You often hear advice on how to handle bullying when your child is the victim, but what happens when your child is the one doing the bullying? It can be a confronting issue to hear that your child has been hurting others, but there are ways to take on the problem to prevent any future incidents.
1. Accept what your child has done. Hearing that your child is a bully can be overwhelming, but it’s something you need to come to terms with. Don’t be so quick to judge your parenting skills or wonder where you want wrong.
2. Be thorough when explaining what your child is doing is wrong. They need to know their behaviour is unacceptable, and it’s not a time for coddling or going easy on them.
3. Find out the details of the bullying. Try and get this information from other parties as your child may not open up about all the details.
4. Have your child apologise. This could be done in a letter where it’s easier for your child to express themselves. Sometimes a simple “Sorry” isn’t good enough.
5. Ask your child why the bullying occurred in the first place as you need to hear their side of the story. Finding out the source of the bullying can put an end to future incidents.
6. Make sure they fully recognise what they did was wrong. It’s easy for them to just apologise, but they need to fully comprehend that bullying is damaging and upsetting.
7. Encourage empathy and sympathy. This is another way for them to learn that their actions have consequences and can result in their peers feeling bad.
8. Let the school be involved. Your child’s school may offer you options to help address the bullying. This can include one on one counselling to address behavioural issues, or meeting with the other parents.
9. Look at your own actions. Children often replicate what their parents do, and the bullying may have stemmed from something you did in the home. Try to analyse your own actions and determine if your child is mimicking what they sees on a daily basis.
10. Children are often impacted by their environment and need a safe space at home. Make sure they come home to a loving, comfortable home where they can be themselves and express themselves freely.