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Is Your Child the Bully?

All parents worry that their child may be bullied. It's a scenario that leaves parents feeling sad and frustrated. But the truth of the matter is that someone's kid is doing the bullying, and it just may be yours! If you suspect or have been told that your child is engaged in bullying behavior, it is time to take things seriously. Address the situation right away before it gets out of hand.

What to Do about a Child Bully

Bullying is defined as intentional aggressive behavior toward another person that puts one person in a position of power or strength. It is usually ongoing. It can include teasing, name calling, cyber bullying, and intimidation. Children who engage in bullying behaviors usually have very little empathy for others, become frustrated easily, are impulsive, and may enjoy violence. Putting an end to bullying behavior in the 6-9 age range is essential so it doesn't continue throughout childhood. Children who bully often have difficulty maintaining relationships, even in adulthood. If your child engages in bullying behavior, consider the following tips to help eliminate it:

  • Discuss bullying with your child to see why he does it, letting him know that it is not appropriate behavior.
  • Teach your child how to handle his feelings in a healthy way through journaling, talking about it, drawing, etc.
  • Find ways to teach your child to have empathy by discussing feelings and how his bullying makes the other person feel.
  • If bullying is happening in school, meet with the counselor to see what suggestions the school has, letting school authorities know you are aware of it and are addressing it.
  • Focus on positive reinforcement by using a behavior chart. Each day that your child does not bully, give him a check mark. Once he goes a week without bullying, reward the behavior.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback whenever your child handles situations in an appropriate manner.

Parents Set the Stage

It is important that parents make every effort to lead by example. Children who see parents being kind and having empathy and respect for others will be more likely to grow up doing the same.