Your son comes home with messed-up clothes, a black eye and bloody knuckles. You think the worst: your child is being bullied in school. You prod and you pry as you try to get the truth out of your son, who just claims that he fell while playing football with some of his friends. Yet you are sure that he is being bullied. But what about when Your Child Is A Bully!
Then the phone rings. It is the school principal and he has some disturbing news. Your daughter has been caught bullying other students in class. Your daughter, who is the straight “A” honor student and continually praised by teachers and adults, is actually the bully toward other kids.
The surprise nearly knocks you to the floor. Who would ever expect their daughter to be a bully with the behavior she shows? How could you have missed the signs? You were so careful to pay attention to your son, whose towering appearance and gruff behavior may be taken the wrong way by other students and cause fights. Yet it was the truth that he was only involved in a rough-and-tumble football game that caused the bloody knuckles and black eye. Instead it was your daughter, who is so well behaved and respectful around adults, who is in fact the bully.
Your Child Is A Bully: Recognize the Signs
Any child has the potential of being a bully in certain situations. Bullying is not restricted by age, appearance, race or social level. It is up to the parent to understand what might be causing such behavior and to remedy the situation. If you fail to address the problems, the child will grow up believing such aggressive behavior is acceptable. You will have raised an adult who bullies other adults and children.
There are certain traits to look for in your child to determine if they are a bully, according to Pacer Center. If you notice any of these traits, you need to sit down and talk with your child.
A sign Your Child Is A Bully : Aggression
Aggression is a sure sign that something is bothering your child. They may not have reached the stage of being a bully, yet, but could be taking out their anger in other ways such as destroying objects or hurting animals. Aggression does not have to be shown physically. The child may be quick to yell, scream, or perform certain actions to “get even” with other people. Your child may also be verbally aggressive, as they use their words to put other people down.
A sign Your Child Is A Bully : Controlling
Bullies like to feel as if they are in control of everything. Almost like a power trip, they want to have their hand in everything, tell people what to do, and punish people who don’t follow their rules. The child will manipulate and dominate the situation until they gain control.
A sign Your Child Is A Bully : Unaccountable For Their Actions
Even when the child knows it is their fault, they will be quick to blame other people for the problem. They are unwilling to accept their own actions and will not take responsibility when doing something wrong. The child is always looking for a scapegoat to justify the situation.
A sign Your Child Is A Bully : Frustrated and Anxious
Some children can become frustrated and anxious over certain situations that they believe is out of their control. When they have these feelings, the child doesn’t know how to properly deal with the feelings in a positive manner. Instead, the frustrated and anxious child may lash out at their surroundings as they are verbally and physically aggressive.
In Addition to the Above Traits
Your child may tease and push around other kids, show little emotion or compassion to other people’s feelings, are immature in social or interpersonal situations, or are simply trying to fit in with a peer group that demonstrates such behavior.
How Children May Bully Other People
Noticing the signs and the traits your child exhibits can be difficult. In between working, keeping house and running errands, sometimes parents simply aren’t clued in to their children’s behavior. If you aren’t noticing any of the above traits (and some children are very good actors when they are around adults), then you can pay attention to how your children may be bullying other kids.
How Your Child Is A Bully : Physical Confrontation
You take your child to the park and notice that other kids are shying away from your child. When your child gets up close to another kid, an elbow may jab out into the other child’s back or your child may stick out a foot to trip other children. Then the physical confrontation escalates where your child may control part of the playground, preventing other children from playing. They may also push and shove people around.
How Your Child Is A Bully : Verbal Confrontation
Children don’t have to be in close proximity to other people to bully them. They may spread hurtful rumors and gossip that is false about other kids. While we often tell children the rhyme “Sticks and stones,” in actuality names/words can hurt people in many negative ways. The verbal confrontation may involve attacking the other child’s physical appearance, their friendships, their grades, their family or even their social status or income level. Your child may also try to manipulate situations to embarrass other children.
How Your Child Is A Bully : Cyberbullying
New technology has given children several avenues to practice being a bully. Smart phones are used to catch embarrassing photos as these photos are shared to other mobile devices. Children are using the Internet and social media pages to threaten physical harm toward other kids, spread harmful rumors, and show embarrassing photos.
10 Steps You Can Take To Stop Your Child From Being a Bully
Now that you recognize the traits and methods your child may be a bully, you can take the proactive steps to stop the negative behavior. For any true discipline to work, you must be consistent. Never side with your child that the other person may have deserved to be bullied due to their actions. Bullying is not okay no matter who is doing it. Use these 10 helpful steps to address the problem.
1: Find Out The Reason Why
The reasons why your child is a bully can vary. Perhaps they are trying to fit in with a peer group who displays such similar actions. Perhaps you child is being bullied themselves and they believe these actions are the way to move up the social ladder in school. Perhaps your child has a hard time expressing their feelings as they use physical/verbal actions to deal with the frustration.
By understanding the reason why your child is showing the behavior, you can focus your efforts in addressing the specific issues. You can let your child know that bullying just to fit in with the crowd or to move up the social ladder are not acceptable reasons. You can also address the bullying your child is experiencing.
2: Create A Positive Home Environment
It’s true that some children mimic actions. If they live in a home environment that tolerates violence, then your child will continue to be a bully and display such behavior. Address any violence in your home whether it is committed by a sibling or the parent. You can also deal with other family issues, such as abundant criticism or name calling, a lack of parental structure, or no supervision as this permits your child to engage in negative actions.
3: Determine That It Is Not From A Disability
Some children have disabilities that cause them to act out. These behavioral disorders can be mistaken for bullying when in fact the child cannot control their actions. Having your child properly diagnosed can allow you to take the right steps to stop the behavior, whether your child must take medication or be involved in certain behavioral programs. Also, you should speak with the bullied child and parents to let them know the situation, as well as apologize, for the actions committed.
4: Develop Compassion And Empathy
Many children don’t consider the emotional side of how their victims feel. Let your child know that everyone has feelings. You can engage in role-playing so your child understands what emotions a person feels when they are bullied. This can help your child develop compassion and empathy toward other people.
5: Be An Example For Your Child
So you are sitting at the kitchen table, bad-mouthing a coworker as you tell your friend about all the physical actions you would like to do to them. Your child overhears and assumes that they can do the same thing to the classmates they don’t like. Children absorb actions and behaviors that their parents show. If you want your child to stop being a bully, you must show them through example.
6: Implement Consequences
After talking with your child, you need to let them know that the negative behavior will no longer be tolerated. Let the child know there will be consequences if they do these actions again. Never resort to any type of physical punishment. The consequences should have some meaning while being extremely inconvenient. Take away phone privileges. Lock up the television and video games. Have your child do chores or community service with no incentives for completing the work.
7: Speak With Other People About Your Child’s Behavior
Just because your child gives you a certain excuse about why they are being a bully, it may not be the actual reason. Never take anything by face value if you know your child is a smooth talker and can get out of most situations with her words. Instead, speak with friends, other family members, teachers, school officials and the child that has been bullied. Find out the real reason it is happening so you can address those problems. It is also a good idea to consult other people who have more of an objective view as they may give you more insight.
8: Practice Cyber Safety
The fact that your child doesn’t even have to be in the same vicinity of their victim is a scary scenario. Cyberbullying is increasing at alarming rates. If your child is engaging in cyberbullying, you need to address the behavior immediately. Practice cyber saftey by monitoring their social media sites and cell phone text messages. The moment you notice negative behavior, take away their phone and computer privileges as you sit down to have a talk with your child.
9: Work With The School
Although bullying happens most often at school, the school isn’t the enemy or slacking in their responsibilities. School officials want to promote a safe and healthy environment to all children while implementing rules to handle discipline issues. Don’t make it into a blame game. Instead, talk with teachers, counselors and the school principal. Find out what can be done for your child to stop the behavior and promote a better learning environment. Schools can implement prevention programs so your child can learn that bullying us wrong and won’t be tolerated.
10: Reward Good Behavior
Never get tunnel vision as you concentrate so much on disciplining your child that you forget to reward your child for their good behavior. Providing positive feedback and rewards will let your child realize that only bad things come with bad behavior. As your child enjoys the positive words and feedback, their bullying should fade away as something they no longer wish to do in their life.
Consistent Positive Actions Will Bring Results when your child is a bully!
Don’t ever give up on your child as a lost cause if your actions fail to bring immediate results. You must be consistent with your words as well as implementing consequences and rewards. It might take some hard work and time. Yet you should begin to see the positive results you want so that the bullying ends.