Bullying, cyberbullying and online harassment have been in the news lately. It is horrible when your child is bullied or taken advantage of in any power struggle. But, what do parents do if they find out that their child is the bully?
Sometimes physically bullying is a matter of who is pushing who when the principal walks around the corner. Sometimes a child doesn’t recognize his own strength or is protecting himself from verbal abuse. And sometimes, your child can be filled with anger, resentment and rage and take it out on others.
Growing up is hard to do, especially this day in age when technology rules the schools. It is much easier now than it was years ago with phones, online messaging, texting and multiple social media platforms for mean kids to become meaner kids
But what about that moment when you get a phone call or hear from another parent that your child may have been bullying another child. How do you react and what do you say to the other parent as well as to your own child?
What do you do as a parent? Here are a few ways to handle that situation:
- Sit down with your child and talk: First things first, you need to make time to sit down with your child and have a long and serious discussion. Before you place blame or punishment, you want to get answers. There is a reason your child is upset and picking on another student. It could be many different reasons, like they are being bullied themselves, they are unhappy at home or school, and they are having learning difficulties or trouble making friends.
- Ask the right questions: Here is a list of questions you want to ask your child so you can find the root of the problem. When you ask be sure that you are calm, warm but also firm. Do not ‘attack’ your child with these questions but simply try to make it a conversation. You want them to feel comfortable and open to sharing with you:
- How is school going? Are your courses interesting?
- How are you friends?
- Are you upset with anything at home?
- Are your friends at school being nice to you?
- Explain bullying and empathy: Explaining to your child what bullying is and what it does to people is very important. Some kids bully because they simply don’t understand that their words and actions have consequences. Explain why it hurts people and why it is not fair and that some consequences can be severe if you bully.
- Get them help: There are several ways to get your child help. Seeing a school counselor or family counselor can help your child express their feelings that they are taking out on other children. It is key that they are able to talk to someone that is not in their family. An outside perspective and professional can help your child deal with issues they may be experiencing inside.
- Get them active: Some children bully out of boredom or because they have no way of expressing themselves. Try getting them involved with team sports, music lessons or something artistic. A child that has something planned each with that offers instruction and a chance to express themselves is therapeutic. Also another activity to help your child understand bullying is to have them volunteer for those less fortunate. Think about signing them up for a soup kitchen, there are plenty of ways for children to get involved.
Ultimately how you handle this situation is up to you and your parenting style and whatever that is your child needs to know the harm that bullying can cause on everyone involved. If you need help, talk to your child’s school for guidance. Remember that your child is most likely doing this for a reason, correct that problem with love and understanding.
This Guest post is by Christine Kane, a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects including internet provider for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @ gmail.com.