1. Justifies violent behavior
A child who bullies is more likely to have positive views towards violence, according to Ellis. Emotions can quickly escalate and sometimes children don’t cope with them well. A child with a tendency to bully may feel justified in talking down to or physically hurting someone else.
2. Lacks empathy towards others
A bullying child may show little sympathy towards others who are bullied and in general fail to recognize the gravity of his or her actions. “A lack of understanding of how others feel is common,” according to Hertzog. “We often hear kids who had bullied say ‘I never realized the impact [the bullying] had on the other person.'”
3. Acts aggressively
Children who bully tend to be aggressive towards their peers. If a child displays aggression towards siblings, he or she may also be showing that aggression towards other children. But they can be violent towardst people who are older than them as well. They are often hostile towards parents, teachers, and other adults, Ellis said.
4. Wants control
Kids start to test their power when they are infants — it’s an innate need. How they handle the loss of control and power can have an influence on bullying. A common trait among children who exhibit bullying behavior is wanting to be in control of a situation, Hertzog said. They feel a need to be in charge and to dominate others.
5. Gets easily frustrated
Another common characteristic among children who bully is being hot tempered or impulsive, Ellis said. They may become easily frustrated, too, he noted. The line between these traits, especially when a child is somehow provokes, and bullying can be very thin.