Tips for the Parents of the Bully
Paying attention to early signs of bullying can enable introduction of early interventions as well as an adequate response to the problem before it escalates. The presence of some of following signs could mean that the child is involved or about to be involved in bullying:
- The child demonstrates views and attitudes that tolerate or condone violence.
- The child acts in an aggressive way with parents and siblings.
- The child tries to exercise power or influence over others.
- The child becomes arrogant and egocentric.
- The child tends to violate the rules, without caring about consequences.
- The child tends to manipulate the others around him/her.
- The child shows no empathy for others.
- The child develops an arrogant and self-seeking attitude.
- The child becomes part of a group known for their bullying or aggressive behavior.
It is worthy to note that that in many cases, bullies do not demonstrate any signs of being bullies in the presence of their parents. In this case, parents sometimes tend to be skeptic when the school of their child or when a parent of another child being bullied complains about the abusive behavior of their child. This abusive behavior must raise alarm if it happens frequently or repeatedly.
What do I need to do if I learned that my child is bullying others?
- Take the problem seriously. Parents tend to deny that their children are misbehaving or bullies. They usually feel the need to defend them anyway or just claim that all children act like that.
- Listen to their version of the story. Perhaps they themselves are being bullied or intimidated by a bully or may simply feel that they are getting what they want this way. Whatever the reason is, acknowledge it, yet remind them that bullying is a decision.
- Talk to them about behavior that is unacceptable, the reasons why it is unacceptable, and the consequences they should bear for such behaviour.
- Be firm when you talk about the misbehavior without being aggressive. If you act in an aggressive way, you are likely to reinforce that aggression is a way towards solving the problems they face.
- Get your children to agree to bear the consequences for their actions. ensure that this would entail taking corrective actions to fix what they did (such as hurting someone’s feeling), and what would be the consequences if the action is repeated.
- Acknowledge and celebrate any behavioral improvements; even if it was not causing problems for a short period. Make sure to show your appreciation for this progress.
- Reinforce and reward any actions that involve sharing, integrating, or showing gestures of kindness and empathy.
- Teach to show empathy and compassion by talking about the feelings of others and by demonstrating empathy and compassion when needed.
- Involve them in community services as their appropriate for their age group and in a manner, that enables them to offer services to the others.
- Monitor and follow up on their behavior.
- If the problem persists and nothing seems to work, seek help from a healthcare professional specialized in child mental health.