Saturday, June 13, 2015

Is your child a bully? If so, you must work to STOP IT NOW

What is (almost) worse than finding out your child is being bullied? Finding out your child is the bully and, perhaps, even the ringleader. If this is your child, you MUST address it quickly and decisively because that is just NOT ok. And child bullies grow up to become teen bullies and adult bullies. Nip that in the bud. Here is my latest via Divorced Moms.

Help, My Child Is A Bully. 10 Steps To Ending It NOW
by Lizzy Smith                    
June 12, 2015
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Fotolia_22362804_XS.jpgI have nightmares about my children becoming the victims of a bully. But what does a mom do when she finds out that her child is doing the bullying?

Years ago when my daughter was three years old and in pre school, one of her teachers told me that she targeted a boy in her class, "James," and bit him. Hard. I was horrified. Apparently she wasn't very nice to James and it was going on for some time. The teacher felt she was managing it ok until my daughter resorted to violence. I drove the whole way home in near silence. I was too angry to speak and trying to decide how to handle it. I had an epiphany.

First, the conversation. "Did you bite James?"

"Yes."

"Why?" I asked.

"I don't know," she responded.

"Do you think that's a good choice?"

"No."

At this point, I'm wondering if this entire exchange is over her head.

"What is your favorite toy?" I asked. It took her a few minutes to pick out an electronic game. "You are giving it to James tomorrow."

She didn't like that and cried for a solid hour. The next day, I was there when she handed her beloved toy to James and apologized. It never happened again.

If there's one thing I absolutely want tolerate from my children is bullying. If I find out they are the target, it won't be pretty for the offenders, I can assure you that. But if I find out my daughters are dishing it out, it won't be any better for them.

So what's a mom to do if we find out our child is perpetuating bullying?

1. Lead By Example
First, make sure that you are kind to those around you. I've known quite a few women, in the workplace, church, neighborhood and various social circles, who are incredibly mean to one another. You'd think as adults, we would know better but this is apparently not the case. So if you don't want your child to mistreat others, make sure you're not doing it either. Talking behind one another's backs (especially when in earshot of our kids) is a no. Ganging up on others? Again, another no. General cattiness? Do your best to STOP. I'm not saying I like everyone around me, in fact I really don't. But in those really extreme cases (like you find out a "friend" is sleeping with another friend's husband), keep that information away from your children. Pattern good behavior in front of your children.

2. Define Bullying
There may be a chance that your child isn't aware that they are a bully. Explain what bullying is, why it is hurtful, and how to stop it. Teach them how to stand up for another child, even if it's difficult.

3. Talk To Your Child
Have a long talk with your children to find out why the bullying is going on. Is he the ringleader of the bullying or a follower? Is your child afraid to stick up for the other child? You must find out the reasons why your child is bullying, regardless of their age. The better you can understand, the better chance you have of ending it. If there are a group of children bullying another child, ask to speak to their parents. Together, you can perhaps come up with solutions.

4. Set Expectations (A "Zero Tolerance" policy is a great idea)
You must do your best to nip this behavior in the bud. Let them know you won't tolerate the behavior and it must end immediately. Point out the real consequences on victim's lives.

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