A bully is a parent’s worst nightmare. Nothing gets us as anxious and torn as seeing our young, vulnerable children afraid to go out because some bully is being mean, or worse yet, beating up on our children. We can only plan for this eventuality and devise various scenarios of what we would do should the occasion arise.
But what do we do when our child is the bully.? We probably haven’t prepared for that scenario. So, if you are a parent saying “Help me, my child is the bully” let’s look at some actions you can take.
- Talk to your child
Once you have verified that your child is indeed the bully, sit alone with them and seek to find out what the child is thinking and why he acts the way he does. You may be surprised to hear the motives behind his actions. Any solutions you want to implement should be guided by knowledge of the child’s motives.
- Be prepared,to go the distance
If speaking to your child does not resolve the issue, you may need to take them to a professional counsellor. This trained individual will be able to assess your child’s needs and make recommendations as to how you can meet them.
- Involve others Have a conference with your child’s teacher and possibly the parents of the other child or children who are being bullied. You may be surprised at what you learn. You may also find that there are other children involved in bullying tactics. These discussions could be a part of the process to break up a bullying ring and create a more positive environment for the children of the school. Be prepared, however, to hear unpleasant truths.
- Widen the child’s perspective Help him to relate to the negative experiences of being bullied. If you or a member of your family were bullied, share those experiences with him. It may help him to see how much pain he causes another individual and turn him around.
- Be a positive role model Children often pattern what they see. What in your environment may be causing the child to behave in this fashion? If you can identify it, seek to remove or change these situations and circumstances. You or your family may need to be counseled for a period of time in order for the environment to improve significantly.
- Set boundaries Whilst you continue to work with your child, let him know that every action has consequences. In consultation with his teacher, guidance counsellor and possibly other parents of the bully victims, set boundaries for his behavior. Your aim is to encircle the child with a network of eyes which will hold him accountable for his actions. Failure to live up to the boundaries and rules should see the execution of the previously agreed consequences. These consequences should be age appropriate and non-violent. It may involve removing favorite activities as well as restricting privileges.
- Above all, love your child This involves knowing him and spending time with him to understand his thought processes. As you grow in your relationship, he is likelier to share his difficulties with you rather than resorting to being the bully. So, as you cry out “Help, my child is they bully” be encouraged and know that there is help.