What do I do if my child is bullying others?
Your child needs to hear from you explicitly that it’s not normal, ok, or tolerable for him or her to bully, to be bullied, or to watch other kids be bullied.
- Make sure your child knows that if he or she bullies other kids, it is harmful to all kids involved.
- Communicate to your child that you will help them to find other ways to exert his or her personal power, status, and leadership at school, and that you will work with them, their teachers, and their principal to implement a plan at school. 1, 2
- Schedule an appointment to talk with school staff such as your child’s teacher(s) and the school counselor.3 Share your concerns. Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must stop.4
- Explain to your child that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Stop any acts of aggression you see, and talk about other ways your child can deal with the situation. Establish appropriate consequences for his or her actions.3
- Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your children’s behavior. Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and use non-physical, non hostile consequences for rule violations.4
- Examine behavior and interactions in your own home. Is there something going on at home that is encouraging this type of behavior?3
- Spend more time with your child and carefully supervise and monitor his or her activities. Find out who your child’s friends are and how and where they spend free time.4
- Talk with your child about who his or her friends are and what they do together. Peers can be very influential, especially for teens.
- Build on your child’s talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in prosocial activities (such as clubs, music lessons, nonviolent sports).4
- Model respect, kindness and empathy. You are your child’s role model and he or she will learn to treat others with respect by watching you.
- Avoid aggressive, intimidating, and abusive behaviors. Try to model social and emotional behaviors in the classroom and home setting that you would like to see reflected by children and teens.
- Consider talking to your child’s pediatrician about your child’s behavior.
- Be realistic. Your child’s behavior will not change overnight.
- Continue to work and communicate with school staff for as long as it takes. They should be your allies.3
- If you or your child needs additional help, talk with a school counselor or mental health professional.4
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