Kids and aggression: Popularity matters
February 8th, 2011
12:00 AM ET

Kids and aggression: Popularity matters

Bullying is all too common, with studies showing as many as 160,000 students skip school every weekday to avoid the torment, the National Education Association has found.

Now there's research suggesting that aggression increases with peer status, meaning popular kids are the ones who are tormenting others. But here's the twist: Those who are most popular, at the top of the social hierarchy, are the least aggressive.

"They have much more to gain by being nice when they’re up at that level than by being cruel," theorized lead author Robert Faris, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis. Alternatively, it could be that the most popular kids are "simply different and incredibly nice people."

The study, appearing in the journal American Sociological Review, also found that kids who are the least popular are also among the least likely to torment others.

Researchers used data from nearly 4,000 ninth- and 10th-graders who participated in The Context of Adolescent Substance Use study, which is a long-term project that surveyed students in three counties in North Carolina in public schools. This new study on popularity and aggression followed the kids for the 2004 to 2005 school year. A limitation is that the authors did not interview the participants to get further context about the students' thoughts and feelings.

The research looked at physical, verbal and indirect aggression, which includes spreading rumors or ostracizing others. Study authors asked participants to name everyone they had been mean to, and everyone who had picked on them. They also had to state the nature of the unkindness, whether it be physical violence or name-calling or gossiping.

It appears that it didn't matter what kind of aggression was involved -  the popular (but not most popular) kids are more likely to be perpetrators, and it gets worse as you climb the social ladder (until you hit the highest rung).

"We can conclude that rates of aggression generally increase as kids gain status," Faris said.

At the core of bullying is a relationship issue, said Michele Borba, author of "The Big Book of Parenting Solutions," who was not involved in the study. Kids are craving to fit in and be included, but don't know how. Those at the second tier of popularity don't have a platform of security, and use bullying as a way of gaining influence.

Researchers do not know whether young people see their aggression as a means to an end, but this is one theory the results support.

Given that the kids who are picking on one another  are getting influence from others, an appropriate intervention would be to focus on the kids who aren't involved in aggressive behavior, Faris said

"If you target the bystanders that might have stronger effects on school climate than focusing on particular bullies and victims," he said.

It's crucial to create a school culture where bullying is not acceptable, Borba agreed.

Promoting that attitude to the bystanders will help undermine the power of the kid trying to be the bully, she said.

soundoff (1,074 Responses)
  1. westcoastkid

    It's called "stepping on the backs of less fortunate to earn greater power and recognition" and it's as old as mankind itself.

    February 8, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Parent

    This is so sad but true, kids need to feel safe reporting problems and schools need to act on them. Our school initiated a program through School Tip Line and it has been very successful. schooltipline.com

    February 8, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rachey

    Naturally, the slowest, heaviest kids who aren't athletic aren't going to get picked for team captain, and I'm not saying they should. Also, I'm not saying force the popular kids to eat lunch with the shy outcasts. We all need to find our place in this world, and sometimes it's harder for some of us than others. But, bullying is not survival of the fittest, it's harrassment and it's a problem that has driven students to suicide. I'm all for consequences and life lessons to shape our characters, but why not teach the class bully that a consequence of harrassing another person is a punishable offence. And, I wonder how many students answered the questions with 100% honesty, especially where physical aggression is concerned.

    February 8, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Chad

    Our culture pretty much glorifies arrogant behavior and the most popular kids are usually on the cutting edge of what's happening. However, we have a hyper sensative culture as well that is only getting worse. Also, has anybody stopped to think maybe popular kids are more likely to bully simply because they know more people? The more people you know the more likely you are to gossip. This doesn't end in high school and I'm not sure I agree that it is bullying.

    February 8, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. kaicheesecake

    DUH. But usually that's the pinnacle of their achievement in life. Everyone knows a former cheerleader/jock/popular kid who is miserable in suburbia as a mid-level nobody amirite?

    February 8, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. WildMontana

    The popular kids doing the bullying....well duh! It was always the jocks and the cheerleaders bullying the nerds, whiz kids and others in marginal groups. But if you go back to any reunion, most of them peaked socially, physically and professionally before 20 and now they're the losers. I got my quiet revenge when I showed up at the 10 year in a sports car. Most of them were on their third or fourth kid and it showed!

    February 8, 2011 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I asked one person who picked on me relentlessly for 4 years why they (there were 3 of them who were them most popular) did it and she said because they wanted to "crack me." They wanted to get me to cry, but I always resisted too much and fought back as best as I could with no help, I might add, from anybody around me. Forced to be in school, carpools, gymnastics, and tennis lessons with them, I was targeted every day and always had to carefully study the situation to determine how best to avoid the next incident. I developed acute observation skills as a result! Note: The article above does not deal with the issue of why these kids did it. I think kids tease others because they need to inflict cruelty on another person. For some reason, they find it intellectually entertaining and "funny" as Slater says above. Why does having fun mean stripping happiness from someone else's life? I don't get it. Strangely, they were not particularly interested in the world around them at the time like I was or taught empathy by their parents, apparently, (wealthy broken homes or mean mothers and fathers) or probably shown it at home. Two of those kids are very successful today because of inherited money or money gained from marrying someone wealthy whereas the other one, whom I mentioned above, became my friend later on and is working hard to become something on her own merits. The other 2 are barely on the Internet – nothing accomplished – nor contacted me to apologize and I still despise them to this day. You should have seen them then: laughing as they caused pain and humiliation. I'm not sure if it was just to me or to other people. Nobody liked them, from what I understand, back then, but nobody stood up against them either. They terrorized the teachers at the school, which was a big problem at the time. To this day, our class has the worst reputation due to these kids and this is many years later now that we're adults in our 40s. They were calculated, mean-spirited, and evil. Maybe they're the same way today, too? Or, maybe they're teaching the same thing to their kids. How can you look at yourself in the mirror, if you remember bullying someone with a twinkle in your eye? You are the root of all problems in the world.

    February 8, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • maria

      Sorry you had to go through what you did! How sick of them to want to see you crack.they sound like some sick humans..I would hate to live inside their dark souls..Good Luck to you and may you be healed of all your pain

      April 17, 2012 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
  8. Smokey's Mom

    I wonder if this study took into account that the "popularity" these bullies enjoy isn't true popularity. It's more about other kids kissing their asses, because they don't want to get beat up.
    Back when I was in school, the most popular kids were the nicest. This study is flawed.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Demara

      This study is not flawed, the popular kids in my school are the meanest and ignore everyone who isn't in their group. I'm sure times have changed... How old are you, anyways?

      February 8, 2011 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
  9. nick

    i skipped school to avoid being bullied by teachers

    February 8, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply

    Everyone who thinks its ok for this behavior to go on is under dumber and over stupid. I was a mean kid who was exposed to a lot of violence. I didn't fight with someone or do mean things for peer acknowledgement. I fought for the underclass, The bullies bully.Because I never needed to be accepted by my peers, who just happen to be mostly losers and idiots trapped in the flesh. Beating up the kids that acted like they were tough, because some little kid was afraid of them was what drove my aggression. What I learned was that the bully doesn't do it for dominance, they don't pick on people who are dominant to climb some primitive social heirarchy, they pick on subordinates, and usually to make their own inferiority lesser in the sight of their friends who are always as stupid as themselves. All that they accomplish is the mental anguish of others who never meant them any harm from day one. When they grow up and reflect their past on occasion, They will regret their actions which were theirs alone and realize just how foolish they really were. And for all the ones that got called out for being that way. At least they know that they actually deserved it. Just between me and you people though. Most of you people still need beat down.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. KC_in_CA

    A research study was needed to find this out? Really? Any child or teacher could have told them this. Kids are mean to other kids to find out what is acceptable to their peers and to gain some power and control in their lives. When their peers don't call them on their cruel behavior (or join in) and when the target of the bullying cringes and cries, they get instant feedback that teaches them that bullying works to increase their own status and power. The only way to stop bullying is to teach kids to NOT be bystanders / helpers. Every kid who sees bullying happening has a choice – be cruel by helping the bullying or at least ignoring it OR put a stop to it. Every kid chooses. Walking away and not getting involved is the same as egging the bully on. Until we teach our kids that simple lesson, and until WE start living it too – kids will keep tormenting other kids.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Steph

    This headline is right up there with "Humans need food and water." I mean, DUH!!!! Of course "popularity matters" in the bullying equation. No new insights here, just wasted space for psychobabble.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mike

    In other shocking news, scientists have observed that the sky is, in fact, blue.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Lefty

    For me, being a target was the most important part of growing up. I grew a thick skin, I learned to give as good as I got and, thanks to my parents, I learned to focus on what's actually going to matter in life. I studied my unpopular butt off and now I'm an electrical engineer and efficiency consultant while the the guys at my reunion are tractor and insurance salesmen. It's already been said, but the most important thing is to help your kids understand that it only gets better in the long run.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. oldzoom

    The jocks, cheerleaders and beautiful people were the main bullies when I was in high school. Like other posters here have stated at their reuions, their mostly losers now(the bullies)and I agree. I was a geek and now I laugh all the way to the bank, while all they have are teenage memories to relive in their current meaningless existances...thank you for not allowing me into your clicks, I studied real hard and applied myself to learning instead of being some druken party animal. Seems that time is the bullies biggest enemy, he who laughs last, laughs best ;-))

    February 8, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SayWhat

      When I was in High School, my favorite TV show was Married With Children, which shows what happens to a popular jock and cheerleader 15 to 20 years after high school was over.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse |
    • ProperVillain

      Agree oldzoom, if find the same thing to hold true. While most of my former tormentors now have meaningless jobs and a mediocre life I get to do art for a living, am married to an amazing and beautiful woman, and have 3 beautiful kids while these jokers are wondering what the hell happened and wishing every day that they could go back to be on top of the heap again...

      February 8, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
  16. Moodyme

    Anyone who has ever been bullied could have told you this. The popular kids do it to puff themselves up, and because they can get away with it. It implies some deeply ingrained insecurity on their part, but that doesn't make the bullied kid (or adult) feel any better about it.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. ana

    this is a lie the most popular kids are the bullies believe me i know this is stupid

    February 8, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. LaRofromNorthAL

    I'm guessing that the folks who did this study or thought it would be groundbreaking were homeschooled. Anybody who's gone to a school with enough students to form cliques knows that it's the popular kids who are most often the bullies. Heck, that's how they become popular – by having others scramble to do their bidding ! Mean Girls, anyone ???

    February 8, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Andre

    Disclaimer: I've been on the wrong end of bullying for the better part of middle and high school...

    Bullying sucks, but it sucks ten time worse when the adults in the kid's life fail to teach the kid how to deal with the situation properly. Sadly, I only learned all of those lessons in mid-20s when it was far too late for me to go back and revisit the situation.

    Size and strength isn't everything – what matters the most is having the smarts to come up with a plan and having the heart to follow through with it.

    If you're a nerd and some piece of garbage is bullying you, odds are there are many others who'd love nothing more than to see the above piece of garbage get some payback. Time to start making friends.

    Likewise, it may be suicide for a 120lbs kid to go toe-to-toe against a 250lbs football player, but if the kid brings a few friends each of whom carry a lock in a sock, the odds of winning improve considerably.

    I could go on, and on. Trouble is, far too many parents insist on having their kids just take the abuse instead of fighting back.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cavtrooper

      a lock in the sock can make that an even match, especially with speed and surprise. The start making friends is a big plus

      February 8, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  20. Fig1024

    well I was bullied in school, and as far as I could tell, it wasn't done to increase popularity. It was done simply for fun, they genuinely enjoy tormenting others. That's all it is, pleasure seeking at other's expense.

    February 8, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Katie

    This isn't news. Anyone ever bullied knows this. The more popular, the worse it is, and the less the chance of getting any help for it. Both my kids were bullied from time to time, in middle school. We received from administration and teachers (when we complained) disbelief, laughter, the need for "victim counseling" for my sons (but no "bully counseling" for the bullies) and one memorable time, scorn for being "jealous" of the popular jocks perpetrating the behavior. One of the bullies was the son of the school counselor, whom the school nurse told me had "impulse problems" and asked me not to rock the boat about it. Only when I threatened to go to the police for a restraining order did someone take the bullying seriously. One of my neighbors pulled her kid out of the school and sued the school for tuition to a private school. The school board paid it, rather than face the bully issue.

    February 8, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. sweetrevenge

    I have one character (male) in particular who was especially cruel and hurtful to me in high school. 20 years later I noticed he got a supervisory position where I worked. He knew and remembered me, and I of course remembered him. He is now clearly uncomfortable around me and we both know why. Works for me.

    February 8, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Steph

    I was bullied from about fifth through tenth grade, and it wasn't by the "popular kids." The girls that bullied me were primarily what we called "burn-outs." Almost every day, I got physically threatened and had rumors spread about me. Although most would have said I was a very pretty girl, I was also fairly reserved and shy. I wouldn't stand up for myself and was terrified to go to school. Other kids didn't want to hang out with me after a while because they didn't want to get picked on either. I didn't have a big enough group of friends to defend me. My mother told me to ignore them and my father told me to break their noses. I couldn't do either. The school chose to look the other way, but I was afraid to speak up for myself. I'm thankful that most schools now have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. No child should have to endure the type of abuse that was put onto me. It's unacceptable to say, "Kids will be kids" and it gives parents a lame excuse to let their children get away with bad behavior. My nine-year-old son complains occasionally of being bullied, but I have a feeling he does his fair share of it too. I constantly encourage him to be empathic toward others and I hope he will become a compassionate adult. There is a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. Ultimately, it's the parent's role to teach their children this difference.

    February 8, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. sweetrevenge

    I guess the best thing to come out of years of bullying is that if it doesn't turn one into a monster who is mad at the world and gets a gun to settle the score its that we can come out of it as compassionate caring people who can successfully pass it on to their children. I see this kindness in my son and can only hope it continues. But don't expect me to thank the a____ole who gave me all those sleepless nights fearing to go to school. Unfortunately that will be with me a lifetime.

    February 8, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Todd

    There is no solution to bullying. Parents don't know what do do. They are hardly aware it's going on until it's too late. Schools don't know what to do. A lot of kids are just plain mean. They take great pleasure in hurting others. I used to say that the only way to stop a bully was to blacken his eye. That will make him think twice. I had to change that opinion. If you blacken the bully's eye today, he gets four or five of his friends and stomps you until you are dead or have perminant brain damage.

    February 8, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andre

      A pepper spray or a jar of hydrochloric acid would come in handy in case you are alone and confronted by a group that has harmful intent. Having other friends who would mess up the other guy ten times over if something happened to any one of you is also an excellent deterrent. Sadly, too many kids don't have the benefit of parents who would give them the skills and the mindset to win rather than give up and run away.

      February 8, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • cavtrooper

      That's why you need friends . Best way to deal with a bully is to get friends or at least allies. Then mom and dad hit the bully with police and lawyers, sue the district and bully's parents, have the bully arrested if there is enough to charge him/her with something. Immediately get a restraining order, it may not stop the bully but if bolster the self defense case later on.

      The legal rout is a good way to get verbal only bullies if telling the to f%$k themselves doesn't get them to back off.

      If you cannot avoid the physical confrontation, make the cost shockingly high they don't want to come back for more. That restraining order become the get out of jail card. If you are forced to fight back you have to do more that give the bully black eye,you need to gouge the eye out . Bullies attack in packs both for verbal and physical attacks, no sense in holding back holding back.

      Street gangs are different beast for different discussion.

      I was Bullied. It stopped once beat one kid up in a fit of rage and stabbed another with a pencil. Teachers saw me tormented for years, they figured bullies had it coming and turned blind eye.

      February 8, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  26. DEA

    I hope to raise a bully some day, they are the ones who get ahead in life.

    February 8, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DEA

    A bully cannot make you a victim, only you can make you a victim. Stand up for yourselves at all cost.

    February 8, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply

    Bring back physical PUNISHMENT. Age is not a excuse to be above the LAW. and most kid who bully need a dose of their own medicine. It must HURT as it is the >>ONLY<< thos future hard CRIMINAL will understand. it does not matter if your 12 or 17, extreml corporel punishment is the ONLY effective PUNISHMENT.

    February 8, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Alia

    For those people arguing that bullying is a-ok, just the way things are, suck it up wimps, I dont want to hear any crying when you popular bully child gets shot and killed by some unpopular weird kid that everyone ignores or makes fun of who comes to school and shoots the place up. I dont want to hear any whining about "how can this happen?" Because we know how "this" can happen. You back an animal into a corner and torment it, over and over, and one day, the animal just snaps and goes buck wild on its tormenters. Its just nature, right? Survival of the most aggressive.

    February 8, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Mobster

    Everyone at my school knows not to bully me because this eight grader tried to billy me and i let him know that i wasnt going to take any of that with my fists

    February 8, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. mkass

    Mean kids behave that way because no one ever took the time or care to teach them better. Some grow up thinking they are superior in some undefined way. I lay this at the feet of parents, but without blame. The real issue is that there has been little attention paid for past number of decades, say ten or so, to the value of human interaction as opposed to technology and production. The result has been a steady degradation of the morals of society. The solution is to teach this again. Sounds like a lot of heavy lifting, but it isn't. It can start simply teaching kids to make good choices in their lives, on their own. And, this includes how to treat and interact with others. Here's a starting point: http://goodchoicesprogram.org

    February 8, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Pat

    Bullies seem to come from a variety of places: Popularity contests, parents who themselves bully or loudly ridicule their kids and/or others, kids who wear two faces (the obedient one to Mom and Dad and the nasty one to their choosen victims at school, and kids who take advantage of the fact that Mom and Pop have a lot of clout on the schoolboard and/or are generous financial donators to the school. And then there's the worst of them all, the psychopathic kids who are literally born without a conscience and whose viciousness knows no bounds as they get older. If there's anything to be done about protecting children against the ones who go after them for whatever reason, it's the parents telling their kids about their own childhood expereinces with bullies and educating the kids, before they start school, about bullies. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in this case I think it's advice that can truly work.

    February 8, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Bryan

    How could this be a surprise to anyone? This is EXACTLY how monkey and ape troops act. The alphas are mellow. The betas are in-group aggressive and bully the gammas through omegas. This is because the alphas are on top. They are confident. The betas, on the other hand, want the usually unattainable alpha spots, so they try to deny other betas and lower-status monkeys/apes comfort and status. The vast majority of humans are no better than any other pack mammal. I would say that a large number of them are actually worse, since humans, at least in theory, are able to "think" and overcome these atavistic instinctive responses. However, most humans refuse to think and prefer to live their lives like chattering little monkeys, devoid of any and all real humanity.

    February 8, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. FüdgeMonkey

    It's always been this way, true. I have a 14 yr old daughter who is in a gifted program, and her and her friends get picked on for being smart.
    When I was 14, someone was bullying me, so I freaked out and broke his jaw...no more bullying, so Alia is right. I got suspended from school, that was back in the 80's. If that happened today...I would be expelled.

    February 8, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Alex

    This study is really true. Althogh i do agree that the most popular kid in the popular group doesn't torment people but, they do do it sometimes or just behind backs and closed walls. All in all, POPULAR KIDS NEED TO GET A REAL LIFE OTHER THAN THE CRAP THEY LEARNED ABOUT WHEN THEY ARE BEING RAISED.

    February 8, 2011 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. maggie

    Most 'popular' kids (in school) are savvy at ganging up on people but lack the intelligence and creativity to do something truly extraordinary with their lives. The causes may be diverse and layered, but it was my experience that the most intelligent, talented and thoughtful kids (were also often the bullied) and usually excelled well beyond the bullies later in life. These people are not all the bullied–of course, but I think it's worth noting.

    February 8, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ms.keepitreal

    kids arent lab rats you cant just test them then right a article about them.
    every kid is different, you can make assumptions but then that makes an ASS out of U and ME(assume)
    this article has never come to see my school they dont know what a kid really thinks what they think about waht they go through so they need to study on how theyre gonna help haiti and fix the economy.

    February 8, 2011 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Kaaat

    I'm a middle schooler and it seems to me that adults don't really understand that bullying is complicated and quite often bully's are just trying to be funny. Most bully's are looked down upon by other students because they are disruptive and aren't really funny. Most of the rest of bullying can be easily stopped by the victim ignoring it. There are some serious cases of bullying where adult intervention is needed but these are actually few and far between at least at my school.

    February 8, 2011 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. JCizzle

    These kids just need to be taken out back and given an old fashioned a$$-beating, off the books.

    February 9, 2011 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kristy

    I'm a bully (: when im angery i take it out on everyone!!!!! and i love to hit people, hitting people is my passion. i laugh at them when they cry. everyone in this world deserves the worst stuff they recieve. america sucks!!!!!!

    February 9, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Kristy

    My cousin took my computer thinking it would be funny to say something so rediculous! so i reported it as abuse to try and get rid or it. i believe bullying is horrible. I get bullied sometimes because I move alot and i'm always the new kid. I try to hide how hurt i am but it hurts me so bad to get picked on and made fun of. and these bullies come up with the most obnoxious lies and rumors about me when nothing they say are true. I hope something can change bullying!!!

    February 9, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Angela

    I was bullied some in middle school and the first part of my freshman year of high school. I tried to ignore it and pretend it didn't matter, so the bullies just got louder and in my face. Then one day in high school, my most annoying and persistent tormentor was picking on me at lunch in front of everyone. I snapped. I looked him up and down disdainfully and then loudly announced, "You know, X, one day I might lose the weight, but you'll always be stupid and ugly. There's no cure for stupid." I smiled sweetly and stalked away, and I was never bullied after that.

    Instead, I tried to be nice and friendly to everyone regardless of whether they were popular or not. I even tried to be nice to the people who had bullied me previously or who had stood by and watched while the bullies taunted me. I was also one of the smart kids, and I was happy to help others with homework if I could. I didn't have just one group of friends, but friends from all the cliques. I wasn't in the top tier of the popular kids, but because I was nice to everyone, I was friends with the popular kids. I was chosen as the "Best Friend" my senior year simply because I tried to be nice to everyone. There are lots of notes in my year book from people thanking me for specific times I helped them or for being nice. My husband also met a guy who was from my hometown. As they chatted, my husband mentioned that I was also from that town and did he know me? This guy lit up and said that he did indeed know me and that I was the only person in school who was ever nice to him. The funny thing is that I really don't remember this guy or many of the kids who wrote such nice notes in my yearbook. My husband's new friend knew way too much about me to not actually know me (where I lived as a little kid, my dog's name, etc) but I honestly cannot remember him. I was just nice to everyone and apparently it was a big deal to this guy. (I haven't told him that I don't remember him since I don't want to hurt his feelings, but my husband finds it incredibly amusing.)

    Now, a decade since I graduated from high school, I have a number of degrees and am lucky enough to be very successful in a job that I love. When I'm back in my hometown, I'll sometimes run into the kids who bullied me and I do have a little bitter and sadistic streak that makes me just a tiny bit happy that most of them are in dead-end jobs. My arch-nemesis works in food service now, and I'm always very nice when I ask him for my drink refill but it does make me feel a tiny bit vindicated that his bullying behavior did not end well for him.

    So to any kids who are being bullied now: hold your head up high and keep in mind that high school only lasts for 4 years. Once you finish high school, you can go away to college or to find a job and you'll never have to deal with all of these jerks again. Just focus on doing the best that you can in school so you'll have options upon graduation. I know it seems trite, but truly, "this, too, shall pass".

    February 9, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SleeplessinNY

      What a great reply and tis true. I only worry about those that cannot muster up the strength to put up with the crap on a daily basis. What a sad state that kids have to worry about this crap rather than studying and doing well.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
  43. grhaen

    IINTERESTING! !!!!!!!I have lived in 3 contries and I have not seen a nation where kids are similar to those ones in USA when it comes to bullying. IM SURE the extreme bullying is a kind of youth – american way of behavior. you always hear on those discussions " kids are gonna be kids, it's normal"...But guess what my friends: kids are gonna be kids "like that" only in US. Why? I dont know. ask the parents. I studied in Brazil, France and Portugal> I have not seen critical problems in schools... way different from american culture.

    February 9, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Dinheiro Fácil

    Oi fascinante este blogue parece bem estruturado.........boa:)
    Adorei faz mais posts assim !!

    February 22, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Concerned Parent

    My college student was involved in a bullying incident that resulted in physical and personal property damages. My daughter (weighing approx 109 lbs) was attached by three students (total weight of over 300 lbs). This took place in a off-campus apartment. Based on the response from local authorities including the police department, magistrates office etc, I am beginning to understand why some victims feel a sense of hopelessness and deem it necessary to end their lives.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. bernie schein

    It's not that bullying is inhuman, it's that it's all too human. Everyone, at one time or another, has been picked on and bullied and has bullied and picked on others, even if only themselves. This just underscores the seriousness of the problem. Few bloggers here admit to bullying, which they did because they were victims, but if they were to admit to it, they would understand the fear and insecurity behind it, and believe me–I taught middle school for over 40 years and have written and spoken about this everywhere I could–that understanding would empower them. I've seen it in workshops a thousand times.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
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