So Your Child Is a Bully. What Can You Do About It?

Now that you’ve learned some of the signs that your child may be a bully, here are some tips for how you can intervene and correct this behavior. 

  1. Meet with your child’s teachers. Your child’s teachers will have insight into how your child behaves in the classroom and on the playground, and can fill you in on the details you’re likely not hearing at home.
  2. Talk to your child about their behavior. Have a conversation with your child – reassure them that you will love them no matter what, and that their behavior is something you will work on together. Remind them that their bullying, whether physical, verbal, or online, is causing others pain—and ask them if there might be a reason why they are lashing out. Often, bullying behaviors can be fueled by feelings of insecurity or a lack of control.
  3. Find teachable moments. Whether you’re watching a TV show together or you witness bullying at the mall, find the underlying lesson and engage in dialogue with your child so they truly understand what bullying is and who its impacts.
  4. Monitor social media. You’re the parent and you make the rules. One rule you can implement is that you have full access to your child’s social media profiles; this way, you can monitor the content they post as well as any messages they send to other kids.
  5. Or, limit screen time & access. It’s a lot harder to engage in cyberbullying when your child doesn’t have internet access. Use site-blocking tools on your web browser, and make smartphone time something your child must actively earn through good behavior.
  6. Volunteer with your child. Exposing your child to situations where they can see those less fortunate than them is a great exercise in teaching compassion. Consider picking an organization based on something that your child has already expressed some interest in. For instance, if they love acting in school plays, you could see if there are arts charities in your area where they could put their skills to good use to help others.

Parents – have you had experience with your child bullying other children? Leave your tips for other parents in the comments below.