What To Do If Your Kid Is The Bully

What if your kid is the bully?

Bullying has become a national epidemic. According to recent data, as many as one-out-of-three school children say they have been bullied. And roughly 30% of young people admit to bullying others. Most young people will experience bullying from one side or another. You frequently read advice on preventing bullying, but what do you do if your kid is the bully?

While much research has gone into how we can prevent bullying, and many programs have been implemented and tested in schools, the results have been modest at best. These results leave many wondering if prevention must start at home.

What to do if your kid is the bully – #1 – Examine Home/Family Life

Home life plays a large role in creating bullies. Research suggests that family life can increase the risk of someone becoming a bully. Certain home-life characteristics are more commonly found in youths who bully others compared to those who don’t. The following trends can serve as warning signs that trouble may lie ahead:

– Harsh discipline (shaming, insulting, physical threat or harm)
– Lack of warmth or tenderness between parent and child
– Excessive teasing from siblings
– Domestic violence between other family members
– Drug and alcohol abuse
– Prejudice or hatred against others shown by parents or other family members
– Emotional neglect
– Excessive pressure to meet expectations or perform well in the world

The hopeful news is that research has shown that intervening to prevent or end these risk factors in the home can greatly reduce bullying and other youth violence.

What to do if your kid is the bully – #2 – Be Part of the Solution

It’s important that parents (of bullies or victims) do not minimize the problem. Bullying should not be dismissed “just part of growing up.” Share the consequences. Talk to children about the consequences of their behaviors. Cyberbullying is harmful, and in some cases may result in legal charges. When bullying happens online, children may not realize the impact of their actions. It’s important for parents to help their children understand that the victims of online bullying are real and so are the consequences.

What to do if your kid is the bully – #3 – Make it an adult team effort

Work with the other adults involved in the situation, including the parents of the victim(s) and school personnel. If appropriate, talking with the victim’s family about an appropriate response to the problem may help repair some of the damage done and teach children about accountability for their behaviors.

What to do #4 – Increase Supervision

Increase supervision of your child to ensure that he/she does not have opportunities to continue the bullying on or off-line. This may require more close supervision of their online activities, cell phone use, and communication with other parents or teachers.

What to do #5 – Communication

If another parent or teacher has told you your child is being a bully, the very first thing to do is sit down and talk with your child. Don’t scold them right off the bat, but rather tell your child you would like to hear their side of the story. Depending on how old your child is, he or she may open up and admit to the bullying and also offer an explanation, such as they want to fit in and be liked. Many children with low self-esteem bully to feel empowered and noticed.

Some children may not be able to express their thoughts or feelings easily. This is particularly true of younger children who may be struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues. If you find you are having trouble communicating with your child, consider seeking the guidance of a child psychologist who has experience evaluating behavior.

What to do #6 Remain Vigilant

If your kid is a bully, changing their behavior won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight. But remaining vigilant is important.

Continue to build an open channel of communication with your child. This will help you recognize signs of trouble. Check-in with them daily and ask about their day – what they have planned, something that happened that they enjoyed, and something that happened that they didn’t enjoy.

Laying this foundation of communication is vital. Once kids know they are expected to share details of their lives on a regular basis, they become more comfortable opening up even into adolescence.

If you or someone you know is wondering how to put an end to bullying behavior, one of our expert therapists can help. Please reach out using the contact form below to get started.

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Note: We do not accept any of the following: Bright Health, Medicare, or TriCare.
Note: Our providers do not prescribe or manage medication. For help with medication, please visit our friends at https://www.axismh.com/