What to Do If Your Child Is Bullying Others
Finding out that your child has been bullying others can lead to many emotions as a parent.
Child bullying is not one of the things you’d ever expect to happen to you and it can be difficult to accept that your seemingly well-mannered child is a bully. So, why do kids bully?
The fact is that a lot of kids bully others and there are various reasons why they do it.
Maybe your child wants attention and feels this is the best way to get it. Or maybe they are victims of child bullying themselves and are looking for a way to reassert control over their lives.
Sometimes child bullying is a result of peer pressure, entitlement or poor impulse control.
Before teaching kids about bullying or assigning blame or dwelling overmuch on your shock, it’s important for both of you to take action and handle the situation together as a couple.
Here’s what you can do to address your child’s bullying behavior.
1. Get on the same page
After learning of your child’s misbehavior it’s crucial that you and your partner discuss the issue to determine the best cause of action. When disciplining your kid, it’s best to present a united front, avoiding any ‘good cop, bad cop’ tactics.
Get on the same page about how you want to handle the situation and agree on the consequences to be meted out.
Being united about discipline avoids confusion and also eliminates any chances of your child playing both of you against each other.
2. Address the issue of child bullying with your child
Once you’ve agreed on what to do, both you and your partner need to sit down and discuss the issue with your child.
While talking to kids about bullying, be clear that you’re willing to listen to their side of the story and give them a chance to explain what happened.
Opening up the lines of communication ensures that your child feels heard and also gives you an opportunity to get to the root of the problem.
3. Deal with the root cause
Finding out why your kid resorted to child bullying allows you to tailor your response to address the specific challenges your kid faces.
At the same time, it allows you to come up with a suitable plan for disciplining your child. For instance, if your child bullies in order to fit in with a certain clique, you need to teach them to resist peer pressure.
Alternatively, their behavior might be a cry for attention, in which case, you need to find ways to spend more time with them.
4. Provide clear, meaningful consequences
Unearthing the reasons for your child’s bullying behavior doesn’t excuse their actions.
They still have to face consequences for child bullying.
Remember that every bullying situation is different so ensure that the consequences you choose fit the crime.
One of the most effective ways of disciplining your kid is to withhold privileges for a while. For this to work, you and your spouse need to be consistent and firm about it.
5. Look inward
It’s also crucial to look inward as parents and examine if you inadvertently fed your child’s bullying habits.
What to do when your child is a bully? Think about how your behavior as a couple might have influenced your kid.
- How do you speak to each other?
- How do you manage anger, conflict and disagreements?
- Is your home a place where kids are allowed to yell, insult and put each other down?
Take a hard look at your family life and see if there are any negative habits that could have led your child to believe that child bullying others is okay.
Then as a couple, work to foster a positive home environment that models the kind of behavior you want to be reflected in your kids.
6. Seek further help
If your efforts to help your child change their ways don’t bear fruit, perhaps it’s time for you to seek assistance from qualified professionals.
Your kid’s behavior could be the result of some underlying issues and they can work through these with the help of a therapist or psychologist.
Also watch this video on handling a child’s bullying behavior:
No parent expects to learn that their child is a bully.
However, by working as a couple and addressing the issue of child bullying calmly and with unity, you can get your child to see the error of his ways and then work together to help him rectify his behavior.
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