Ever got a report from school, family members or neighbours telling you your child is a bully?
I guess your heart probably sank; you had a rush of emotions, or you felt sad and disappointed.
Did you think you have been a bad parent? Did you judge yourself hard by saying you are not great or good at this parenting job?
Mum, calm down and maybe take a glass of cold water, no one was born ready for this role, and no one received a manual ahead of time so they can get it right.
It’s OK to drop balls, it’s OK not to know what to do, and it’s also OK to not get it right all the time, but what’s not OK is not wanting to be better or ask for help when you need it.
So, you get that call or report to say your child has been bullying other children; what’s next?
Before you rush and react, it’s essential to know that children are not bullies because they are bad children. Let’s see why they started this habit.
- It could be a way of getting your attention and you haven’t been able to get it through other means, not that it’s an excuse or we should condone it.
- They just want me to be part of the cool clique, and so they end up hurting others.
- They have been bullied somewhere else and want to try and get back power.
- The child does not fully understand how the other children feel.
- The child might be using that as a defence mechanism because she perceives others as hostile.
Now we have looked at how they get into bullying, let’s see how we can help them overcome the habit of bullying others.
Ways to help a child overcome the habit of bullying
1. TALK ABOUT THE SITUATION:
Suppose you get a report about your child being a bully, the first thing to speak about it. Have open, honest and transparent communication about the situation. Be ready to hear the child’s side of the story, be vulnerable about how you feel about the situation.
This will help understand why and how the child got to this point and find a solution.
As mentioned earlier, children might mirror what they see at home. Check to see that there are no harmful interactions within the house; people yell at each other, name-calling and inappropriate displays of anger. Reanalyze how your behaviours as parents influence them too. Eliminate every hostile atmosphere and begin to promote a positive environment within the home.
3. USE LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES:
Your child needs to understand that bullying is a choice and there are consequences for their actions. Punishments should not be vague but must tailor to solving the issue. For example, parents can withdraw their privileges if such privileges fuel the act of bullying; this could mean removing them from a position that they hold for a time or an internet and phone ban in the case of cyberbullying for a time too. The end game is to help them realize and learn that a healthy relationship is possible, and having some measure of power over others should not influence how you treat them.
4. SEEK HELP :
Walk with the school if they have disciplinary measures to help correct this behaviour and in cases where counselling or therapy is needed, please follow through. Make sure the child is fully aware and involved when taking this action, remember communication should be ongoing.
5. SKIP THE RAGE :
Shaming the child is not a solution but might make the situation worse. Skip telling the whole family and anyone who cares to listen about the child’s bad behaviour. In this age where the internet is like the in thing, you can drop your problem. Some parents put up pictures of the child and ask the world to pray for them. The child can feel embarrassed, but no change will come.
6. MONITOR PROGRESS:
Be deliberate about following up with the school and therapist as they work with your child to know how they are doing. Getting feedback can also help you handle things at home. If the child engages more in cyberbullying, have their passwords so you can do routine checks. The parents shouldn’t do this secretly, and the child should be aware from the get-go that you will be checking in.
7. MAKE IT RIGHT:
Once you have explained the consequences of what the child had done, they should be made to apologize to the person they hurt. In addition, the parent should be willing to issue an apology to the parents of those other kids and the school. This will further enforce your stand on the matter, and the child can also learn that apologizing when in the wrong doesn’t bring you down.
8. PRAY FOR YOUR CHILDREN:
Stay connected with your kids in the place of prayer, and before starting the correction process, pray for them to understand and their hearts to be receptive to change.
It may seem challenging when the news first hit, but it is easier to handle when equipped with the correct information to handle the situation best.
Children with whom you keep open communication will most likely give you information about themselves even in adolescence.
You can check out this post; 9 Ways To Help A Child Cope With Bullying.
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