When Your Kid IS the Bully
See the Signs of Your Child Being a Bully
Being aware of your children, and being knowledgeable of their lives and influence is the best thing for you and your children.
Listen to both positive and negative comment from other parents, guardians, teachers and adults. Listen carefully to negative comments closely. Deal with issues at home first, not publicly.
Know who your children's friends are and have them over to your house if possible so that you can see them interacting.
It can be more hurtful for us, as adults to learn that our child has made the decision to use bullying behavior in order to find a place for themselves. Seeing how they treat friends can be a good indicator of if they are bullies.
Ask Questions About Bullying Behavior
Ask other adults that interact with your child. Teachers, other parents, religious educators, all will have an idea of how your children fits in with other peers.
A shocker for me was when I was told that my son frequently interrupted fellow students that he did not like. My son was taught at home to never interrupt. I was shocked, but I addressed it at home and firmly explained to him the rules for conduct in school. I explained what the future consequences would be for repeat behavior.
My son did not like being scolded, but I felt it was important for him to know that it was not permissible to behave in such a boorish manner. The problem was solved. I know because I sent emails to each and every teacher asking them to email me if there were any problems. I also sent an email to the principal and vice principals' office, asking that if my son were sent there for any reason from tardiness to anything else that I be included in knowing my son's actions while away from home.
If you notice that your child does not seem to have a lot of friends, then you need to explore the possible reasons for this. Bullies can be loners, but they can also be part of a pack mentality. My son was popular, but he also was the new kid at school that year and wanted to fit in. His poor choices had him grounded for one month, only being allowed to go to school and back.
What to do When Told Your Child is a Bully
There may be another way that you learn your child is a bully. You may not be asking, but instead learn that s/he is engaging in bullying behaviors.
Listen carefully, ask for specific instances. Keep your tone respectful and neutral. Ask if it is an ongoing problem, or if it seems to be an isolated incident. Speak to your child alone before any disciplinary actions are taken by you, or allowed to be taken by the school or authority.
Make notes. Ask for the opinions of others if appropriate. If anything is going on at home, such as a divorce or a move, feel free to share, but realize that this may not be the sole reason for your child's behavior. Life events are not an excuse for bad behavior.
Don't become angry with the person bringing information to you. It is not a comfortable subject for anyone.
Actions After the Damage Done By Bullying
Depending on the age of your child, there are many different actions to take. In the instance of my son, he was old enough to understand what he did. He knew when he was doing it, the interrupting I mentioned above, that it was wrong. He was embarrassed when confronted, and I told him I would be watching him closely when he was in school.
I think in certain cases, letters of apology need to be written, and in others, it is very complicated. Basically, the child needs to know that it is not okay to continue behaving in a way that is hurtful to others. No punishment for what they have done is not an option. As a parent or guardian, this can be hard, and the help of others may need to be enlisted.
Getting Help For Your Family When There is a Bully
There are loads of reasons for being a bully. The best advice I can give is to enlist the help of a professional, such as a counselor or therapist to get the help that you need.
Sometimes, an objective outsider can give you help and tips to deal with poor choices on the part of the bully in your home.
Behavior from a child may be due to something that is going on at home, or even something that members of the house are doing. You may be the cause of your childs' bullying without realizing it. Be ready to work through problems and get help for all of the members of your family.
Being a family can sometimes be hard work, but to be a functioning family unit, the work is worth the payoff in the end.
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