Finding out that your child is involved in a bullying situation as the aggressor is not a pleasant experience. But it always needs to be taken seriously and addressed immediately. If you learn that your child is either the primary aggressor or simply a member of a group of aggressors, it’s important to determine if you have contributed to the problem.
Here are three things that can help you determine if you have contributed to the problem:
Take it seriously
Ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Never brush off a problem that is brought to your attention. If someone takes the time to tell you that your child is bullying, chances are it's true. It takes a lot of courage for a child who is being bullied to tell an adult.
When someone approaches you about your child and a potential bullying situation, it is very important that you listen to all of the information given. After the conversation, you can take the time to watch your child in various situations and determine the best way to address the problem. In some situations, simply bringing the concern to light and addressing the situation with your child will help to stop the behavior before it gets out of control.
. Are you setting a bad example? Are you acting as a bully yourself either at home or in social situations? Take a hard look at yourself and determine if you have, in fact, contributed to the problem by intimidating or bullying others. If so, you must take immediate action.
Immediately work to stop your own behavior. It is impossible to ask a child to stop a behavior they are learning first hand in their own home.
Set an example
As you learn to control your own behavior your child will see the change and work to do the same.
If your child does not stop bullying as you do, you can explain how and why you made the change and encourage your child to do it as well.
Evaluate your child
Try to determine what motivates the behavior.
Does your child bully as a way of acting out for attention? If your child is not getting enough attention at home they may try bullying or picking on others as a way of getting your attention. A child who bullies may do so because they lack positive attention at home. If you determine that this is a contributing factor to your child’s bullying, it can be fixed quickly and easily. Simply devote more time and positive attention to your child in the home.
Bullying can also be an indication of low self-esteem. Help your child realize their own self-worth as well as the worth of others. You can begin by spending time together as a family and then have discussions with your child about empathy.
When your child is involved in a bullying situation, either as the bully or as the bullied it is an important concern that needs to be addressed immediately. First, take time to look at your child, their environment they, and factors that may be contributing to the problem. Then, determine the best way to address the issue and create a positive plan for moving forward.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.