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Bullying at school is a very serious problem. Most parents have made themselves aware of the symptoms. Your child may become anxious, fearful, overly emotional, irritable, withdrawn and afraid to go to school. Schools have anti bullying policies, so you expect your child will be taken care of when you bring it to the administration.
But what if your child is the bully?
Were there signs?
It would be nice if it were clear cut signs that your child is engaging in inappropriate social behavior. Maybe if all of their classmates ran and screamed in terror whenever they entered the room, for example. Then you’d know you and your little angel need to have a talk. Unfortunately, most people are usually shocked to find their child has been bullying their peers.
Why do children bully?
Children engage in bullying at school for many different reasons. This includes:
- feeling out of control. Are their changes going on in their life?
- having an excess of anger and not knowing how to handle it
- enjoying the attention. Getting others to bend is thrilling for some children (and adults bullies, too).
- attempting to keep others at a distance because of fears of letting people see the real them and all of their insecurities.
They may be targeting another child who they see as having more friends or talents. They may also target a child they see as weaker, thus an easy target. There are many reasons a child might bully. The first step is figuring out why it is happening.
How to address your little bully?
As soon as you find out your child is bullying, talk to them about it. Listen to their side of the story. Perhaps another child was equally involved, but the teacher only learned of your child’s participation.
I got a call from day camp saying my daughter had threatened to kill another little girl who was now sobbing uncontrollably. It didn’t take long to discover that the girl had poured juice all over my daughter and push her off a bench prior to my normally timid child lashing out.
Listen to your child and investigate any concerns with administration. However, it is important to make clear to your child that bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in your family.
Form a team
Work together with the teacher and administration to come up with a plan to reduce bullying at school. Keep in frequent communication and instruct them to let you know if there are any concerns right away. If the bullying continues, make an appointment with a child psychologist to help you get to the bottom of it.
No child is perfect. Most will engage in some form of bullying at some point. Your child will get past this with your help.