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What To Do When Your Child Is The Bully

It's hard to imagine your pride and joy- your child, bullying other children. You may not believe it at first but it's important to acknowledge because a parent plays a major role, if not the most important role, in ensuring their child stops bullying. Your child may not be bullying just to be mean, there is usually an underlying reason why a child chooses to pick on others.

Why Would They Be a Bully?

Children choose to bully for a variety of reasons; they do it to be in control, they want to receive social acceptance from their peers, or they have been the target of a bully themselves. You may wonder why children who have been bullied pick on other kids, why would they want to inflict pain on another child when they just experienced it themselves? They're trying to reverse their situations; they're tired of being bullied and they may feel like picking on others will ensure their position in the "social order." Think about it, have you ever been blamed for something only to divert those feelings elsewhere and onto other people? Parents are the key in stopping the bullying cycle. Implement the following steps below to stop your child from becoming the school's "bully:"

  • Acknowledge the problem. Let your child know that you are aware of the fact that they are picking on other kids and that is not a behavior that will be tolerated.
  • Keep open ears and eyes. You might have to resort to watching your child play with friends and/or siblings. Look for the issue at hand and then immediately address it. The school is most likely aware of the problem and if they're not, they should be if you want to stop the problem. You'll want to occasionally check in with the school and see how your child's attitude is progressing from the solutions you implemented at home.
  • Discourage violent behavior. Take way all violent games and turn off violent TV programs. Also, make sure you aren't portraying violent behavior. This doesn't mean you're deliberately making fun of people or acting irate, it can be the way you speak to your partner, friend, etc.
  • Reinforce positive behavior. Teach your child how to empathize with others. Maybe you'll read a book or watch a television program where someone is being picked on and how that person feels after the fact. This will teach your child the impact he/she has on someone else's feelings and emotions.

If the Bullying Still Doesn't Go Away…

If your child continues to bully even after you follow the above steps it may be time to seek the help of a doctor, parent coach,or counselor who specializes in anger management. Bullying can lead to other serious violent behavior which in turn, leads to major issues in the future. Remember, don't make your child feel like a horrible person because they picked on someone else, just address the problem and make them aware of how their actions affect others.