Turns Out School Bullies Grow Up to Be Successful and Make More Money

School bullies pose an unfortunate and all-too-common challenge for many  youngsters as they navigate their formative years. With their aggressive  demeanor and frequent emotional outbursts, they undeniably impose a heavy burden on their younger peers.

However, amidst the long-standing  psychological turmoil inflicted by bullies, a surprising revelation emerges: those who engage in such antagonistic behavior during their youth may  unwittingly be laying the groundwork for future success.

A recent study, spanning over five  decades, sheds light on this unexpected correlation, revealing that adults who exhibited bullying tendencies in their formative years are more likely to attain higher earning potential and achieve greater success in their later lives.

From The Guardian: 

The paper, published today, used data about almost 7,000 people born in 1970 whose lives have been tracked by the British Cohort Study. The research team examined data from primary school teachers who assessed the children’s social and emotional skills when they were 10 years old in 1980, and matched it to their lives at the age of 46 in 2016.

“We found that those children who teachers felt had problems with attention, peer relationships and emotional instability did end up earning less in the future, as we expected, but we were surprised to find a strong link between aggressive behaviour at school and higher earnings in later life,” said Prof Emilia Del Bono, one of the study’s authors.

“It’s possible that our classrooms are competitive places and that children adapt to win that competition with aggression, and then take that through to the workplace where they continue to compete aggressively for the best paid jobs. Perhaps we need to reconsider discipline in schools and help to channel this characteristic in children in a more positive way.”

Policymakers should recognise that socio-emotional skills are important, she said, and introduce policies to support these skills in school. “These findings make a strong case for more interventions supporting those struggling with their attention to lessons or with friendships and emotions, to prevent a lifelong negative impact on their earning potential.”

Del Bono, Ben Etheridge and Paul Garcia used primary school teachers’ answers to more than 60 questions about the children’s behaviour.

They found that an increase in teachers’ observations of conduct problems – such as temper outbursts or bullying or teasing other children – was associated with an increase in earnings in 2016 of nearly 4% for a given rise in conduct problems for boys and girls. That compared with a 6% rise for higher cognition skills.

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