How Do Adults Encourage Bullying

Bullying is a pervasive problem across the world. It's not only limited to schools or the workplace but can also happen in our homes and communities. While adults always encourage young children to be kind and respectful, they may contribute to bullying inadvertently.

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  1. The Effect of Negative Comments
    1. Example of Parents' Behavior
  2. Connection with Gender
    1. Exposure to Gender Stereotype
  3. The Prevalence of Offensive Humour
    1. Examples of Offensive Jokes
  4. The Role of Social Media
    1. The Impact of Making Posts Public
  5. Conclusion

The Effect of Negative Comments

First and foremost, adults set a terrible example when they use negative comments when talking about others. Negative comments are hurtful and often cause pain, even if they aren't bullying. However, when adults constantly use mean words, they normalize disrespect, making it easier for others to do the same. Children who hear these comments repeatedly learn that it's acceptable to talk negatively about others.

Example of Parents' Behavior

Parents, for example, who criticize their child's every move, contribute to the development of bullying behaviors. The child learns that negative behavior is the right way of dealing with issues by observing their parents. This negative aspect leads them to adopt bullying behaviors such as shouting at or isolating their peers.

Connection with Gender

Secondly, gender stereotypes are another prevalent problem that being promoted consciously or unconsciously by adults. Most people assume that boys should play sports, while girls should dance or cook, which is not always the case. The same goes for clothes, toys, and any other activities. Children absorb these stereotypes quickly, which leads them to think that it's right to bully someone who doesn't conform to these expectations.

Exposure to Gender Stereotype

For instance, a young girl who loves playing football might be teased continuously by both her peers and adults. They all will tell her that football is a 'boys' game or suggest she tries something else. Such stereotypes make children feel insecure about their preferences and create much of the problems they face when it comes to bullying.

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The Prevalence of Offensive Humour

Thirdly, offensive humor has become increasingly popular. This kind of humor is the type that degrades others and often involves racism, sexism, and homophobia. Adults who tell offensive jokes are encouraging bullying behavior, not just towards the groups that are explicitly targeted in the joke but also towards others with similar characteristics.

Examples of Offensive Jokes

For example, an adult who tells an offensive 'joke' about a particular race or gender indicates that it's okay to talk about others this way. Children might start joking offensively about these groups and learn that it's okay to bully others who are different.

The Role of Social Media

Finally, Social media can expose children to rampant bullying behavior. Adults are responsible for monitoring their children's online activity, and when they don't do so, it encourages bullying on social media platforms.

The Impact of Making Posts Public

For example, Parents who allow their children to make their posts, photos, or videos public on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook encourage online bullying. Other kids can see these posts, and if they don't agree with the content, they will start to bully the child who made the post. It's essential to educate young children on how to use these platforms safely and responsibly to minimize the risk of bullying.


Overall, adults play a significant role in promoting bullying behavior in children in various ways, either directly or indirectly. By being mindful of the language we use, stereotypes we promote, attitudes to genders, and how our kids use social media, we can take all the necessary measures to minimize the risks of bullying.

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