What do you do if your Child is being Bullied?
Bullying has become an all too common behaviour for all our children. The emphasis is always on the child who is bullied, but what if it is your child who is bullying? What do you do?
It is important to identify the reasons for bullying; and there are many. It may occur after a traumatic event for the child, and is quite common after a new baby arrives, or if the parents have separated, or finally if there is a death of a loved one. What has brought him to a place of needing to bully?
If a child has a controlling or dominant parent, he may be passive at home yet outside may repeat the parent’s behaviour where he can get away with it. This is due to the child not feeling powerful at home, and therefore needing to exert power outside the home. The parent is a model for the child, and if the parent is aggressive and domineering, it is likely that the child will mirror these behaviours. Disrespectful relationships at home may make a child feel humiliated and inadequate, and result in bullying to feel empowered. It follows on that the child who is being bullied at home and blamed for everything may be the reason they bully.
A child, who feels no sense of accomplishment, may through controlling others gain a sense of accomplishment through their bullying. Sometimes, the bully is the child who is very spoilt; and who thinks that everyone is at his command.
What can you do if your child is bullying? Many parents never look to themselves and instead blame everyone else, when they need take responsibility. Perhaps the question to ask is ‘What is causing him to bully, how am I interacting with him, does he feel loved?’The cause is usually found in relationships, how the child perceives self, and the cure is through a good relationship. Reflect on how you interact, do you mirror his self worth or do you shout, roar and never apologise? Is the behaviour a cry for help, if so rather than judge your child, he needs your understanding and help to resolve. There are two main reasons: a feeling of not being loved enough and low self esteem. Therefore, punishment will only close the only avenue your child has of communicating their difficulty to you. Instead, set guidelines and boundaries to help him control his behaviour and mirror his value and your love for him. Ensure your child apologises. Negotiate rules he will sign up to; agree what happens if rules are kept/broken. Follow through is essential maybe with an weekly review meeting. What is more important however, is a 1 on 1 with your child perhaps a trip to a match or movie so he feels loved and secure. Give him opportunity to develop skills and this results in competence and increased confidence. Ask his opinion as this shows you value what he thinks and makes him feel good about himself. That means you have to separate the bullying behaviour from the child (‘I love you but will not accept this behaviour’) and resolve through an affirming, loving relationship.
- Take responsibility if it is your child who is bullying
- It is a cry for help, the bully needs help too
- A bully has self esteem difficulties, so increase self esteem
- Separate the child from his behaviour & always love your child
- ‘I love you, but can’t accept this behaviour’
- Do not judge him, he needs to be understood
- Set guidelines & rules to help him control his behaviour
- Ensure he apologises to heal the hurt
- How do you interact with him?
- What is happening at Home & at School?
This article was written by Sheila O’Malley, Practical Parenting, web: www.practicalparenting.ie
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