My Child is Bullying Others

If you think your child might be bullying other children, you may not be sure what steps to take. Some parents are hesitant to address the problem because they want to remain supportive of their child. Be assured that becoming involved in addressing your child’s bullying behaviours will not only benefit the child being bullied, but your child as well. There is evidence that suggests that children who are characterized as bullies often become involved in criminal activity as young adults. So it’s really important to get involved at the first sign of bullying behaviour.

What might be causing the bullying behaviour? Here are some possible reasons to consider. Your child: 

  • May not know it is wrong or realize how hurtful it is to other children 

  • May not have the language skills to relate appropriately with other children 

  • May not have learned to empathize with others 

  • May gain recognition and popularity from their aggressive behaviour 

  • May be encouraged to bully others by someone whom he/she respects 

  • May be mimicking violent or aggressive behaviour they regularly witness 

  • May be attempting to establish some personal power because they feel weak and powerless

How you can help

Children who bully also need help. The bullying behaviour may be a sign that they are in distress, too.

  • Talk to your child. Assure your child that you will help him/her learn how to get along with other children. 

  • Listen to your child. Listen for concerns, fears or worries. 

  • It is important to play with your child so you can listen for the feeling messages. Sometimes children tell us very important things through their play. 

  • Believe your child. Ask for your child’s confidence and trust and promise you will always be there to help. 

  • Keep your promise. If you are having trouble helping your child on your own, seek help from your family, your child’s teacher or other school personnel, your doctor, your religious community or other social welfare supports in your area. 

  • Participate in counselling or other family support activities. 

  • Praise, focus on and reinforce positive behaviour/skills. Help your child practice these behaviour/skills. 

  • Follow up and never give up!