Lauraloo asks:

My 5 yr old step son has been bullying kids in his class incl girls!  I have spoken to him about it, he promised not to do it anymore, but he is.

In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
May 25, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Lauraloo,

It's great that you are communicating with your son and are not ignoring the problem. We hope your son's school is also trying to help him with controlling his emotions and is giving him the message that it is not right to hurt others.

You may want to try a form of behavioral modification where your son earns points and is rewarded for positive behaviors, such as using a chart where he can see and watch his progress. You can ask his teacher or school counselor if they can help you develop this. It's best if you and the teachers are on the same page so your son knows that you are all working together. Make sure you use praise when he says or does something positive, so the bulk of the attention he is getting is not negative attention.

As children grow they develop the capacity to be empathetic and learn how to identify their own feelings and the feelings of others. Parents can help children develop empathy and good social skills.  Boys Town Press carries several books which may help you and your son on this subject.  Go to:  or check out your local library or bookstore. Here are just a few suggestions:

For parents and teachers:

"Teaching Children Empathy" by Tonia Caselman, PhD, also available in DVD

For children:

"Words Are Not for Hurting" by Elizabeth Verdick
"Hands Are Not for Hitting" by Marine Agassi, PhD
"The ABC's of Anger" by Ray Ali

For more information please go to our website:  You can also give us a call our on toll-free Hotline: 1-800-448-3000. Our counselors are here 24 hours, 7 days a week to listen and to help parents with any problem or concern.

Take care and best wishes to you and your son!


Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
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