Helping my child deal with bullies – in school, the playground, or even on the Internet – made me understand how bullies operate.
Dr. M. Pulido, in a Huffington Post article, wrote that children who resort to bullying often lack empathy and compassion for other’s feelings. Some fail to recognize boundaries since discipline had not been enforced on them. Some may just be angry about events in their lives or they themselves have low self-esteem. Because of their need of control over their own lives, they like to exert power or dominance on others, sometimes even just to get attention themselves. Sometimes, hanging out with the wrong crowd and feeling the need to impress their peers also result to bullying.
Surprisingly enough, Dr. Pulido also mentioned that if your child is the bully, it is possible that he may have also been a victim of bullying and is trying to retaliate.
I know . . . Keep calm . . . Keep calm. Let me give you tips on how you can approach the situation:
Determine the root of the problem. Ask honest questions that can help determine reasons behind your child’s behavior. Remember, YOU are the one that can help break the cycle of “The Bully” behaviour.
Let your child understand what a bully is. The very first step is acknowledging that their behaviour is hurting another person. Explain about bullying and the harm it can do. Define what constitutes bullying – name-calling, physical violence, etc. – and the repercussions of such actions.
Teach Empathy. Help them understand the consequences of bullying and the harm it can do like how his actions make others feel. Dr. Pulido suggests “role play” how they will handle future conflicts. Help them find ways to apologize to those they have hurt. Make it known that you will not tolerate bullying.
Listen to your child. Could it be that your child is also bullied and need better ways to deal with bullies? Could it be that his aggressive behaviour results from having wrong friends? A study by Texas A&M educational psychologist Jan N. Hughes, suggests that associating with children who are defiant and aggressive increases their chances on delinquency.
Be a good role model. Kids are very keen observers and are sponges of information. Older siblings especially should be encouraged to lessen teasing their younger siblings and be role models. Nothing beats having a child growing up witnessing good values and manners practiced in everyday life. Reinforcement of good behaviour can extend to their other activities; it is best to enroll them in sports programs or classes like Karate, Tae Kwan Do and Capoeira. These programs introduce discipline and restraint, and would be great for children with a lot of pent up energy needing positive release.
If your child continues to display aggressive behaviour, talk to a professional. They can help them understand why they act as they do. Further counseling may be needed, for bullying tendencies.
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