The statistics are staggering. 1 in 7 kids are either a bully or being bullied (according to MBNBD ) and no parent wants to hear the words “your child is a bully” but unfortunately, some of us do hear those very words. So how do we catch the behavior before it becomes problematic, and change the behavior in its tracks?
Before you get the call from another parent or your child’s school, there are a few warning signs that may tip you off that your child may be struggling. Some of those signs include- (source)
-Blaming others for their problems
-Showing signs of aggression
_Getting into verbal or physical arguments
-Worry about being popular
-Being overly competitive
-Having money or belongings that aren’t theirs
The good news is your child isn’t broken, but the behavior does need to change. Some simple steps can help you and your child overcome the issue and move forward in a positive way.
- Set an example of showing respect, empathy, and compassion. Its difficult for kids to understand how others feel so showing them through example can be an important step into gaining an appreciation for others and the feelings of those around us.
- Be an active parent. Know who your child is friends with and what kind of activities they do. Be involved in your child’s life and listen to them and their side of the story. They have fears and concerns too and validating those can be very helpful in gaining control over a bullying issue.
- Have very clear expectations and consequences and follow through. The child should know exactly what will happen if they bully and that there is never any tolerance for such behavior.
- Teach positive ways to reduce anger or tension. These can be as simple as a time out on their bed, playing ball outside, or screaming into a pillow- anything other than bullying. Reducing any kind of violence in the home via television or video games can help tremendously.
- Give positive encouragement. This behavior may take some time to change and staying positive will be more receptive than punishment.
- Have your child make amends for their act. Apologize, send emails, have a conflict mediator present, or whatever actions need to be made to make the situation right.
- Seek professional help. Sometimes the issue is bigger than a parent can handle alone. There is never any shame in seeking help from the child’s doctor, principle, teacher, or a bullying prevention class.
Keeping our kids accountable for their actions and listening to their concerns while having a positive outlook can help with bullying. But, if the situation needs an intervention with a professional in order for the situation to be resolved, then act now. Bullying is not a light matter, but it can get better.