For parents, it can be very disappointing to discover that their child is behaving like a bully. The issue then for the parents is to determine how to handle the problem once it is discovered. There are several steps that parents can do to diffuse the situation and teach the child to how to behave better toward others.
Discuss behavior with the child
First it is important for the parent to discuss the behavior with the child. It is important to discuss the problem of bullying with the child in a calm manner. Control any desire to become angry with the child because that emulates a bullying behavior with the child. Ask the child why he or she was bullying the other child and be prepared to listen to the child.
Bring children together
Invite the child that is being bullied and their parents over to the house to visit about the behavior. Have the child explain how it made him or her feel. Have your child acknowledge the pain that was caused to the other child.
Sometimes children that are bullies have not learned empathy. Try to improve a child’s empathy with role playing situations or caring for someone else. Having the child care for a pet can help the child to learn to be empathetic for something else other than him or herself.
Bullies can sometimes result from self-esteem issues. They will compensate for other perceived flaws in themselves. Try to provide opportunities for your child to gain other more positive ways. This can be through involvement in activities in school and the community. At times, some bullies may have a self-esteem issue from the other direction. Bullies can demonstrate this behavior due to a sense that the bully is better than the child bully. This attitude can come from parents themselves. It is important to allow a child to be confident but not arrogant about their own superiority.
Bullying behavior can reflect a parenting style that does not demonstrate setting limits or inconsistent discipline. It can be helpful to children who demonstrate bullying tendencies to work on consistent discipline techniques so that the child can have clear consequences for these kinds of behaviors.
Use support materials
There are many books and videos that parents can purchase that can help parents. A good book that covers a number of ages is The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to HighSchool-How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle. There are many children’s books that depict bullies. Parents can then discuss those books with the child.
Whether counseling is coming through the school district or a private entity, parents should consider counseling for the child or family counseling that may assist with the problem.
Bullying is a behavior parents should be aware that their child may engage in and if their child exhibits this behavior, they should try to deter the child from bullying.