Advocates of the self-esteem movement of the 1980s argued that raising a child's self-esteem was critical to decreasing academic and social problems. For this, and other reasons, a long-standing myth was born that bullies suffer from poor self-concept. The truth is just the opposite:
- Bullies perceive themselves in a positive light, perhaps sometimes displaying inflated self-views. High self-esteem can sometimes encourage bullies to rationalize their antisocial actions.2
- Children and youth who are victims are more likely than other children to have low self-esteem.1
- What is not known is whether children with low-esteem are more likely to be bullied or whether bullying damages the self-concept of the victim.