First, peer pressure is a notable part of peer relationships, especially during teenage years. Sometimes, all it takes for a child to start making negative decisions—like bullying others—is spending time with friends who engage in those behaviors. It’s far too easy to fall into the crowd and join in instead of standing up for what is right, especially when it could mean standing up against friends.
Second, just as society dismisses bullying at times, so do kids. The line between teasing or poking fun at each other and bullying is often blurred. This is why one of the most important things we can do is create clear lines for youth so they can name what is happening to them not only with bullying, but with anything. Being able to find the words to communicate what is happening is a powerful skill that benefits children, teens and adults alike.
Third, we live in a competitive world that doesn’t always fuel kindness. In fact, many conflicts in schools can be linked to competition between students and the want for status that comes with our cultural structure.
Fourth and finally, family relationships and resilience play significant roles in protecting against bullying perpetration and victimization. Teens with strong family relationships and those with high levels of resilience are far less likely to bully others and report being bullied less often than those with poor familial relationships and those with low resilience.
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