Bullying can happen to almost any child. Much of the time, it’s just a way for the bully to reach out and try to control their own life. They may feel that they have no influence or no voice otherwise, or they may seek to make themselves look and feel better by putting others down. It’s about the hierarchy more than the individual targets for the bully.

That said, there are certain types of children who may face greater levels of risk when looking at who becomes a bully’s victim. It’s important for parents and teachers to understand this so that they can look for red flags and step in when needed. Here are a few examples of how that works.

Bullying children who do well

Kids who do well often draw extra attention to themselves. Maybe it’s a child who seems to get straight “A”s without trying very hard. Teachers will like this child and praise them for their effort and intelligence. They may use them as an example to the rest of the class of what they should do.

The problem, in some cases, is that the bullies do not do as well in school. They feel frustrated and inferior. They seek to rectify this by bullying the child who does well, even though that child certainly has done nothing to hold them back. It’s just the bully’s way of trying to level the playing field and make themselves feel better.

Bullying children who are different

People often react negatively to those who are different. You see this in adults and children alike. Things that are different make people feel nervous or uneasy, and they may target these individuals to bully them.

Exactly how may they be different? It takes a lot of forms. They could look different, come from a different family background, belong to a different ethnicity or practice a different religion.

Bullying children who are introverted

Bullies often seek out children that seem like the easiest targets. Much of the time, these are the children who are introverted and submissive. The bully can sense that they may not stand up for themselves and they’ll use that against them.

Children who are naturally more aggressive and extroverted may not get bullied as often just because the bully can sense that they may push back and not accept it. Bullies do not like challenges, which is why common advice is to stand up to them.

What can parents do?

These are just three examples, but remember that any child can get bullied — even if you would not expect it. If you are a parent of a bullied child, make sure you know exactly what options you have.