What to do when your Kids the Bully

You hear lots of advice on what to do when your child is being bullied – talk to the teacher, complain to the parents, etc.  But what do you do when your child is the bully?  There are various strategies to employ.

Talk to him or her

The first thing to do is to talk to your child.  You can explain that you know about the situation.  Do not merely scream at your child.  This will likely just make him or her defensive and not get you anywhere.  You want to have a logical and calm conversation.

You can talk about why bullying is such a problem.  Try to have your child gain empathy for the other children.  Ask him or her how it would feel if they were the one being bullied. You can ask if they have ever been bullied and what emotions they felt from it.

Give your child a chance to speak.  There may be an reason behind his or her actions of which you are unaware.  Sometimes these children are even being bullied themselves. 

Work together with your child to find out what needs to be done for him or her to stop.  If they understand that it is wrong, then hopefully they will make the effort.

You may also want to incorporate role playing into your lecture for the younger children.  You can pretend that you are the bully and that might help them get a taste for what it is like to be their victim.

Set up a discipline program

You want your child to understand that bullying is not okay.  No matter how many times you lecture him or her he may continue doing it.  You may need to instead provide real consequences to his or her behavior. You could take away privileges such as television time or going out with his or her friends.  You could ground them.  It is important that any consequences you threaten be realistic. If you tell him or her that you are grounding them for a year, then they are unlikely to believe you.  You also need to be consistent in enforcing them.  Show him or her that you “mean business.”

Give positive reinforcements

The saying goes that you get more with carrots than sticks.  If your child succeeds in stopping the bullying behavior, then give positive rewards such as a special edible treat.

You need to choose the strategy to deal with your child based on his or her exact actions as well as his or her age.  The above methods may help you address a bullying child.