What Do I Do If My Child is a Bully?
One of the worst calls a parent can get is from either the school or another parent letting them know that their child is a bully.
What do you do now?
First, stay clam. Your first reaction may be to either dismiss or deny the situation, or to punish the child. Take a step back and listen to what the other person is telling you. Get as many details as you can about the situation. Do not dismiss the situation, take it seriously. Remember that bullies can be just as hurt by their actions as their victims. The goal here is to help your child.
Talk with your child about the situation and listen to your child. There are many reason why children bully others. It is up to you to find out what is causing this behaviour in your child and to give them the tools needed to develop better and acceptable social skills.
Children who are bullies are often the victims of bullies themselves. They may have poor social skills or lack self confidence. Your child may not realise that their actions are mean and hurtful. They may be trying to fit in with a group or gain attention. They may be trying to protect a friend who is the victim of a bully. In order to deal with the issue you first have to understand it.
Talk with your child about how bullying affects others. Explain to them that bullying is not acceptable, any where or at any time. Teach them ways that are appropriate to deal with feelings of anger or frustration. Let them know that you are there to listen and help. Let them know that bullying will not be tolerated and tell them what the consequences of this behaviour are going to be, both at home, and at school.
Get your child involved in group activities that focus on cooperation and teamwork. Make sure that is a well supervised situation. Set up play dates where you can supervise the activities and promote sharing and good social skills.
Work with the school, teachers, and if necessary other parents. Talk with teachers and counsellors and take an active part in correcting your child’s problem. Get advice and help if you feel unable to handle the situation alone. Do follow ups to ensure that the behaviour has stopped. Ask teachers to keep you appraised of your child’s interactions with other children at school. And be sure that you reward and praise your child when they do the correct thing.