Bullying is not pleasant. It can be downright ugly. No matter what form it takes, bullying causes pain and suffering for everyone involved, not just the person who is being treated badly. Whether a bully attacks their victim face to face or through the internet, the harm is done. Physical wounds leave scars that eventually fade with time. Emotional wounds are present for years after the event has passed. Cyberbullying adds an entirely new level to the game. Bullies have found a way to reach their victims even when they feel their safest. So, Is Your Child a Bully?
Many people were bullied as they were growing up. We spend our days hoping our children never have to endure that type of pain. Most people worry their child will become the victim of a bully, but what happens when you discover it is your child who is bullying others? The thoughts that race through your mind range from guilt to indignation. How could the child you raised have done such a thing? Instead of dwelling on why it occurred, a parent must focus on taking action to prevent it from occurring again.
Is Your Child a Bully: Communicate with your child – If you discover your child is bullying others, the first plan of action is to stop it. Talk to your child. Once the abuse has stopped, you can work on finding out why your child felt the need to bully others. Depending on their age, jealousy, anger or depression can all be contributing factors. One child may handle a situation by retreating into themselves while another will react by lashing out to whoever they feel they can hurt the most.
Is Your Child a Bully: Talk to your child often about things that are happening in their lives. Divorce, blended families, moving or the death of a loved one can set off a chain of events a child may not know how to react to. When things are taken out of their control or abruptly altered in such a way they have a hard time understanding, they do what they need to do to regain some semblance of control. Cyberbullying may be the result. It allows them to remain anonymous and stay hidden in their own little world.
Is Your Child a Bully : Know their activities – Know the types of activities your child enjoys. Are they dangerous? Does your child relate to characters in games that control others? Are they overly aggressive in sports and other types of gaming? Aggression in a game can be an indicator as to how a child will act with their peers. If they feel they can control a situation using pressure and fear, they may be exhibiting the tendencies of a bully.
Is Your Child a Bully: Know their friends – Know your child’s friends. Do they control your child and his behavior or do they act on their own? Many students want to fit into a popular group so badly, they will do whatever is asked of them just to be liked and accepted. They know certain activities are wrong, but they do them to be included in the group. If your child’s group of friends suddenly changes, you may want to investigate why. In some cases, they may have just made more friends. In other cases, however, a group of students may look for an unsuspecting or vulnerable student who they can manipulate for their own purposes. They may persuade your child to bully another or participate in cyber bullying as an initiation of sorts. Get to know the children they hang out with. This is one of the best places to start investigating allegations of abuse, especially if the bullying started after the new friendships began to surface.
Is Your Child a Bully: Investigate reports of bullying – Never let a report of bullying go. Get as many of the facts as possible before you confront your child. If someone tells you they believe your child is guilty of bullying another student, don’t just take their word for it. Talk to everyone involved. You also don’t want to act like you don’t believe your child either. Claim neutrality until all the facts are in place. Bullying is never a good thing, but there are cases where it has turned out to be a misunderstanding. Always be prepared to listen if someone says they want to talk to you about the situation. Finding out as many of the facts concerning the situation is what is important.
Is Your Child a Bully: Be prepared to hear things you don’t like – No one wants to learn their child is a bully. When you are asking questions and trying to find out information, be prepared for things you are not going to want to hear. You may be told something your child said to another or have an action described to you that is very hurtful. When you deal with bullies, it will happen and you have to be prepared to handle it. Even if it means accepting the fact your child is responsible. Acceptance, however, does not mean tolerance. It may have happened in the past, but you, as a parent, can do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Is Your Child a Bully: Seek counseling – Children who bully others often have emotional issues they are having difficulty dealing with. They may be angry at a situation or upset with you over something that has happened in the home. Either way, if they feel they cannot talk to you about the situation, they still need to talk to someone. Seeking counseling may help them find better ways of dealing with things they feel are out of their control.
In cases where cyber bullying is the issue, counseling may be beneficial as well. Finding out everything you can about cyber safety may help you eliminate the temptation for your child to bully others online. Bullies who use the internet often hide behind a fake image because they feel it gives them power over their victim. They can do whatever they want and not get caught. This is not the case. With the newest advances in technology, the right technician can discover an abundance of information about an account, its location and the person who uses it.
Is Your Child a Bully: Foster better relationships – If it has been determined as fact, that your child has been bullying others, it might be time to foster a few more positive relationships. Students who normally hang out with friends who have questionable backgrounds might do well to meet some new people. Don’t force them to give up their old friends, just foster new friendships with more positive people.The choice to interact with them after the introduction will be completely up to them. If they can learn the benefits of having positive relationships, they may choose them more often.
Encourage your child to meet new people of all ages. It may be a meeting with a mentor or role model that helps them look past what they perceive as the benefits of bullying. Allowing them to bond with a mentor can give them positive life skills that go far beyond helping them to stop the progressive cycle of bullying.
Is Your Child a Bully: Remove access to temptation – If your child proves to be a cyber bully, take preventative measures to stop them from gaining access to the internet. If a school discovers a student is a cyber bully, they may restrict their access to the internet during school hours. It might be wise to follow their protocols while the student is at home as well. Place a keylogger on your computer if it gives you the peace of mind that you are doing all you can.
While no one ever wants to accept the fact their child has become a bully, it does happen. Facing the truth and still loving your child are two of the most important things you can do as a parent. You may not like their actions, but you do love them as your child. Once it’s known, you must take control of the situation, doing whatever you have to do to make sure the victim is protected from the bully and that the bully is aware of what they have done wrong.
How a person makes amends for the actions performed in the name of bullying is up tot he perpetrator. Whether they are made to apologize or pay monetary compensation, they must be shown that bullying in any form is unacceptable.