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Home Parenting Big Kids Raising Your Child *Not* To Be A Bully

Raising Your Child *Not* To Be A Bully

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No parent expects to get that dreaded phone call. Your child's teacher tells you that your child is mistreating someone in his or her class and you need to come in. Or worse, it's that child's mom screaming at you over the phone. Your immediate reaction is to defend your kid, all the while thinking, "My child is not like that. She would never do that." Then the doubts about yourself begin - thoughts of being a bad parent or what you did wrong. 

Take a deep breath.

The reality is, bullying can be caused by many different factors. Your child may be lashing out about something at home, trying to exert control, or acting out to get attention. You need to calmly address the problem, get to the root of their behavior, then take steps to ensure that your child understands the impact of his or her actions. 

If you get that phone call, take these steps so that you can calmly deal with the problem! 

  • React calmly and take a moment to process. Don't automatically get defensive.
  • Ask for details. If the child's parent is upset and shouting, ask her to calm down so you can talk this through.
  • Ask your child for his side of the events without bringing other kids into it. If they are skewering events or claiming that they were provoked, ask if ANYTHING the counselor said is true.
  • Ask why he or she is mistreating the kid and if there is a deeper unhappiness about something.
  • Use an analogy to teach empathy/compassion and make your child understand the consequences of his actions. Anyone can be the bully and anyone can be the victim. A good analogy is to ask how he would feel if someone did that to his little sister. 
  • Have your child accept responsibility for her actions.
  • Have your child apologize and make amends for his actions.
  • Make it clear there will be consequences if this behavior continues.

Although it can be hard to hear, be thankful that you are hearing about this behavior now so that you can address it and parent your kid to grow into a better adult! 

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