As I have been reading about bullying, I saw a preliminary study that talks about how some bullies may be sleep deprived, either because they are going to bed late, or have a sleep disorder. One thing that rubs me the wrong way with this is that it is almost saying that behavior is excusable because the child was sleep deprived. On the surface, I have a problem with that.
Once again, we are looking for sympathy for the bully. I do realize many children who are bullies probably have great strains in some aspect of their life. However, I do not think it is o.k. to excuse it because they are tired or have a sleep disorder. Nor do I believe that by simply correcting the sleep disorder, the bullying problem will be solved. I would venture to guess there are other life circumstances as well. During the times that my son was being bullied, I can tell you there were nights he was sleep deprived after having a rough day, but the exhaustion did not turn him into a bully.
I have always told my children that when they are tired or not feeling well, they must work even harder to watch what they do. It is during those times that they must think extra hard about their words and actions.
Before I end, I want to say that I do realize that there are disorders that cause people to act in ways that seem irregular to the average person. I have worked with kids with autism and Asperger’s. I do understand that physical difficulties affect personalities in negative ways. That being said, this is once again proof that we must aggressively ask our schools address the bully. They must be looking to get the parents involved in any way they can and work to get the bully help to solve any physical ailments that may need to be addressed, as well as how to be socially appropriate.
This was just a preliminary study on sleep deprivation and bullying. If there is indeed a correlation, think of how many children we could help (both bullies and the bullied) by looking into the life of a bully just a bit deeper. To excuse bullying as a side effect does a huge disservice to all involved.