I have to disagree with @Robert Lindsay here. I don’t think a great lot of them are, though some are. O.K., I will guess 40 percent or less are mean. As a child, I never ran into these brats except at Vacation Bible School. They always came out of “White Trash land” for that but never for church (but nowadays one family or two maybe seem to be regular members).
As 7th grade approached I did run into a gang of mean boys and got on their bad side. They provoked me into crap by throwing paper-wads, pencils, etc. at me and by mocking my name during roll call “Here…(mockingly)”.
My solution was to pick a fight with them, but that got me labeled “fag”, “my mom is a bitch”, etc. and more spit-wads got hurled at me. Things that on South Park seem comical,but not when you live it in real life!
These assholes to some degree never changed. I remember my first year of high school when the Rodney King thing happened, and they started shouting on the bus, “KKK all the way! KKK all the way!” That’s not surprising!
But what can be done about it? I should have been lifting weights in those days, but my dad was disabled and not much a father in some ways. He basically did nothing as far as advice, only getting angry when I didn’t want to go to school like I was a sissy or something for not going to school. But my dad was a gentle, nice guy. Paradoxically, he’s also a career military man.
But I’m not the man that would push a child to be too much of “a man’s man boy”. I would let the kid explore what he/she wanted to be but not as far as transgender. I mean, a lot of these “daddy’s boys” seem to have to have no personality other than being a clone of their jockstrap dad. Actually, some boys like this are assholes with too much self confidence, and they throw that unto other boys.
Anyway, the solution for bullied teens is first of all to get into lifting weights. That doesn’t mean they have to go into sports. Obviously, sports is too competitive for everyone to make the team, and some might be more gifted toward music or art.
Karate is one solution for bullied teens, but I think lifting weights is better. Karate can actually turn you into some sort of “village clown” and actually cause more fights than it stops.
Finally, a kid should be encouraged to not run his/her mouth. That’s something that causes a lot of fights, and unless the parent can raise the kid to be sociable, kids they may not learn that it’s wrong to mouth off.
I ran my mouth at that age, and while I didn’t start the initial bullying, my threats of revenge got me labeled a”bitch”. Yet in my own mind I was just emulating what I saw on The Karate Kid because it thought I was a hero standing up to evil.