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My Kid Is the Bully...What Do I Do?
Your Kid Is The Bully...
Parent's Worst Realization....
As a parent, you take a special pride in your children, after all, they are your offspring. They are an extension of yourself in many ways, so anything they do or not do is a direct reflection of you as a parent in the eyes of society. When your kid is a model of perfection, it brings a prideful tear to your eye...
BUT... What happens when you get the news...
YOUR kid is the school bully.
**screeching halt** **record scratch** **crickets chirp**
This can be a difficult pill to swallow right away. But, NO NOT WORRY! This is something that you can easily address and give them the proper guidance on how to correct the behavior and show them why it's important that we make sure everyone is treated equally and respectfully.
First Thing: Your Kid Is NOT Evil
It is a common misconception that if a kid is a bully, that they may be "evil" or just mean at heart. This is not always the case! Some kids have a hard time expressing themselves, or feel as though they cannot be heard, so they take their aggression out in other ways.
Pull them aside and tell them they are OK!
A kid could be very upset about something at school and has not come forward with it, or maybe they feel singled out in some way. So, always make sure when you talk to them about this, not to make them feel even more singled out or afraid. You want to open the discussion of bullying with them where they feel safe and can open up about what is going on.
Schools Should Be A Bully-Free Zone
Get Involved With The School
This one may be tricky, because of guidelines that schools have in place. But, the best thing you can do is keep in constant communication with them. Things to look for include:
- Behavioral changes
- Other children's interactions with them
- Positive/Negative attitude change
The good news is when it's caught early on and handled correctly, your kid can learn to change their ways of bullying and head on a new path. Kids are sponges and they soak in the environment around them. Keep it positive!
Let's Hear From You...
Do you believe that schools need to take more actions against bullying?
Help Them To Understand
Do your children know the effects of bullying? When I ask this question, parents always say, "Yeah, they know. We have talked about it before!"
I'll stop most of them right there and clarify what I mean by the question. Just because you "told" them or "talked to them" about bullying, does not mean they fully UNDERSTAND what bullying is and why it can be harmful to other children. Because, if they DID fully understand it, they would not be doing it.
Tell them about the 4 types of bullying:
Although we will not be getting into these 4 specifically here, it is important to talk to them about each one and the individual effects. There is a chance they did not understand that what they were doing was actually bullying. This could be a great opportunity to bring up bullying to them.
Just Because They Were Bullied, Doesn't Make It Right To Bully Others
Don't Allow Them To Play The Victim Card
Playing the victim is the easiest way out for bullies. It makes them feel that how they reacted in the situation was completely justified. It also communicates an opinion that they are not responsible for their actions.
Nip It In The Bud
Allowing victim-thinking to take hold in your kids will leave them open to a barrage of problems going forward in life. They’ll find it hard to change and grow. Kids who play the victim card get accustomed to that way of thinking and end up not living a well productive and beneficial lifestyle. Let them know that it is not okay to bully even if they themselves have suffered at the hands of bullies before.
Why Does Your Kid Bully?
Show Them That They Always Have A Choice
Bullying doesn’t happen because the victim encouraged it. The bullies need to know this! It is your duty and obligation as a parent to help them realize that the choice they made was wrong and ended up hurting the true victim.
Even in group and peer pressure scenarios, the choice is theirs to make. Tell them it is better to dissociate from such groups that make you do “bad things” to others than be part of it. That IS a choice they do have.
Parents Have Their Own Form Of Justice
Make Sure That The Punishment Fits The Crime
Sometimes your kid bullies out of habit and cannot help it. In those cases, the damage done needs to be reversed and they need to be punished for the bullying that they’ve done. This acts as a negative reinforcement and will help them let go of the behavior of bullying to adopt a better approach to dealing with problems.
If you find that they write hurtful comments in a gaming forum, maybe the best way to deal with this is to take away their gaming privileges for the week. But make sure they understand WHY you did this. You aren't trying to be the "mean" parent...but a parent that wants to raise someone who is respectful and respected.
"Sorry" Might Not Be Enough
Teach Them How They Can Make It Better
Maybe the reason why your kid took the approach that most bullies do is that they do not fully understand the importance of empathy. Developing this trait is extremely important in our society.
Next time your kid bullies someone and you have a talk with them, tell them how they made the victim feel. This will encourage them to develop empathy for others. Sometimes a simple "sorry" may not be enough. You may have to take it a step further:
- Write out an apology letter to the victim
- Give the victim a peace offering gift
Let's Hear From You...
Is your kid the school bully?
© 2017 Mamma Z