Top 5 bullying myths: What you don't know about bullying

You’ve probably seen a lot in the news about bullying. From a bus monitor taking abuse from students, to a six-year-old singing an allegedly inappropriate song in the lunch line, to the latest study about teens online, it seems that every day there’s a new story about bullies, victims, or anti-bullying efforts. By now, you might figure you know the topic inside and out. But a lot of what you think you know about bullying is probably wrong.  

AP Photo/Northwest Herald, Mike Greene
Haley Barone, 8, and other students participated in a "Back To School Bully Buster Bootcamp" for families at Kyuki-Do Martial Arts in Huntley, Ill. Aug. 2, 2012. The camp, directed by Rick Bjorkquist, teaches not only self-defense moves, but how to stay calm in front of a bully, as well as what to say to the bully and more techniques to combat bullies.

1. Bullies lash out because they have low self-esteem.

Taylor Weidman/The Christian Science Monitor
A group of students from Oliver H. Perry K-8 School in South Boston, Mass., perform a skit about bullying at the Vine Street Community Center. [Editor's note: An earlier version of this caption misstated the Boston neighborhood in which the Perry school is located.]

You’ve heard this theory before: The classroom bully acts aggressively toward others as a way to compensate for the fact that, deep down, he really doesn’t like himself. This may be a satisfying explanation for bad behavior, but numerous studies show it to be untrue. Indeed, research shows bullies feel just fine about themselves; some studies suggest that they have excess self esteem and feel better than others. (Some researchers speculate that this is one of the ways they rationalize their behavior.) This doesn’t always mean that bullies lead a blithely carefree life, however. The Centers for Disease Control has found that bullies are more likely than other students to experience violence at home. 

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