How to deal with bullying when your child is the bully

Featuring on our Guest Blog today is a discussion on a tricky topic that many parents have to face, from one side of the situation or the other – what can you do when your child is the bully? Read on for some constructive advice from a parent who has been through this.

Bullying In Children

Over the past two years I have had to deal with my child being bullied,  to him then turning into a bully. After dealing with him coming home with bruises and welts (from being whipped with twigs and branches) to him then being the bully and hitting other children. To say it was an ordeal is an understatement.

There are two types of bullies:

  1. A child who understands what they are doing and are being truly malicious and enjoy doing so (rare).
  2. A child who seeks power and acceptance by hurting other children but doesn’t realise the consequences (common).

My son was the second type of bully. He couldn’t understand what he was doing was wrong. He just wanted to stand up for himself and have friends who didn’t pick on him.

So here is how I dealt with it.

Be There

The most important thing is to be there for your child. Whether they are the bully or, they are a victim you need to be a constant rock in their life. Make sure you get as much information as possible from your child’s teacher to your child’s friends. Then piece everything together to get a full picture.  There is nothing worse than not believing your child just because they have a teacher who has it out for them  (Trust me this happened with my son) .

Why Are You Doing This?

I know this is a hard title, but you need to find out why child is bullying. I took my child to the doctors to make sure there wasn’t anything psychologically wrong because every time I asked him why he did something he would respond with “Ï don’t know, I forgot, I’m not sure”. This as a mother can be FRUSTRATING. The doctor then gave me some excellent advice. Instead of asking why, ask your child how they felt. And lo and behold it worked. He then started to tell me he was feeling annoyed because *said child* had been saying horrible names to him, so he *reacted*.

Reason With Them

Try to explain to your child how the child they are picking on feels. One day my son came home with a blue card (naughty card), and it said he kicked another child’s shoes off a stairwell. He did this just because they were there, and that child was annoying him. We have a set of stairs in our house. So I told him to put his shoes at the top of the stairs and kicked them down. He was so upset because he had to walk back down the stairs to retrieve them. I told him the feelings he was feeling is exactly how the other child would have felt. So the next time he is going to do anything to a child, he has to think would he like it done back to him. Which, of course, can be hard to explain to a child, I know.

Friend or Feared

I am a true believer of standing up to bullies in my son’s case it has backfired on him. He now acts out as a defensive mechanism thinking if he is a bully, kids will like him because all the children liked the boy who was bullying him. What he doesn’t realise is it’s not a case of children liking the bully,  they fear the bully. You need to emphasise they shouldn’t have to be naughty to gain friends. Fear doesn’t build friendships. Loyalty and kindness do. We constantly tell our little boy that he shouldn’t be focusing on impressing his friends as they don’t care, he should be trying to impress me and his father as we are the ones who do care and love him.

Top points to remember

  • Be there for your child
  • Speak to both teacher and child to find out what is going on.
  • Create a plan to help your child speak their feelings out with an adult, rather than picking on a child.
  • Reward good behaviour, punish bad behaviour. (Rewards charts, playtime, timeout).

 

Now our son no longer bullies children but has a wide variety of friends. We have also enrolled him into a local soccer team, which has helped build his confidence and friend circle. We have our happy little boy back again.

 
About The Author

Jade Crevillen is a digital marketer at Talk About Creative and a freelance Virtual Assistant. She comes from a background in small business ownership (service industry). She is step mum to two kids, formerly a pig, dog, two partridges and a pear tree.

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