When my kids were young we didn’t use the term bully or talk about being bullied. We did talk about what happened in school and looking back, it was bullying. There was no support and we used the old adage, “Sticks and Stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nice saying but we all know that words do hurt.
While there’s a lot of talk about what to do if your child is bullied, we don’t hear as much about what to do if your child is the bully. There is a list of resources at Stomp Out Bullying. I encourage you to visit their site for lots more information.
If you discover that your child is bullying other kids, before anything else, remain calm. For many of us, we feel embarrassed, ashamed that our kid is a bully and for some a first reaction is anger. Instead stop for a moment and realize that it probably means your child has a problem. And as parents, don’t we ultimately want to help them? Of course we do!
Take it seriously if you are told your child is bullying other children in school or at play. Many parents want to minimize it, think it’s just teasing. Maybe it is and teasing can be hurtful too. Take this very seriously.
Spend some time talking to your child calmly. Ask questions; get curious. Ask them what they think is going on? Ask them what they think about their behavior, how would it feel if someone acted that way toward them. Let them know that you are going to help them and that you love them. Ask them how they think they can turn this around and then how you can help.
Let the teacher know that you take this seriously and that you are going to work with them to stop the bullying. Some children may need outside help and some parents may need help in dealing with this. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. Help is right around the corner!