Why Do Bullys Bully? Could They Simply Want Love, Attention, Power?

Bully Bean_pg1When bullying affects your child

When your child comes home from school in tears because another child was mean to her, the first thing you probably feel is anger and a need for retaliation to make the bullying stop. After reflection, a call to the school or a teacher might be a better option.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could determine the reason why a bully is a bully?  Would you have a better chance of stopping the behavior?

The definition of a bully

Bullying can be defined in many ways.  One way that is pretty well universally understood is that bullying is …“purposeful attempts to control another person through verbal abuse – which can be in tone of voice or in content such as teasing or threats – exclusion, or physical bullying or violence.” (bullyingstatistics.org)

In our Lima Bear story, Bully Bean, the character Bully Bean, that Mean ‘ole Bean, finds himself in trouble and need of help.  We do not know Bully Bean’s backstory or why he feels the need to bully, but Lima Bear’s kindness to him when he is in mortal danger turns Bully Bean around.  Kindness was shown to Bully Bean and he no longer was a bully but a helper.

The reasons why a bully is a bully are unclear but we have a few ideas of the causes.

Some experts believe that a bully has low self-esteem and is in need of love himself.  Accordingly, it would make sense that “children who experience social rejection themselves are more likely to “pass it on” to others. Children who experience academic failure are also more likely to bully others.”  (bullying statistics.org)

A Webmd.com article entitled, What Motivates Kids Who Are BulliesBully Bean_pg19, that cites a Netherland’s 2010 study, suggests that bullies have fine social skills and high esteem but wish to please the popular kids in school by belittling those they deem undesirable. In other words, bullies are looking for attention and to be noticed.

Here are some interesting views from a few experts on this theory:

“Bullies aren’t looking to be loved, but they are looking to be noticed,” says study researcher Rene Veenstra, PhD, who is a professor of sociology at Holland’s University of Groningen. “They are often perceived as very popular.” 

University of Wisconsin professor of educational psychology Amy Bellmore, PhD, in the same Webmd.com article says that this research “flies in the face of the generally held idea that kids who pick on other kids have poor social skills and low self-esteem,” she says. Even at this young age, bullies tend to be aware of the social hierarchy within the class and are seeking the admiration of specific people.”

Sandra Graham, PhD, who is a professor of psychological studies at University of California, Los Angeles, says the recognition that bullies are often popular should have an impact on interventions aimed at reducing bullying. The thought had been that if we made bullies feel better about themselves they wouldn’t pick on other kids,” she says. “But there is not much evidence that bullies suffer from low self-esteem.”

 A bully can have great self-esteem or bad self-esteem and still need love

It might seem confusing a first glance to learn that all bullies are not always the social outcast, low self-esteem kids we once though they were. Maybe it is not so confusing after all. Maybe we simply need to ask a new question. Specifically, what does the outcast and the popular kids have in common that make them feel the need to pick on another kid?  The answer most probably includes a lack of attention (at home or school) or lack of love and probably a need for power at any cost. Most likely, too, is an undeniable lack of conscience or ability to discern right from wrong.

What is very interesting is that the most successful bully prevention interventions, according to the Netherlands study cited above, in affecting a bully’s behavior are the programs that help bullies deal with their anger. Also, the programs that are directed to the classroom as a whole instead of focused on the bully or the victim specifically were found to be the best behavior changers. When the reason of  bully’s brutish behavior is exposed through such programs,  he can recognize it, cope and change the behavior.  LifeScience.com reveals that bullies do want to change their behavior. Those interviewed revealed they had a low opinion of themselves.   In Bully Bean, Bully Bean’s behavior was changed when his perception changed because he was showed kindness. Perhaps all bullies have a desire to change their behavior if only to improve their own view of themselves.

What has been your experience with bullies.  Do you think they bully because the lack self-esteem or love?



Something That Makes You Different Can Be A Good Thing | Help Your Child To Embrace What Makes HIm Different

Page7_Back BackKids do not want to be different 

The last thing a kid wants to be is different.  To be different means attention and it is not always good attention.  You could be a different in a whole lot ways.  You could have a lisp, like Cindy Brady had.  You could be the last one picked for the sports team.  You could always get the lowest grade in the class or the highest grade for that matter.  You could stay back a year instead of moving forward with your classmates or you could be asked to skip a grade.  Whatever the difference, we are programmed to believe that different is bad.  Wouldn’t it be great to convince our kids and for them to actually believe that different is good?

How a difference can be a good thing

In the Lima Bear Press series book, How Back-Back Got His Name, one of Lima Bear’s friends, Plumpton, has an emergency and sends for Lima Bear for help.  Plumpton is an opossum, you see, and somehow his back was missing.  When all his buddies come to his aid to help him find his back, they all find themselves in danger from the kids playing in the Big Meadow.  Plumton must use his special skill, his difference of playing dead, to get past the kids and save his friends.  Plumpton’s difference is what enables him to save his friends!

Reading a story like How Back-Back Got His Name with your child is a great way to illustrate how a difference can be an advantage, something can be embraced, even valued!  Share what made you different when you were a kid.

Reading Interactively With Your Child by Isolating Specific Words in the Story

Labyrinth_front coverWe have suggested ways for you to read interactively with your child: Here are a few more ideas.  Have you ever noticed when reading a Lima Bear Story, like The Labyrinth, that certain words are written in a different way from the rest of the words? The reason for this is to draw attention to the word, usually a more challenging word, so that the child will notice it and ask about it.  You can use these special words as an opportunity to “extend the learning.”

**First read the book all the way through with your child

**Go through the book again but this time, have your child point out the words that different from the rest.

**Ask your child to identify how the word is different:

**Is the word bigger or smaller?

**Is it a different color?

**Ask your child to guess why she thinks the word is different

** Have your child say the special words in the story in the way he thinks the author intended for them to be read.

**Talk about how the words could be said differently to express different emotions

**Ask your child to try come up with different word that could be used that would have a similar meaning

In The Labyrinth, some of the special words are “cheered,” “twists and turns,” and “glowed.” You can see what we mean by “special words” from this small sample. They are bit more descriptive, a bit more challenging, a bit more cool.  Please share any ways that you have discovered to “extend the learning” as you read interactively with your child!




Encourage Your Children to Act With Courage Through The Use of Children’s Books

Cave Monster_front coverCan an illustrated children’s book help you to encourage your child to be courageous?

We think so.  That is one of the reasons that we wrote and continue to write the Lima Bear Series.  You see, Lima Bear, one of our major characters, is a very brave bean…smart, too.  His adventures are always exciting but they also exhibit Lima Bear’s bravery in tough situations.  Take, for example, Lima Bear’s action in the Lima Bear Series book, The Cave Monster.

In The Cave Monster story, Lima Bear comfortably waits in his home for his cousin, L. Joe Bean to visit.  He learns from his friends Whistle-Toe, Maskamal, and Back-Back that L. Joe Bean has been captured by the cave monster.  All the friends are scared.  They don’t WANT to go to the cave where the cave monster is keeping L. Joe Bean but they must go.  We learn that courage is not always a comfortable feeling and that courageous people are fearful but they do not let that fear keep them from action.

Unknown-1…”children like books about values and ethical dilemmas…these questions are at the heart of what makes life meaningful” 

In a post titled, How to Raise a Child of Character, Dr. Laura Markham, of ahaparenting.com  believes that books can help you encourage your child to act with courage. She says in this article, “Most young children like books that talk about values and ethical dilemmas. That’s because these questions are at the heart of what makes life meaningful, which is a primary question for children beginning at about the same age — the preschool years.

“at the heart of what makes life meaningful”-  What a lovely sentiment that is. We agree.

How to start a conversation about courage using a children book such as The Cave Monster

Books like The Cave Monster give parents the perfect vehicle to start a conversation about a subject children desire to discuss.  In The Cave Monster specifically, a way to begin the conversation about courage could start with first reading the book with your child.  After reading the book you could sit with your child and (using the ideas from “extend the learning” pages found in the back of each Lima Bear Series book) you could ask the following questions:

**What do you see when I say the word “monster”?

**How does the author let you know that the characters are afraid of the Cave Monster?

**Would you be afraid of the Cave Monster?  Why or why not?

**Have you ever been afraid?  How did you handle that feeling?

Reading a children’s book and starting a conversation about courage could be an important step in imparting your values to your children and fostering great habits in your child.  Have you had a similar experience with your child?  Are any of the books you like to read together good to promote courageous behavior?

What Can You Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied | Could a Brady Bunch Episode Hold Some Answers

Buddy Hinton in the Brady Bunch Bully episode

Bullying was even covered on the Brady Bunch

It is one thing to determine that your child is being bullied. it is another thing to know what to do about it so that you can help.  Although your inclination might be to confront the bully or the bully’s parents (who can forget the Brady Bunch “bully episode” when Buddy Hinton was teasing little Cindy…”Baby talk baby talk, it’s a wonder you can walk.” ) help might best come in another form.

What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied

We can look to Dr. Borba again for some advice for what to do if you suspect your child is being bullied. Dr. Borba has a more comprehensive list at the link but some of our favorite tips include the following:

** Ask direct questions of your child.

For example, if your child comes home with a torn jacket, ask specifically how the jacket was torn.  Watch carefully for your child’s body language as he answers this question. If your child is losing weight, ask him if he is eating the lunch that he brought to school or if something was amiss with his school lunch account. Make sure you get an answer.

** Get the school’s bullying policy from their website online.

Thankfully schools are more aware of bullying and have policies in place to thwart it.

** Listen to your child’s friends for information

It is fascinating what a parent can find out when driving kids.  For some reason, kids think that the parent driving the car has lost his hearing!  You can glean information this way or simply ask the friend if anything is going on at school.

** Talk to the parents of your child’s friends

If you can not get information from your child’s friend, a friend’s parent might have heard something that would be useful.

** Ask your child which teacher or counselor at school they trust at school.  Contact that person for advice.

** Most importantly, seek the help of a health care professional to help your child and come up with a plan to address it with the administration at your child’s school.  Start with your pediatrician’s recommendations.

Brady Bunch bully episode has a lesson similar to Bully Bean

Cindy and Peter in the Buddy Hinton Bully EpisodeeIn the Brady Bunch bullying episode, Cindy’s brother Peter defends Cindy against Buddy, the bully, and gets himself a black eye.  Peter’s father, Mike, says for Peter to reason with the bully, first, and then it is ok to defend himself as a last resort.  Today, the advice would most likely be to let the school handle it before it becomes physical.  Nonetheless, at the next confrontation, Peter is forced to defend himself and lands a right hook on Buddy’s jaw.  The punch gives Buddy a lisp of his own..the exact same quirk that Buddy used to tease Cindy.  When Cindy, who was watching the fight, starts to then tease Buddy, Peter quickly scolds her and the group gathered to watch ‘the fight.”  It is never ok to tease.

Page1_Bully BeanSurprisingly, Buddy ends up at the Brady residence  to apologize to Peter and Cindy and to ask Cindy if he can borrow her tongue twister books to help with his new lisp.  I am reminded of Bully Bean who after mercilessly torturing Lima Bear, needs Lima Bear’s help when he gets stuck.  Just like Cindy, Lima Bear is there to help the bully and is bullied no more.


Can You Recognize the Signs of Childhood Bullying?

Bully Bean_front coverNo One Likes a Bully

No one likes a bully,  least of all a child who may not know how to handle such mean behavior. It is important for parents to recognize the signs of bullying reflected in your child’s behavior so you can help them to do something about it. In the Lima Bear Book, Bully Bean, the bullying behavior is easy to spot.  Poor Lima Bear is tossed into a hole that he was too small to crawl out of himself. As if that were not enough, he was also pushed into a mud puddle.  Lima Bear has an opportunity to deal with the bullying by showing kidness when the bully of all bullies, Bully Bean, gets trapped.  Not all children have such an opportunity to turn the tables on the situation and they may need a little help to cope.

Recognizing the signs of bullying

Dr Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, says “… bullying is starting at younger ages and may be more intense.” Also that, “…our children don’t always tell us that they have been bullied.” This means parents have to be more vigilant than even when assessing changes in our children and watchful for signs of bullying.  Dr. Borba outlines 19 signs that your child may be being bullied.  Here are just a few from her list.

Does your child:

…have a marked change in their personality?

…suddenly NOT want to go to school?

…have a change in eating habits? either too much or too little?

…have a drop in grades?

or do YOU feel in your gut that something is just not right with your child?

Any of these changes in your child could signal that your child is being bullied.   In our next post we will examine the steps parents can take if they suspect bullying.  Hang in there.  There are ways you can help.


Author Tom Weck Reveals Secrets of The Lima Bear Children’s Books in Latest Interview

1_Joe L. Bean_Welcome_150_copyIf there is one thing that we here at Lima Bear press have heard over and over again, it is that kids love to have the Lima Bear Books read to them over and over and over again.  Recently, the  author of the Lima Bear Series, Tom Weck, was interviewed by Rachel Koestler-Grack of Story Monster’s Ink.  In the interview Tom revealed a few secrets about those exciting beans from Beandom and how the Lima Bear Books have come to be.

Secret #1: Why bean-sized bears in Beandom?


When children come into the world, they come into a world that’s sized wrong, it’s sized for adults. Due to their small size, the Lima Bears encounter many of the same obstacles children face, living in an oversized world.

Secret #2: What are the two strict criteria that each Lima Bear Story must have?


The story must be well written and expand a child’s mind in both knowledge and vocabulary. Tom says, “I think young minds are under- estimated in terms of how much they can absorb.”

Secret #3:  What is the author’s favorite child’s reaction to each Lima Bear Book?



Thomas loves to laugh, and all of his stories trigger sidesplitting laughter from children and parents alike. In fact, if the story doesn’t incite an up- roar of hilarity, it won’t go to print.

You can read Tom Weck’s entire interview with Rachel Koestler-Grack at Story Monsters Ink’s December issue.  Tom’s interview starts on page 12.

A New Childrens E-digest, StoryMonstersInk: Great Information For Great Kids Books for Parents, Educators and Kids Alike

storymonstersinkTom Weck, co-author of the Lima Bear Series was interviewed by Story Monsters Ink, for their December edition.  Story Monsters Ink is a free, subscription-based e-digest (magazine, really) that provides parents, teachers, and children with the latest news on book releases, book events, and author profiles. The magazine features reviews by children on children’s books (how cool is that?) and offers regular features including “Conrad’s Corner” (science stuff that kids and parents can both understand) as well as monthly picks of “Monster Approved” books.  It is super colorful, informative and fun.

Tom was excited to be interviewed for the magazine and revealed the backstory of how the Lima Bear Series came to be, how his past of storytelling to his own siblings and then to his own children inspired the series and how his Peace Corp experience helped him develop the rhyming sequences that are a mainstay of each of the Lima Bear Books.  Tom describes the collaboration with his son Peter to bring the tales to life (and publication).  You can read the entire article at the StoryMonstersInk website.  Tom’s interview begins on page 12.

More on Tom’s interview next…




*Contest Closed* The Labyrinth Giveaway Contest | Two Winners to Receive Free Book | US & Canada Only

2_Princess Belinda

*Contest Closed* Sign up for our Lima Bear Press newsletter for your chance to win a free copy of a Lima Bear Book!

To celebrate our new website and and a terrific new review of The Labyrinth by MotherDaughterBookReviews.com , we are offering a free copy of the book to the first two commenters who answer the following question correctly on this blog post: (US and Canada ONLY)

Read the review at MotherDaughterBookReviews.com and answer the following question:

The author of the review mentions that she thinks that when L. Joe Bean, the story’s hero, cuts an “L” into the chariot and shirt of Mean ‘ol Bean that the author may have been giving a nod to what famous movie?

We will ship the first two correct commenters a copy of The Labyrinth…makes a great Christmas present for the child on your list!

Good Luck!

Again, What famous Movie does the author of the review refer to?