First, talk with your child and discuss what’s been happening at school. Say what you know and ask if they knew that they were hurting someone’s feelings.
Be clear that their behaviour is unacceptable. Let your child know clearly that you are disappointed in their behaviour. Your child is not a bad person. Good people make bad choices. The important thing is finding out why your child is bullying and to teach them a better way to deal with other kids.
Is It Your Fault If Your Child is a Bully?
No. Though you will need to look at your own behaviour to see if your child is copying you. For eg.. if you believe in smacking as a form of discipline, and your child has been bullying by hitting others, then you may need to see if your child is getting a different message from your smacks than you had intended.
A lot of what is considered to be bullying can also be normal childhood behaviour from kids who do not yet understand how their actions hurt other kids. So you shouldn’t assume that your child is being purposefully cruel.
Why children bully: the research
Most children tease others at some stage. As they get older, children learn how their behaviour affects other people’s feelings. So the behaviour tends to stop. Children who haven’t developed empathy might continue the behaviour and become bullies.
Some children have a temperament that makes them more likely to bully. Others come from families where violence and ‘put-downs’ are common.
We know that about half of kids who show bullying behaviour are bullied themselves. And some kids might not begin a bullying episode, but either join in later or encourage the bullying. They need to be taught that acting this way is also bullying.
Children who feel unloved are more likely to bully.
What to do about your child bullying
Tell your child you think his behaviour is unacceptable and you want it to end.
- Explain to your child what bullying is. Try to be calm about it. Talk with your child about what she’s doing and why she’s doing it.
- Monitor your child’s use of the internet and mobile phones.
- Talk to the school about its approach to bullying. Ask what you can do from home. Call regularly to check how your child’s behaviour is going.
It’s best to do something now not later. The younger your child is, the more influence you have and the more likely he is to change the way he acts. Waiting makes is harder.
How to stop bullying
- Preventing bullying is about teaching children how to get on well with others, helping them learn empathy, respect and how to support their friends. With these skills, children are much less likely to bully.
- Building your child’s self-esteem can help. You could let him try lots of different activities, and encourage and support him in anything he likes. It might be sports, art, music, drama or something entirely different.
- Research has found that children whose parents give them positive attention are less likely to bully. Children who feel unloved or who experience violence in their family are more likely to bully others.
- Using discipline can help too. This means setting limits and using non-physical discipline if your child doesn’t stick to them.
There are many strategies to read more, have a look at www.raisingchildren.net.au