What to Do if Your Kid is a Bully?
What is a bully? A bully is a person who tries to hurt others emotionally or physically on purpose and often on a regular basis. Every child knows the stories about the school bullies insulting, threatening, spreading rumors or even hitting other children, and some have experienced it. 22% of children report of being bullied at school, which is a lot. Bullies can be found in every age group, gender, religion, and race.
Yet, the consequences of bullying probably appear to be the most harmful for the young children. If you notice your kid being anxious, depressed, scared, losing sleep or appetite, having a decline in schoolwork, the chances are high that he became a victim of a school bully. Attentive parents should tell their youngsters how to deal with bullies and withstand them. But what to do if you get to know that your own child is bullying kids?
When parents hear from the school authorities or a teacher about their son or daughter humiliating other children, most of them react the same way, denying such possibility and becoming defensive. Yet, parents should always remember that any child, naughty or nice, is still capable of bullying.
So the question is why kids bully other kids. According to Davis and Nixon report (2010), the most common reasons are children’s looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%). Also, the grounds may be:
- demand for attention;
- attempt to look powerful or to impress his peers;
- bully’s low self-esteem;
- lack of compassions for other’s feelings;
- family circumstances where parents or siblings bully.
Unfortunately, school bullying doesn’t affect only the bully and victim. It also influences children who do not take an active part in humiliation but watch someone else being bullied. Moreover, there are always kids who feel bad about the situation but are afraid to tell about it to the teachers or parents. Finally, there are children who try to protect the victim from a bully. Therefore, bully’s parents are the ones who should take immediate actions to make their child stop insulting and hurting someone else.
Here is what you, as a parent, can do if your kid turns out to be a bully:
- Listen to all sides of the conflict – the child who was victimized, his/her parents, teachers and other kids at school who witnessed what was going on. Then, let your child explain why he/she was acting in such a way, try your best to understand the reasons for such Start the dialogue and discuss.
- Explain to your child how harmful may the consequences of his behavior be for the other children. Bullying may cause psychological, emotional and physical problems that may be not easy to overcome.
- Teach your child to be empathic and understanding. Suggest to think how he/she would feel if someone would treat him/her in a mean and humiliating way. A role-play may be helpful in such situation – it lets your child realize the feelings of a kid who became the victim and learn to treat others respectfully.
- Suggest your child to think of the possible ways to apologize to a kid who was hurt.
- Many schools provide bullying prevention policies, so you should get to know what the consequences of your child behavior may be in terms of the school discipline rules.
- Make it clear to your kid that you are not going to tolerate his/her acting in a mean way, and such behavior will have consequences.
- Start with yourself and give a positive example. Some children learn to be irrespective towards others from their families. Your kid acting like a bully may be a sign of problems in your family. Always mind your own words and actions.
- When trying to solve the issue, keep your temper. Always remain calm and polite when meeting the parents of a kid who became a victim, or the school
In conclusion, it is worth pointing out that one of the most efficient ways to prevent your kid from becoming a bully is to regularly praise him/her for acting kind and thoughtfully. Also, make sure that he/she is not being bullied as well. There are no bully-proof children, and your kid – if being a victim too – may just be taking it out on the peers. On the other hand, if the behavior of your kid doesn’t change for the better, you should consider addressing a psychologist for advice and help.