Understanding the psychology of bullying

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — All types of bullying are unacceptable and experts said it is important to know where it is coming from.

Dr. Gerardo Mireles is a psychologist at Mireles Psychological Health Services in McAllen and said it is important to understand that bullying is not a random act of aggression. 

Instead, it is an ongoing and deliberate use of power with repeated verbal or physical behavior that intends to cause harm. 

Dr. Mireles said some kids seek negative attention because they feel like they are not receiving any from their parents. 

“Sometimes for kids, it’s better to have negative attention than no attention at all,” he said.

According to Dr. Mireles, there are situations where children reflect aggression that is occurring at home.

“Older siblings can also be a cause for the problem so you know if they’re bullied at home which may lead to bullying other kids in school and society,” he said.

According to Dr. Mireles, in some cases, the bully tends to be an adult role model. While bullying is a learned behavior, Dr. Mireles said it can be curbed with a proper support system. 

He said it is important for parents to take bullying seriously but not respond aggressively towards a child. 

Allowing a child to express themselves in a conversation can help understand why the bullying is happening. For most families, learning discipline techniques or participating in social skills programs are ways that can help them have a better relationship with their child. 

However, Dr. Mireles said there are other cases that might need more help.

“When it causes physical harm, when kids are getting in fights regularly, when it causes property damage, even when we start hurting the pets or animals or things like that, we should really reach out to a mental health professional,” he said.

Dr. Mireles said help is out there for those who need it and encourages parents who are concerned to have an open conversation with a school counselor or psychologist.

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