Most Likely Targets
Any child could be the target of a bully, but research shows there are certain qualities and characteristics that increase a child's chances of becoming a victim. In the past, researchers thought that kids were picked on for mainly physical abnormalities such as being overweight, wearing glasses, or being exceptionally smart.
Though some children with these characteristics will be bullied, the majority are not. Researchers now know that the traits that make a child more likely to be bullied center on his emotional and social vulnerabilities, not his physical attributes.
The good news is that you and your child can do many things to improve his confidence and social skills. There are exercises and activities that can increase your child's self-esteem and self-control. Later in the book, you will learn specifics on how to bully proof your child, and be provided with strategies for teaching your child social and assertiveness skills.
Things like being cautious, sensitive, or socially isolated can up your child's chances of being bullied. Lacking appropriate social boundaries, being emotionally oversensitive, radiating low self-confidence, refusing to defend oneself, not having a good sense of humor, being uncomfortable in group settings, behaving in a submissive manner, and preferring to be alone can all catch the attention of the schoolyard bully. The bully is looking for a passive, easy target and those kids who fit the vulnerable profile will be the first to be picked on.