If you have learned that your child has been bullying other children, then you are undoubtedly very upset about this. No parent wants to learn that their child is a bully. Increasing amounts of schools are creating stricter rules regarding bullying due to the drastic measures bullying victims have taken in the past. So in an effort to stop your child’s bullying, you will need to get to the root cause of the problem that is causing this behavior. This may require a great deal of digging. How do you accomplish this? There are many ways to accomplish this goal, but one way is to determine if your child is jealous or envious of others. Learn about Envy and bullying here.
How jealousy or envy can cause bullying
Some children and teens sometimes become angry and resentful at what others at school have. This could be anything from an expensive pair of sneakers that a child might wish for, good grades, popularity, or even a particular girlfriend or boyfriend.
Anger and resentment are normal emotions that aren’t necessarily “bad.” It’s how a person manages these emotions that could become the problem. There are many healthy outlets for anger, however, not all children are even aware of these outlets. For the children that do, they may simply not practice them. If a child is angry and resentful, it could manifest itself in the form of bullying.
If your child has been bullying other kids at school, then you can likely determine whether the behavior is based on envy or jealousy by simply talking to him or her. Ask your child when and why the bullying started. Unless your child refuses to discuss this behavior, then the answers that are provided will help you to determine whether your child’s bullying behavior has stemmed from envy or jealousy.
Jealousy vs envy: how they differ
Although jealousy and envy are similar, they are two different emotions. You may have heard the term “green with envy” in the past, and it can be an accurate description of what your child could be experiencing. So how do these two emotions differ?
Envy definition: an emotion that a person experiences when he or she wishes for something that someone else has was theirs. For instance, your child could be envious of a friend who comes to school after Christmas vacation with expensive name brand clothes and a pair of Nike Air Jordans. Your child may have been wanting the same exact pair of Jordans, or he or she may simply experience unexpected envy.
Although jealousy often causes a person to feel just as inadequate as envy does, jealousy is different because it occurs when a person feels as if someone could take away something that the person has. For example, a person could feel jealous that her best friend is spending more time with another friend. The person could feel as if the friend that the best friend is spending time with is going to “steal” away the best friend.
Helping your child resolve envious & jealous emotions
If you discover that your child’s bullying has stemmed from jealous or envious feelings, then in order to stop the bullying, you’re going to have to get to the bottom of these emotions. How can you help your child resolve such powerful emotions? Well, it can take some time and effort on your part as well as your child. Explain the seriousness of bullying to your child and assure him or her that you are there to listen whenever he or she needs you to. Here is a step-by-step guide for helping your child to resolve envy or jealousy, hopefully ending bullying in the process:
- Talk with your child as much as possible. Ask him or her about his or her friends and everything that happens at school. If your child is a teen, then you can expect for him or her to be secretive regarding some of your questioning. Even if your child doesn’t want to answer your question, keep gently asking. Show that you’re interested in his or her life as well as helping in any way possible.
- After determining that envy and/or jealousy could be the culprits behind your child’s bullying behavior, you then need to find out why. If your child refuses to talk to you and answer all of your questions, then it is imperative that you find out the information in another manner. You may need to visit the school and speak with teachers and students that you child may interact with. Perhaps you know the parents of kids that your child hangs out with. If so, don’t hesitate to give the parents a call in order to find out what you can.
- Once you’ve discovered why your child is experiencing feelings of jealousy or envy, you can then help him or her to resolve these negative and self-defeating emotions. Explain to him or her that there is nothing to envy. If your child is envious of another child because of a material item, explain that material items don’t make a person. If your child is willing to perform work to earn money, then offer him odd jobs to perform in order to save up money to purchase items that he or she wants. Be sure to explain that even if he or she saves up the money for the item that it may not bring as much happiness as he or she thought.
- If your child is jealous because he or she believes that a classmate is competing for his or her boyfriend/girlfriend’s affections, then discuss the situation with your child. Advise him or her that if the girlfriend or boyfriend really cares for him or her that there is no need to worry. If the girlfriend/boyfriend does break up with your child to be with the other person, then provide your support. Tell him or her that there are many other people to date out there. It might take a while for your teen to deal with these feelings, but once the jealousy is no longer in the equation then hopefully the bullying will stop.
- Help your child come up alternatives to bullying regardless of the emotions he or she might be experiencing. Suggest an afterschool activity such as basketball, track, dance, weight lifting or some other sport. Help him or her find a hobby. Some good choices are gardening, baseball card collecting, fishing and more. The sky is the limit when it comes to choosing an enjoyable hobby, and the right choice will depend on your child’s likes and dislikes.
You child isn’t “bad”
During your efforts to help your child or teen to stop bullying others, let him or her know that they are not a bad person because of their behavior. Explain that he or she simply made a mistake or bad choice. You should also explain that by stopping the bullying and making amends that he or she can correct any mistakes. You should also let your son or daughter know that others will likely accept an apology if your child is willing to offer one with sincerity.
If your child agrees to stop bullying and he or she actually makes amends and apologizes to the people that he or she has terrorized, then you should offer a great deal of praise. Tell him or her how proud you are and offer guidance from there. Explain that it takes a lot of courage for a person to acknowledge the fact that they bully others. Admitting their wrongdoing and attempting to right any wrongs is brave, as well, and you should be sure that your child knows this. This will help him or her to refrain from bullying others again in the future if negative emotions should arise again.
Envy and jealousy are emotions that have the tendency to become very intense at times. They can cause a child or adolescent to become angry and resentful. These feelings of anger and resentment can result in your child becoming a bully. Since bullying others is definitely not something that you want your child to do, you need to do whatever is necessary as a parent to ensure that it stops. Your child could end up facing some very serious consequences if his or her behavior continues, since more and more schools are becoming more stringent regarding this type of behavior.
Some children and teens will stop bullying if you intervene and take the time to get to the root cause. However, other children may need more intervention, such as the assistance of a therapist, in some cases. You can discover the best way to help your child by assessing the situation and then making the best decision based on the specific circumstances. Regardless of the cause, you can help your child to defeat envious or jealous emotions so he or she can stop bullying others.