April 14, 2016

Is Your Son Or Daughter A Bully?

Signs That Your Son Or Daughter May Be A Bully

Research shows that 33% of North American children are being bullied, it’s a staggering number, but did you know that 20% will admit to being a bully? In spite of the fact that most parents are not only aware of bullying but are keeping a lookout for bullies most often they are watching for others who may be bullying their children. What if your child is the bully? It may be hard to admit that your child could be instigating, or participating in, bullying but it is important to watch for the signs and take action.

For the most part children understand that bullying is wrong and that is why bullying is rarely an issue when parents, or other authority figures, are present. Bullies can often be hard to spot due to the fact that they are likely to behave very well when around adults. This makes identifying bullying difficult, but not impossible. First parents must overcome the urge to immediately disqualify their child as the possible culprit. Understandably, it may be hard to imagine your own child teasing or mistreating their peers, but the fact of the matter is that bullying is taking place at an alarming rate and for bullying to take place there needs to be a bully, and that bully is someone’s child.

As a parents it is important to watch for the following sings that your son or daughter may be a bully:

  • A perceived positive view towards violence
  • Aggressiveness shown towards parents, teachers or other authority figures
  • Tendency to push boundaries, test limits and break rules
  • A tendency to get into trouble at school
  • Ability to easily talking their way out of tense or difficult situations
  • A perceived need to control and dominate other people and situations
  • An obsession with social status or popularity
  • Impulsiveness
  • Easily frustrated and often hot tempered
  • Little sympathy shown to those who are bullied
  • Friends show signs of aggressive tendencies
  • Violence taking place at home

These sings may be leading indicators that your son or daughter is involved in bullying and should they be prevalent, you should follow them up. As much as you may not want to admit that your child is a bully you definitely don’t want to allow your children’s actions to go unchecked, allowing them to stay bullies. The long-term effects for bullies who don’t change their actions are often significant as these patterns of aggression tend to continue into dating, workplace and family relationships.

Bullying doesn’t just affect the victim, but the aggressor as well. The following are some of potential long term effects on the bullies themselves:

  • Long term abuse of alcohol and/or drugs – as adolescents and adults
  • Predisposition to commit criminal actives
  • Tendency to engage in early sexual activities
  • Inclination to engage in fights
  • More likely to drop out of school
  • Predisposition to become abusive with partners, spouses, family, friends and co-workers

Obviously these are not qualities which a parent wishes to instill in their children which is why it is important to watch for and take action against bullying in every form.

What To Do If You Think Your Son Or Daughter May Be A Bully

There are many ways to combat bullying, and should you believe that your son or daughter may be a bully here are a few ways you and your family can help to prevent or stop bullying:

  • Spend time with your children – Children need a daily and personal connection with parents, teachers and other authority figures
  • Support children who are being bullied – Make sure they understand they are cared for and important
  • If your child is the bully ensure to establish clear and consistent consequences – It is important to follow through
  • Help to implement or support bullying prevention at your child’s school
  • Encourage others to support anti-bullying
  • Encourage bystanders to say something
  • Step in whenever you see bullying
  • Create a home environment of tolerance – Ensure everyone feels valued and that differences are celebrated

Whatever it is that raises the red flag your reaction and responses will have a critical effect the outcome of the situation. It is important to manage your initial reaction with care. Fear, shame and denial are all common reactions. Some parents may feel panic and become defensive, others may that they are horrible parents but just remember by responding appropriately to the situation you can bring about a positive resolution. The reactions of parents can turn what may seem like a disaster into a learning experience. As parents it is important to manage your reaction, get to the bottom of what is going on and work with your child, and all others involved if possible, to resolve the situation. If you have learned of a bullying situation from a third party, take some time to process the information and give yourself time to calm down. Talk with your child. Try to have a calm, non-judgemental conversation. Give your child the opportunity to express their feelings and judge the situation. Should the situation call for it, teach your child responsibility and ensure they understand the consequences for such actions. As a parent it is crucial that you help your child identify exactly what they did and help them to be both accountable and open in apologizing. Make sure your child understands that this is a serious matter and that you are going to help to ensure that these actions do not continue. Even if you require outside help, such as a school counselor or friend, teach your child positive ways to deal with tension, conflict and aggressiveness. Ensure that it is understood that aggression and violence are not acceptable coping skills. Encourage good behaviour and make sure your child knows you are there to help and support them. Be the approachable, supportive parent that helps to solve problems, not make them worse.

No parent wants to find out that their child is a bully, and as hard as it may be to admit, it is crucial that parents watch for the signs and take action so we can all work to Bully No More.

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