What Makes a Child Become a Target for Bullying?
While most parents want a list of the things that can cause a child to become a target for bullying, understand that this list is just a norm. It’s not the definitive rule. Plus, there are always exceptions depending on what type of school it is, what’s considered normal in that culture or community, and how the school administration and community deals with issues surrounding bullying.
* The Teacher’s Pet – Often a teacher’s pet is a target, mostly because they are good at something. Usually, they’re super-smart kids who want to get A’s and like getting the teacher’s attention and succeed in doing so. The other kids feel as if the pet is being treated better than them and they start trying to put the child in their place.
* Creative Types – Sometimes creative children like to dress differently, act a little differently, and stand out. In schools without anti-bullying training, that child may end up being made fun of due to their clothing or actions that aren’t the norm in that community. This type of shamming happens to try to force the child to act like everyone else.
* Introverted Children – Some children don’t really want to be friends with a bunch of other kids and prefer to sit alone and are fine with it. However, this can make the child a target because most kids just want to belong, and it makes the other kids feel attacked for their desire to be with others even though nothing like that is happening.
* Anxious Children – Some kids just get super-nervous around anyone that talks to them. They are anxious, sometimes they’re depressed, sad, or have other conditions that make them stand out in a way that other kids find odd. Then other kids pick on the anxious child to get a reaction out of them.
* Submissive Children – Some people are naturally more submissive than others and don’t naturally try to defend themselves. They may be smaller than other kids and scared to death. They may cry. They may make a scene that excites the bully to bully them even more.
* Children Who Don’t Make Friends Easily – Some children have a hard time making friends, and are very awkward socially even though they don’t want to be. This type of difference is taken as the child being stuck up or thinking they’re better than the other kids, which then causes the kids to start bullying that child.
* Children Who Are Different – Any type of difference from normative standards will make a child a target. Whether it’s bright red hair, sexuality, or something else that makes the child stand out as different, it can be a whistle call to the bullies to attack.
* Children Who Make the Bully Feel Threatened – Sometimes the bullying happens because the bully feels threatened. The bully might be a leader in the school and gets all the other kids to attack that child they feel threatened by. It happens within sports teams, academic teams, and in any type of competitive group.
* Children Who Have Unique Physical Characteristics – Some children may have characteristics that make them stand out. For example, they may have lots of freckles, or warts, or something on them that makes them stand out as not normal to the bullies, making them a target.
* Children Who Have an Illness or Disability – Sadly, children who are sick or disabled often get picked on too. The bullying can be extremely bad in these cases, as often these children are totally unable to defend themselves on their own.
* Children Who Have an Uncommon Religion – Often, children who have extreme religions that control how they dress, wear their hair, and act, so that they stand out and seem very different, end up being bullied. Jewish, Muslim, Fundamentalists, Polygamists, and so forth are in danger of being bullied more often than most.
* Children Who Are in the Minority Race – When a child’s race stands out as different in the community, they may be subject to violent racial bullying that can harm them mentally and physically.
Even though these things can make children targets, this in no way implies that it’s their fault. It’s not. Children have to be taught that it’s okay to be different and it’s wrong to pick on people because of their differences or even if they have an annoying personality. It’s never okay to pick on anyone for any reason whatsoever.