Whoever said boys don’t bully other boys to impress girls lied. Little boys would do just about anything if it means getting a laugh or a look from a girl they like. I know first hand because I experienced this my fourth grade year of school. Unfortunately, my fourth grade year I became the thing which the bully used to get a look or a laugh from the girls in the class. It was horrible I know, but it was fourth grade, and kids can be so cruel. Especially, little girls who thought it was funny to see a little boy in pain and agony on a daily basis.
I remember being a scrawny little runt who just so happened to be smart in a neighborhood (Fairhill, North Philadelphia) where being scrawny, and being smart never mixed well. Kids who were smart in those days usually had to hide it because of fear of being harassed for it. I know it doesn’t make sense. Now I was usually top two in the class spelling bees and math bees, which made me “not so bully friendly.” The reason being that I was smart, and being smart impressed the teacher, which would then impressed the girls but because I was scrawny the bully would try to make his plea with the girls by trying to prove that being stronger was a more suitable trait (motivation). This simply meant a lot of pain for me.
Now someone might argue that what the bully was expressing was a primal instinct. (You know how they say survival of the fittest or the dominant male thing.) I would add that it was a sort of beginning stage of the Pecking order. I believe that bullies are extremely smart individuals who understand and express early on our human desire for a Pecking order. The bully in my fourth grade class was often successful at bullying without being caught. Now why was that? Was it because the adults were not paying attention? No, simply stated my fourth grade bully possessed a high level of intelligence, primarily awareness. The notion that bullies are not intelligent individuals is simply not true. Concerning accomplishing his task the kid who bullied me practiced what I call “L. A. I. M.“, pronounced LAME.
The “L” is for Location: In order for any bully to be successful they first have to have the right location. The majority of bullies understand that what they are doing is wrong, and so the right location is a low-key spot. By low-key I mean low supervision, no adults. The location for a bully is a place that is preferably predictable for them. Usually, somewhere easy, and not somewhere where they have to work too much. For example a busy hallway is always busy so that makes it predictable if you want to hide in it you can. You don’t have to work hard to walk by someone. The lunchroom is predictable. The way it is set up; the amount of adults in it or the lack there of. The boys locker room will only have boys, and vice versa with the girls locker room. Social media is the perfect low-key spot. (Low adult supervision.)
The “A” is for Accessibility: Bullies need their targets to be accessible. The bully needs to be able to get to his target. So along with the right location, in a busy hallway a bully could get away with a punch or saying something hurtful in passing. A boy’s or girl’s locker room, where there are only boys or girls and rarely any adults, is a place a bully could have access to his target. Social media is again another prime example for accessibility. Bullies could say all kinds of hurtful and mean things, and because of the location they could get away with it. There are no boundaries to social medial. So again accessibility.
The “I” is for Isolation: (Isolation may go hand in hand with accessibility). Sometimes just accessing the target isn’t enough the bully needs to be able to isolate his target. Often the target may already be isolated. An example would be the bathroom or the stairwell. Isolation doesn’t necessarily mean being isolated, and alone. This may be in a crowd of people in the hallway. As the bully walks by the crowd, possibly unnoticed, he isolates his target and goes to work. Ironically, because of the cruelty of children, the crowd of children can actually help the bully in isolating his target for him by cornering him. The crowd of children can also help the bully by cheering him or her on as he or she goes to work. (By going to work I mean bullying). This was the case for me in the lunchroom as a kid.
The “M” is for Motivation: A bully is a motivated individual. A motivated individual is always willing to go above and beyond to accomplish the task at hand. The greatest enemies for any bully is being caught or found out. Put into other words, being brought into the light. So they will try their best to stay out of the light. Their main weapons, which are extremely effective, are fear and intimidation. These individuals are experts, highly in tuned with what they do, and how they go about doing it.
The notion that bullies are not intelligent individuals is not true. “L. A. I. M.“ though simple is an easy tool that can help you possibly think like a bully. A bully’s primary goal is to do what they hope to do without being caught, and they bank on not being caught. They actually plan on not being caught. As adults we need to understand this, and think about this. We also need to plan through this. I believe with a little work we can better prepare our children. Remember Bullies are highly intelligent!