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Why Do Teens Bully?

a teen is socially isolated and bullied by other teens at school

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20% of teens experience bullying. With the rise of social media, teen bullying has seen a surge. Bullying is behavior intended to cause harm or distress and generally involves an imbalance of power. Although bullying is a prevalent problem among teens, there are treatment programs that can help.

Why do teens bully? Learn more about teen bullying and what to do if your teen is engaging in this behavior or is a victim of it by contacting Imagine Boise at 888.597.2807.

What Is Teen Bullying?

When a teen uses words or actions to harm someone else’s well-being or property, it is bullying. Bullying is behavior meant to intimidate and make others feel threatened or powerless. Teen bullying is typically ongoing and can overwhelm the person on the receiving end.

There are different types of teen bullying, including:

  • Verbal bullying
  • Physical bullying
  • Emotional bullying
  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexual bullying

All types of bullying can cause serious trauma to the victim. The victim feels powerless and unable to defend themselves because the bully is stronger, more popular, or has some other control over them. They can even blame themselves for the bullying and feel anxious and depressed.

Why Do Teens Bully?

Bullying is a complex behavior that can have many causes. Power is one of the main reasons teens bully. Teens who long for control or do not have any power in their lives often turn to bullying. Larger teens or those who are more athletically inclined may turn to bullying to exploit the power they have over smaller teens.

Teen bullying can be a way of displaying social status. Often, popular teens bully those who are not to diminish their victim’s social status and assert their own.

Teens who bully others can also have problems at home. According to a Mt. Hope Family Center study, those who have suffered abuse are much more likely to bully others than those who have not.

Those who have absent parents might also turn to bullying to gain the control and power missing from their own lives. Additionally, teens with low self-esteem may bully to cover up their negative self-worth.

Prejudice is another reason teens bully; by bullying someone who is different, whether racially, physically, or otherwise, the bully reasserts their own place in society.

Peer pressure can also have an impact on teen bullying. If a teen worries about fitting in and wants to be “part of the group,” they may follow that group into bullying behavior.

Another potential reason why teens bully is that they derive pleasure from it. Teens looking to ease their boredom or who want entertainment sometimes turn to bullying behavior.

Teen Bullying: Steps to Take 

If your teen is a victim of bullying, it’s crucial that you create a safe space for your child to speak with you about what they’re going through. Reaching out to experienced counselors can also be essential in helping your child understand that the bullying is not their fault.

If your teen bullies others, it’s important to step in and stop the behavior. Treatment programs are available to help your child understand the impact their words and actions have on others.

Teen Bullying Assistance at Imagine Boise

Teen bullying is a serious issue that impacts both the victim and the bully. At Imagine Boise in Idaho, we offer relationship therapy programs for adolescents ages 12 to 17. We offer the chance for teens to learn better communication skills so they can handle the challenges that life presents.

Call us today at 888.597.2807 to learn more about our services.