August 1, 2015
Bullying can pose a serious threat to children's immediate and long-term health and well-being, and can have profound impacts on all children involved in bullying behaviors, whether as the one bullying others, the one being bullied, or the one witnessing bullying. At least some of the roots of bullying behaviors, and conversely the roots of positive pro-social skills, can likely be found in adverse and positive experiences during early childhood, yet the research literature on these connections is limited. The early childhood field lacks a coherent, theoretical model that identifies the factors contributing to "mean" or aggressive behavior in young children, and establishes the developmental link between this early behavior and later bullying behavior. This white paper summarizes the literature on seven key hypotheses about the roots of bullying behavior in early childhood experiences.