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My Kid is a Bully
Parents want to raise good, kind, respectable children who grow up to be upstanding members of society, but sometimes there are bumps along the way.
Most parents spend a lot of time helping their children to understand what they should do if they are being bullied, but many of those same parents don’t want to accept the idea that it is possible that their child could be the one bullying others.
If you get that dreaded phone call, here are some tips on what to do if your child is bullying others.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR KID IS A BULLY
GIVE THEM THE CHANCE TO TALK
Once your child has been accused of bullying, don’t go all-in on them from the beginning.
Sit down with them and give them a chance to talk through the situation.
Kids tend to tune out when they feel as if they aren’t heard.
By allowing them a chance to talk about what happened, why it happened, and openly admit that they were treating someone badly, you will be more likely to get the response that you hope for from your child and the right lessons will stick with them.
SORT OUT THE SOURCE
In conversation with your child, work to sort out what factors influenced their behavior.
- Was their bullying in retaliation?
- Are they trying to fit in with a certain clique?
- Are they acting out in response to something going on in school or at home?
Though none of these things is a valid excuse to bully another child, finding the source will give you a starting point if there is something larger at work that needs your attention.
ENFORCE A PUNISHMENT THAT FITS THE CRIME
An appropriate punishment at home, as well as backing up any consequences at school or within an activity, is an absolute must.
Children who have used online platforms to bully others should have those privileges revoked.
If they were bullying someone on a sports team or extracurricular, they should be grounded from attending those events for a period of time.
If it happened at school, you may need to get a little more creative and take something away at home that is unrelated to the incident but means something to your child.
Set clear parameters about what kind of behavior is expected and for how long before you will consider giving back their privileges.
KEEP A CLOSE EYE
Remind your child that bullying was a breach of your trust in them and they must now earn that back, as well, even if their punishment has been completed.
Keep a watchful eye on them for a while and see how they are interacting with others.
See how they respond to their friends and watch their social skills closely.
You may see some teachable moments that will help to prevent future bullying or view problematic behavior that needs some deeper discussion.
SEEK HELP IF NECESSARY
If the motivations or missing social skills behind your child’s bullying are beyond what you can handle as a parent, seek help.
Some children may need counseling or therapy to help break the cycle.
Others may have underlying mental health issues that need more intense treatment.
Go with your gut instinct and reach out to get your child the assistance they need to create positive relationships with others.
Though it can be upsetting to find out your child is bullying, most often you can help them to correct the behavior with a little diligence.
Throughout the journey, never forget that they are still a child and parenting is an ongoing job.