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M.Fran
M.Fran asks:
Q:

I think my child may be a bully? What can I do?

In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Nov 6, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for contacting Education.com

You don't mention the age of your child, but the sooner you see the signs that your child is treating other children with disrespect, the better chance you have of redirecting your child's behavior.

Help your child to develop a sense of empathy for others. Watch how you and your family respond to people in need or to people who are different. If family members genuinely care about each another and treat others with respect, your child will learn how to treat others by your example. An excellent book on this subject is: "Teaching Children Empathy" by Tonia Caselman, Ph.D. The book is designed for children in grades K-6 to help them identify their own feelings and put themselves in someone else's shoes. Other topics covered include diversity, reading others feelings, making and keeping friends and conflict resolution.

Help your child develop healthy self-confidence by encouraging participation in team activities or sports. Consider joining a church or synagogue where your child will interact with others in a positive environment and where people work together to help others.

Give consequences to your child when he/she treats others with disrespect or bullies others. Make your child accountable for their actions. Praise him/her when they do a good job and when they help others. You can use a chart where your child earns stickers or points for good behavior. Much of what you do will depend on your child's age. You can also talk with your child's school counselor or teacher for more ideas. It's a good idea to keep open communication with your school so you are both on the same track and your child knows what to expect.

If you would like to speak with a counselor about this in more detail, please call or e-mail our Hotline. Our counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days a week. We are here for parents and children of all ages who need support and guidance with many different issues. Take care and best to you and your child!

Sincerely,
Cynthia, Crisis Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org



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Additional Answers (3)

aqblickley
aqblickley writes:
I'm so sorry to hear that you're in this difficult situation, but it's wonderful that you're so aware and able to recognize what's going on. Many parents would turn a blind eye to bullying behavior by their kids, but denial never helps.

To help you understand the situation a little better, there a few questions that are helpful for you to think about:
How is your child doing at school and at home?
What is he or she seeing or experiencing at home?
Has he ever been bullied?
Who is he hanging out with who may be influencing him?

Talk to your child's teacher. Although nobody wants to "out" his kid, the teacher is the person who sees most of the interaction that occurs at school, so chances are, the teacher may already be aware. If not, it's a good idea to let her know so she's able to pay more attention, and give you some more insight into what is going on.

Explain to your child that the behavior is completely unacceptable. Cite specific incidents (if you can) that your child was involved in that are defined as bullying. Many kids think that they're "just teasing" or "messing around" when in fact, they are bullying. Making him aware of the severity of his actions is important.

Talk to your child about his friends and how they may be influencing him.  Also, talk to the other parents of kids who are involved. Putting together a team to stop this situation will help you feel less alone, and will also put more manpower behind the solution.

Be an example! It's important to model respect, kindness, and empathy at home and with your child. Remember that he is always watching - even when you don't think he's paying attention, he's taking behavioral cues from you, the parent.

I'm including an article that goes into a little more detail. Hope this helps, and good luck!

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PB14981498
PB14981498 writes:
Thank you M. Fran for being a responsible parent and a responsible member of your community.
I was bullied in school, in 5th grade through 8th grade. The bulling over time stopped in High school as I grew up,taller and stronger, and better looking, and was able to defend myself. But I have never forgotten what it was like to feel so alone and so unworthy, and humiliated beyond my comprehension at such a young age. I was tormented. I have pushed down those memories for over 30 years. Until now. I considered suicide in those years as my only way out. The thought of suicide was in fact a comfort as I went to sleep. I look back and I am amazed how often I thought of it.  As time went by, I found friends and was able to move on to a much better place. If your child is a bully, please do what every you can do to intervene in the most profound way you know how. Camp out at school!Trail your child! Gone are the days when let kids be kids is the answer. The consequences are not trivial, but meaningful.
M.Fran, Please take action, get support from friends and loved one's and community experts, and remember you are the one in charge here. You can make a tremendous difference in so many people's lives, without you ever knowing them, just by taking action for what is right.
The very best regards to you,
Patrick
> 60 days ago

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Haltnow
Haltnow writes:
To help your children with the ideas of stopping them from being bullied it all starts by listening more to your children. Here are a few helpful ideas to help build empathy and prevent bullying behaviour:

http://www.haltnow.ca/bullying/40-schoolyard-childhood/90-what-can-be-done-to-stop-bullying-parents-responsibility.html
> 60 days ago

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