What to do when your child is a bully

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We come across a lot of information as to how to help our kids deal with a bully, which is becoming too common. What we rarely find is information on what to do if your child is actually the one doing the bullying.

Nothing makes a parent feel more insecure than getting that dreadful call from the school or an upset parent claiming that your child is a bully.

It can be hard for a parent to admit that their child is a bully, it leads to feelings of anxiety and defensiveness. Mostly because people see children as a reflection of who you are as parents and so you tend to take it personally.

You feel like you have failed as a parent.

Your feelings are absolutely normal, it is natural for a parent to feel like they have done something wrong, as well as to feel a bit embarrassed that your child is a bully. At the end of the day you need to understand the issue is about your child and not you, the focus should be on helping your child.

Ilze Alberts, psychologist and founder of the Bella Vida Centre explains that EVERY children has the ability to be a bully but kids will only act it out depending on circumstances, for example, if the child feels bullied themselves in certain situations which could be in their home or even outside of their home environment.

Also read: Confessions of an ex-bully

If you get a call from your child’s school or from another parent about your child’s bullying try to remain calm and less defensive. Ilze advises you should try and put yourself in the other parents shoes and understand why they are upset.

You would be too if it was your child being bullied.

Try to reason and talk to the school and parent, let them know you will address the issues with your child. Remember, the aim here is to help your child – not defend their inappropriate behaviour.

As a parent you should then talk to your child about their behaviour, try to get to the root of the problem and let them know you want to help them. Ilze also highlights it is important to hold your child accountable for their wrong behaviour so they are aware they need to change the way they act.

Also read: Beware of the bully

There are sad consequences for a child who is a bully and the behaviour is ignored or defended by the parents. These kids grow up wanting power over others, are abusive in relationships and struggle to fit in socially with other people.

If you are told your child is a bully you should see it as an opportunity to help your kid with something they are struggling with. If the behaviour is continuous then you should seek professional help.

Simply ignoring the bullying in the hope that it will go away can lead to more harm in the long run for your child.

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