It can be tough for a parent to deal with a situation where their child is being picked on. But what about if it is your child who is doing the picking on; what if it is your child who is the bully? Well you should worry.
Studies have shown that children who indulge in bullying are likely to display other violent and antisocial behavior. Permitting or ignoring bullying behavior will not make it go away; in fact it may likely transform into something more serious if left unchecked – bullying can get the child into a lot of trouble.
So if someone suggests that your child is a bully or if you yourself feel that your child could be one, don’t ignore the situation.
Recognize the signs
The way your child behaves at home is a good indicator of whether he or she is a bully –
if he or she is quick to anger, shows frustration frequently, seems to enjoy violence on TV and so on, is frequently disobedient and is frequently cited as being part of disruptions in school, these should all be warning signs.
Being uncivil or being dictatorial with you or with siblings also are indications.
Look honestly at yourself and your partner and your own behavior – bullying can often be learned or inherited from parents.
Keep a watch over the sort of kids yours hangs out with – if your child’s friends are not very nice, you should be concerned. If your child seems to be frequently rude or denigrating about others, you can reasonably think that this pattern of behavior extends to other spheres of the child’s life.
Understand where the bullying is coming from
Bullying is often a sign of the child himself being troubled – issues such as lack of self esteem or being ill equipped with proper social skills, inadequate or faulty coping mechanisms can very often give rise to bullying behavior.
It could be a simple lack of empathy, with a child not really understanding the consequences of their actions that could be causing the negative behavior. And if it is bad company or peer pressure that is causing your child to act in a bullying manner then there is certainly reason to intervene since this could have further negative impact on your child’s behavior.
Explain the virtues of good behavior towards and others and lay down some rules
Teaching a child about empathy is always a good thing because it contributes generally to the child’s emotional growth. Explain why bullying behavior is bad for everyone concerned and appeal to your child for amending the behavior.
Also make it clear that such behavior is not acceptable in a firm and no nonsense manner, so that the child knows that this is serious. Explain that in future there will be consequences of bad behavior and that it will not be tolerated further.
Also be sensitive to the child’s frustrations and emotions. When you perceive anger, frustration and stress try and suggest methods of coping with this – this will help the child work through negativity in a more positive manner.