just giving the public what they want.

Ratings of “reality” shows continue to soar as we watch people fighting and falling for fame and glory. Even sitcoms with great reviews sometimes stretch the limits of moral boundaries for a laugh at someone's expense.

We all know which shows promote mean-spirited actions and or highlight accidents that could have easily ended in tragedy. Still others take no responsible stance against bullies and self-serving attitudes but use it for comedic purposes.


Sure I can find humor in a baby sneezing spaghetti through his nose, but I wince from disgust when I hear canned laughter at a man having sex with two women separately and juggling to keep it a secret from them.

Sure I watch these shows with my teens, but I add my personal twists. It goes back to social referencing.

When an ATV rolls over a rider trying to jump a hill, I don’t laugh, I say, “Gee, that guy could’ve broken his neck.”

When the guy with two girls gets his just rewards, I cheer and tell my girls, “Guys like that need to be kicked to the curb because they don’t have anything you can’t find in a guy who will treat you better."

Game Over

In a questionnaire done by Teens Against Bullying the verdict came to this. We (students, parents, schools, and community) are all  responsible for putting a stop to the bully mentality. Let’s all take a hard look at how we promote bullying and take action to stop it.

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Comments 3 comments

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

yup, example is the strongest teacher. voted useful and up. next i'll check out "teens against bullying".

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Great hub.

HoneyBB profile image

HoneyBB 3 years ago from Illinois

Excellent hub and one that I have touched on myself in my hub, How to Put an End to Bullying. Many people need to be made aware of how their social referencing effects bullying and the people who are bullied. Thanks for sharing this very important insight into where bullying behaviors come from. This is my fourteenth hub in 26 that I am reading today honoring the victims of Sandy Hook. I read this hub in memory of Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female

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