This is Part 2 of a four part series on bullying. You can read the first part here.


A trendy phrase in the counseling world is “Hurt people hurt people.” Meaning that often times, when a person has been hurt, they end up paying the hurt forward. This can look like damaging property, hurting themselves or hurting others. When it comes to bullying, we know that every child has a story. None of them walk into school as a blank slate. They could be carrying the stress of a parent’s addiction, abuse or neglect, feelings of inadequacy and isolation, traumatic stress or any number of things.

Please don’t take this to mean that bullying is acceptable or tolerable. It most certainly is not! But if we are to address bullying then we need to find ways to give assistance to the bullies as well as supporting the bullied. Ditch The Label did some research on bullying and here are somethings they identified in their article:

4 Causes of Bullying

  1. Stress and Trauma. Most people who identify as bullies have experience a stressful situation some time in the last 5 years. While some children might have the family support to cope with this stresses in positive ways, others do not. Bullying, then, becomes a strategy to manage stress. We need to teach students how to cope with stress in a positive way.
  2. Gender Norms. Males are more likely to have bullied another person. While it is common for us to encourage females to talk about their problems and accept visual emotions, the opposite is usually true for males. Without the outlet of healthy communication and displays of emotion, males can revert to aggressive behavior. Again, this is a coping strategy.
  3. The Bullied becomes the Bully. People who are bullied are twice as likely to bully others. This is the most obvious way of paying the hurt forward. To keep themselves from being hurt, students who have been bullied become the bully. Unfortunately, they don’t have the awareness to associate that they are now causing others the same pain that they are trying to get out of.
  4. Lack of connection. A third of those who bully feel like adults in their lives don’t have enough time to spend with them. There can be violent dynamics that are on constant display in the home. Additionally, they feel like those in close proximity to them aren’t supportive or demonstrative of unconditional love. Essentially, the have no place where they feel safe and secure – a basic human need.

Again, these are not excuses for bullying behavior, but they can help highlight some of the causes of bullying. Next week, we’ll look at how this information can help us prevent bullying behavior.