When your child is the bully, what do you do?
Most parents don’t like to think that their child is the bully in school or a cyber bully. They may say that their child is just high energy, or out going. They may make excuses for the child, such as they are just tired, or they haven’t been feeling well. But ignoring the fact that your child is the bully or making excuses for your child is not doing them, or their victims any favors. It has been proven that bullies who do not receive help will have lower grades, suffer from depression, have few or no friends, and grows up into adults who have trouble finding and keeping jobs, and have poor relationships.
Recognizing when your child is the bully in school or when you child is the bully in cyber space, when they are still young helps give you the opportunity to help them change, and learn new behaviors so that it doesn’t continue to affect them for the rest of their lives. By teaching your child to not be a bully, you not only help them – you help stop them from hurting other children as well.
When your child is the bully: Recognizing the Signs
Apart from the school or other parents telling you that your child is the bully, there are signs that you can look for to tell if your child is a bully. Here are some of the signs When your child is the bully:
- Hostile or angry attitude most of the time.
- Frequent name calling.
- A lack of empathy for others.
- A need to always get their way.
- Often gets into physical or verbal fights.
- Blames others for things they did.
- Hangs around with others who bully.
These are just some of the signs. Even if your child doesn’t show all of these signs, doesn’t mean that they aren’t bullies. It’s important if they are showing these signs though, that you look a little closer to see what is going on in your child’s life.
When your child is the bully:You child is Bullying Other Children
After you can recognize When your child is the bully and you determine that your child bullies other children, the first reaction might be anger, a desire to punish them, or yell at them. However, those actions won’t help with prevention and safety – and may even increase it. It’s important to take steps to help stop it. Here are ten helpful hints on how to handle it if your child is a bully.
1. Stay calm and talk to your child. Ask them what is going on in their lives. Ask them about things that may be bothering them. Ask open ended questions, and then really listen when they answer. Don’t assume you already know the answer. Let them know that you are ready to listen.
2. Talk with your child’s school and teachers. By communicating your concerns to them, you help with prevention, safety, and gain insight into the hours that your child is in school, away from you. This may help you to understand why your child is bullying. You may also be able to arrange to have your child talk with the school counselor, who can also help.
3. Consider setting up an appointment to talk to your child’s pediatrician. There may be health reasons for your child to be having issues with bullying. The pediatrician may also have advice on area counselors or therapists who can help your child deal with any issues that are going on in their lives.
4. In cases of cyber bullying, you should consider your child’s access to the internet and cell phones. Not allowing them to have a computer in their room with internet access may be an option. Blocking internet access on their cell phones is another option. Monitoring their activities while they are online is also important. Social network sites, such as Facebook, often provide easy access for a child to cyber bully another child.
5. Evaluate your home life for behavior you, or someone else in your home, may be modeling that is teaching the child that bullying is okay, or may encourage bullying. Children most often learn behaviors from the people in their home. If you, another adult, or perhaps an older sibling, are aggressive, violent, abusive, or bullying in the home – your child will behave that way outside the home.
6. Teach your child empathy, consideration, and respect for others. Sometimes a child doesn’t truly understand how they are hurting others by what they do. Or have a hard time looking outside of themselves to see how what they do affects others. Help them to become aware of their actions and how what they do affects other people.
7. Set firm boundaries and expectations for your child. Sometimes when a child doesn’t feel secure, feels ignored, or looking for attention. There are times when a child feels out of control in their lives. And when parents don’t set limits, boundaries, or clear expectations – this can often increase that feeling of being out of control. So by letting the child know what the limits are and what you expect of them, they can feel more secure.
8. Make the consequences for bullying clear and consistent. Such as losing privileges or facing the person they bullied face to face to apologize. Making them do some type of restitution to the person they bullied can also teach them empathy and consideration for others. They can write a letter of apology to the person. Or in the case of cyber bullying, they can help remove the content and apologize.
9. Examine the friends that your child plays with or hangs out with. Do those children bully others? Do they bully your child? Are the activities that they take part in healthy? If not, perhaps talking to your child about why they are friends with them could help. Or, in extreme cases, not allowing your child to spend time with those friends.
10. Be involved in your child’s life. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your child. If you are active and aware of what’s going on in your child’s life, that can go a long way towards stopping the problem before it starts, or prevention from it getting worse.
We all want our children to grow up happy, have productive lives, and succeed at what they choose to do. By helping children who bully and cyber bully to learn new ways of dealing with things, you help them to succeed in life.
We hope you have learned and felt inspired by this article on When your child is the bully.