The next generation of spousal abusers could be at your local elementary school right now. They’re the schoolyard bullies. That’s according to a groundbreaking new study. Harvard University researchers surveyed more than 1,000 men. The result? Those who were childhood bullies were 4 times more likely to physically abuse their partner than those who never bullied others. It’s the latest study showing that bullying doesn’t disappear with age. Instead, most tormentors become even more violent as they get older, and that aggressive streak often means they’re more likely to abuse their own kids, and commit violent crimes.
That’s exactly why lead researcher Kathryn Falb says that the big takeaway from this study is that it’s crucial to identify and treat childhood bullies as soon as possible. So, new early-intervention programs are popping up everywhere to change the destructive behavior of bullies as young as preschool age. Experts say that most bullies pick up their aggressive behavior from home. Or act out because of an upsetting personal issue. So, the anti-bullying programs typically include a lot of therapy and role-playing exercises to get to the root of the problem, and offer kids new ways to deal with the issues life throws their way. Experts say it’s not a surefire solution, and since many programs are just emerging, there's no evidence yet whether they’ll work in the long run. Right now, most programs are extremely successful when it comes to curbing bullying in schools. So, experts hope that the programs will have the long-term success they’re looking for, changing kids’ behavior for life.