What if your child is the bully?

Most parents are prepared to teach their children how to handle bullying - tell an adult, learn to defend themselves, and stand up for others who are being bullied are just some of the many responses parents teach their children. But what if your child is the bully? How do you handle the news that your little one is picking on other children?

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22  Answers

4 12

One thing to always remember is that Hurt people, hurt people. Because of this, there is usually something making that child fearful, angry or non-empathetic, that he or she was not born with. I would suggest parent(s) and child see a professional to sort out the underlying issue(s) and work on a new skill set. You would be surprised how easily this can be addressed and open up great communication for you and your child.

9
11 12

Well, I certainly would hope that the parent would do everything in their power to STOP the behavior immediately - OR be held accountable for their childs actions and the outcome of any violence or threatening situations from their child to another. However, having had to deal with a child bullying my daughter at a Very young age (the 5th grade), I went to the parent or the child to see if we could discuss the problem and maybe work it out, without being accusatory etc. The Mother of this girl laughed in my face and told me to tell my daughter to Suck It Up and if I didn't like it, I was free to go "F" myself..... needless to say, it is (and usually is) apparent where a child gets this behavior from. More often then not, a Bully is bread at home, by either ignorant overbearing parents, or uncaring uninvolved parents, which is why I believe Parents should be held responsible for their childs actions and behavior!

6
11 12

The Forum only asked what IF your child was the bully, so I responded to that. And I suggested to do Everything in your power to STOP the behavior, which means whatever is necessary and Make SURE they are held accountable for their actions. Punish them, take away their 'toys', phones pc's and limit their time and exposure to the other girls that are contributing to the problem. A child should learn early in life there are consequences for their actions - even if the other girls don't get punished, maybe you could talk to the other parents.

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0 37

To All concern Parents, Bullies need to be stopped as soon as it starts,
because if you allow it once, it will just get worst. Adults & Children need to be made
aware that it's not talorated & theirs a price to pay for those actions.
Bullies are even in the work place, which tells me that it was never corrected in the first place
Where I grew up ,if you didn't stand up for yourself. You would be bullied.
I taught my children not to start , but don't let no-one try to bully you. Bullies need to be
Stopped from young no matter what disabilities the little one has.
Concerned Mother / Grandmother

5
5 6

I have a child who can be sweet and will watch out for the smaller ones who are being bullied but will also turn around and become the bully with children his own age. Some of this is due to his disabilities. He has ADHD, OCD, ODD, and is Bi-polar. In order to stop this behavior I have taken it upon myself to seek professional help. He sees a counselor once a week, has group therapy once a week, and see's the counselor at school as often as needed. I take full responsibility for his actions and do not condone them and when he is acting like a bully he receives a consequence for his actions. That consequence could be as simple as being grounded or as severe as loosing all privileges for a week depending on how bad his actions are.

5
11 12

In an instance where a child has a disability of any sort, learning, physical or mental, these are instances where there are extenuating circumstances and should of COURSE be taken into consideration when a child is bullying or being confronted about their bullying. I would never presume to say that any child at any kind of disadvantage to his peers is cause for additional leeway where flexibility is concerned in regard to Bullying or even disciplinary issues. Please do not take offence to anything I wrote, it was not intended as a blanket statement, encompassing every single child under every circumstance, but generally speaking bullying is about power and control of smaller, younger, less fortunate children who cannot or will not defend themselves and THAT is unacceptable.

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4 1

First the parent would have to acknowledge that their "precious angel" is bullying other kids. Most of the time the parents' "sweet, innocent child would never hurt anyone" and thus in their own way are supporting their child's behavior. Usually by believing what ever tall tale their child has concocted to make the victim seem like the instigator and them the poor bystander.

4
32 42

I have experienced positive parent-to-parent communication, with my 5yr old son on both sides of the issue. And I believe there is a time for an adult to step in directly with other's children.

My son was being harassed by a child with mental disabilities. I was trying to teach my son compassion, understanding so I told him to try and accept the other child's different and overly enthusiastic way of being. But after coming home with 'enthusiastic' fingernail marks on his face, I was feeling less tolerant of this child being allowed to 'express' himself. I got together with the parents so we could watch them play and see what was really happening. And indeed the other child was innocently trying to be friendly with way too much enthusiasm. After coming home again with nail marks on his face, and hearing "oh he means good" by both parents and school, I decided it was time to let the child know how I felt about it. I agree that screaming will never work as a way to teach a child, so I got down to the child's level and told him clearly "Please do not touch my son's face. You might hurt him by mistake. I do not want you to hurt my son." It seems to have worked so far and I still have an easy relationship with his mom.
On the other side, I (later) heard that my son participated in a group harassment of a new younger boy. I was so shocked and in disbelief as I had never seen bully in him. I immediately punished him by withdrawing all privileges and showing him how sad it made me feel. He was by my side helping me work all afternoon. The next day he was fine and I got an opportunity to talk to the little boy's parents, something I was dreading but felt needed doing. They dismissed it as boy play and we ended up having a friendly talk. I still take it very seriously but feel better able to confront any future episodes after having these positive experiences with talking to parents.
I would hope that any adult would feel free to step in and calmly tell my son to stop doing whatever it was that was disturbing them. I think it is crucial for children to have several reference points, especially (but not necessarily) if they reflect a parent's p.o.v.
I had to be rather firm the other day telling some children in the park not to run all over the freshly planted flowers. They kept an eye on me afterwards. I could not find their parents so I did not bother mentioning that it was probably not a good idea to jump in the fountain with their pants and shoes on ;) I just made sure they didn't drown :)

3
129 36

Confront them, find out why they are bullying and maybe their is a answer that's logical in their eyes but not in anyone else's. Explain that they need to stop and that they wouldn't like getting bullied. IF it doesn't work maybe play them at their own game and bully them for the day. If they see how they're effecting others they might just want to stop.

2
50 24

I have to say that I was on both ends as a child. I was never taught how to deal with someone picking on me or hurting me so in my frustration I would take it out on another child. When I first adopted my daughter I had to teach her how to associate how she felt when she was bullied and how it felt for the other child when she was bullied. I had to teach her that she had to be responsible for how she treated others. It was easier for her to do when she then had to go make amends to the child that she had bullied. I think that that is where a lot of parents are missing out by not teaching thier kids to empathise and not teaching the kids to accept responsibility by making amends to that child. In most cases "sorry" is just a word and doesn't really mean anything to them anymore.

2
0 16

I actually believe this is the best approach when your child is doing the bullying and you find out about it. I always (with any child, not just my own, that I see being mean) ask them how they would feel if someone was doing that to them. Most of the time, the response I get is an immediate understanding of how hurtful they are being. I spend a lot of time at the elementary school tutoring 4th graders who are way behind in their abilities. Unfortunately, it is because at previous schools they have been written off as troublemakers instead of delving into why they were behaving the way they were. These children (not all) act out and cause trouble because they are afraid that someone might see that they don't understand what they are being taught. They would rather look mean than dumb. Since I began tutoring one of the students, her comprehension of what she is learning has increased tremendously, her confidence has increased, and her time in trouble in class has decreased tremendously. As adults, we have to teach our children that sometimes it's not because the other child is a bad person, it may be that they have things going on in their lives that we don't see. Sometimes we need to remember that we need to work on getting to know the children and finding ways to help them. Even if it's just being there to listen when they need someone to talk to.

9 1

I haven't been there, just on the other side, but I would have to say that counselling to get to the root of it would be the very first step. I have to give kudos to any parent that is willing to accept that their kid is an instigator; it's a tough thing to admit, and most people aren't inclined to do it.

I'm not sure how it was handled at home, but the one time I did talk to another parent about the situation with my child being bullied, she was very receptive to what I had to say, and encouraged me to keep her apprised of the how it progressed. I do know, from his (much) older sister, that he was in deep trouble. Probably the other most important step is to make it abundantly clear that the behavior won't be tolerated. Pull in other people (teachers, other parents...) to help you watch him/her and let you know how it's going.

Sorry I can't be more helpful/specific. Best of luck!

2
63 11

my son is 4 and tends to be a bully he has an older brother who is six and two younger sisters i try my best to try and stop his behaviour but nothing seems to work talking to him im just ignored putting in corner doesn't work even to the point of giving him smack just laughs it off ( only usually happens when attempting to hit or kick sisters age 2 and 1 ) anyone with ideas hope to take him to doc asap but all booked for now

1
0 25

I totally get it, and fear for my children and others because of the animosity that my 4 year old has towards others. No empathy, and time outs, taking away privelages, etc, doesnt work. He has been like this since infancy. We are seeing a devopmenal ped., but it upsets me that this is his personality. Those people that claim parents are always to blame are ignorant to the fact that there are many parents to that are aware, concerned and doing their best, but some children are born with some sort of psychological disturbance, and it has nothing to do with parenting. My advice to you is to see a child psychologist and developmental pediatrician to see if there is some sort of OT that could help.

0 42

Bullies are all around us, like cheaters, liars and rudeness. If you can teach a child at an early age not only that you do not bully, lie, cheat, etc. is essential. You need to show the child how it feels to be on the flipside, how it feels, how you feel and can you imagine how others feel because of what you're doing or saying? In other words, put yourself in their position...once a child feels the pain himself, they will think twice about being a bully. Right or wrong, but to show us not to play with fire, my mom touched us with a match, it hurt, and we didn't want to hurt, so we didn't play with fire. I have a girl friend, again, right or wrong, whose child was a bitter, she bit her child back and that ended that. Whether it's not wanting to hurt physically or emotionally, it is upto us, parents, educators and society to be aware that bullying is in the air we breath and we need to address it, pronto!

1
0 42

Lets be kind everyday, to everybody. http://www.squidoo.com/warmheartedwalrus

0 0

I think the best thing we can do is really take a clear look at what the actions of our child was. Don't put your head in the sand and say, "Not my kid!" or "Kids will be kids!" Take the accusation seriously and, if your child is old enough, take the time to teach your child about the far reaching harmful results of bullying.I would talk to him/her about why he/she is bullying. If the bullying continued, I would take an honest look with my child at statistics about the affects of bullying, both on the perpetrator and the victim, and maybe have them talk to older people who were bullied as kids.. I would talk to my child about appropriate ways to treat others, and make it clear that bullying would never be accepted. I would keep on having the dialogue, and if necessary, I would give consequences every time an incident occurs. If my child was too young for this, I would continually talk about respecting others and being kind....and I would give appropriate consequences every time my child was a bully. I know we all want to have our kids' backs and support them, but the worse thing you can do is defend your child's actions or make excuses for them.

1
0 14

If I thought or heard that my child was bullying others, I'd pounce to action. First, education is most important. I'd quickly tell my child stories of being on the receiving end of bullying and intimidation. Second, I'd quickly get my child involved in a peer group to help him/her see the negative side to bullying, directly.

I recently read that a teacher had her students crumple up a piece of paper. Then she instructed them to smooth it out, by the end of the week. This exercise taught them that nothing can completely smooth out the effects of bullying.

1
24 60

I honestly have a boy who was bullied in every school we've tried to put him in, and that's why he's now being homeschooled and loves it. However, there are times when I notice that he's overly aggressive with his brother, and we discipline him accordingly. (Times out, take away his privilidges, and also tell/show him how he SHOULD be treating his brother.) We also insist that he apogolize with sincerity for his behavior. He has his spurts where it's worse than others, but overall he does pretty good with his brother and the kids we have that come over.
However, kids have a way of being mean without realizing that's what they are doing at times. (In some homes the parents are installing it in their kids without meaning to do it.)

1
0 0

I FEEL SO BAD RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE I DID NOT DO ANY THINGS. MY SON WAS PICKED ON EVERY DAY, SINCE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. HE TOLD THE TEACHER THAT THEY WAS STEAL HIS STUFF AND HE DID NOT DO NOTHING. ONE OF THING THEY DID WAS THEY STOLE HIS PENCILS AND PEN, THE BROKE THEM AND THREW AT HIM. I CAN GO ON ON OF THING THEY DID TO HIM. BUT THE PASS FRIDAY HE TOOK HIS ANGER ON ONE OF THE BOY. WHAT I UNDERSTAND THE BOYS THAT WAS PICKING ON HIM DID NOT GET NO TIME AT HOME. I AM SO SCARE THAT WHEN HE GO BACK TO SCHOOL THEY WILL JUMP ON HIS.

0
47 0

If my child were to be a bully, I would first take a look at how he got to be that way. Unfortunately a kid who becomes a bully is someone that has been bullied. The amount of unpleasant punishment, verbal abuses and/or physical punishment a kid receives from his or her parents (or others), will determine the amount of retaliation a kid will exert on others thus becoming a bully. Get more parenting tips on a new website at http://www.truekidsstories.org

0
10 0

My daughter tends to pick on her brother and other children. She is considered developmentally delayed and the word 'bi-polar' has been thrown around by the psychiatrists and specialists we've seen. Because she's so young(she'll be 5 on sep. 9th) no official diagnosis has been made as of yet. We work on her violent behavior a lot at home. What I have found makes a big difference is how I handle consequences in the home and what tv shows or movies I let her watch. For example, I let her watch iCarly one evening and for the next month she thought it was funny to hit. She watched a Star Wars cartoon once and every long object became a weapon to hit other people with for months. She's busted her little brother's lip and nose repeatedly and laughs. It's only now as I explain to her and she sees her brother stitched up(he was in a cast for a month with a broken leg for an unrelated incident) that she's starting to understand the consequences for people getting hurt. I think once you re-sensitize a child by eliminating violence and cruelty in their routine, they have a better understanding and compassion for others. Playing with toy guns, watching violent cartoons etc may be normal...but how can you let a child watch shows with villains and violence and then expect every last one of them to just understand it's not okay? And if you yell and are harsh with your kid, you might as well just assume they'll be that way to everyone else, including you.

0
0 4

it all starts at home , there is no mom at home to teach , they are at work , dad is long gone , if they have a bad parent that dont care also where thier kids are those kids never learn,the consqusences of thier actions at home then they take it out on the shy quite kids at school , , now they can't disaplen at school anymore , now it's up to the police , they can't anymore so what do we do ?????

0
11 12

Virginia, You make a Very good point. If the parents are not there, or do not care enough to monitor and dicipline their children, punish them and teach them there are consequences to their actions, it becomes a larger problem. Then the teachers also cannot punish or give the child a firm hand or guidance and the kids think they can just do what they want with NO punishment, these are the kids that wind up being handled by the police down the road when the pattern is set for bad behavior, bad attitude and thinking they can do whatever they want to who ever they want. Those children may be lost to seeing how their actions affect themselves and others their entire life.

0 20

Talk,punish, write letters of apologies to the kids they bullied, teachers ,etc, They must own their behavior!!

0
54 15

My children are still very young (5.5years, 2 years and 11 months) so we haven't got to those issues yet but my entire youth I was bullied myslef and was afraid to speak up as I was afraid it was going to make things worse. But we spend time with the kids teaching them how to be nice to each other and others, how to show respect to others and why it is important. If they fight with each other, we stop them and show them how to do things correctly (for example ask the other nicely of they can share a toy instead of just ripping it away from the other etc). We also make sure to say sorry when it's needed and give each other a kiss and a cuddle. The other thing that we are always reinforcing with them is to always say please and thank you. So far it is working great and the kids behaviour all over has improved since we started it. If I found out that my kid was a bully I would try and find the underlying cause and also use 'how would you feel if someone did that to you?". Explain to the child that it is hurting and / or making the other child sad etc. Talk to the other parent, make teachers aware so that they can help with correcting the child (and what to do if the child continues if told not to) so that there is consitency wether the child is at home or at school.
Sorry about the long response, I just wrote what I was thinking...

0
2 0

My child was the one doing the bullying and I had no idea until the mother of the other little girl got in my child's face and yelled at her. The girls are 6 yrs old. I had no idea there was a problem and I took care of it right away but did not appecitate an adult yelling at my 6 yr old whom I am not sure she fully understood. I know my child is not innocent and I do believe she was bullying the other child but there is different ways to handle it espeically at this age. Needless to say my daughter has been forbidden to play with the other girl so now I am deeling with a depressed child who does no understand why she is not allowed to play with her best freind. The decision was on the other mother that the girls not be freinds since "she did not want her daughter subjected to such riducule and bullying." What she does not know though is that her daugher is going around telling all the other chidlren not to play with my daughter. Things could have been alot different if the parent ( who I thouhgt was a good friend of mine) would have come to me in the first place and not taken it out on a 6 yr old.

0
1 18

A quick comment that the advice of bullying experts is to NOT speak parent to parent directly, but where ever possible to use the school/pre-school/child care as mediators to help handle the issue, even when you believe you are good friends with the other involved parents. This is because parents are naturally protective of their children, whether they are being bullied or accused of bullying. This can lead to heightened emotion and defensiveness, and therefore an inability to be objective resulting in the possibility of reacting inappropriately to the situation (your 'friend' yelling at your daughter being a prime example!).

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9 20

My eldest son has mixed neuro developemental disorder & inattentive ADHD & in the last few months has started to bully his younger brother 8yrs his junior. I hav taken my eldest son to one side many a time & told him wot he was doin to his younger brother is bullyin & how he wouldn't want any1 8yrs older than him to start bullin him, but they still argue & fight like cats & dogs. A lot of the time it is 6 of 1 & half a dozen of the other but i tell them to stop wot they r doin & explain why its wrong & if they continue, they get seperated., but other than that i hav been stuck wot to do wiv them. I hav tried time out, groundin & lack of privilages & even smackin in extreme cases but to no avail, they're not bothered by the punishments & i hav back & mobility problems so if they ever did get into a real bad fight, i doubt i'd b able to separate them. So i must get this behavour nipped in the bud now & have spoken to my health visitor, who is now workin with me to try to stop this now especially as my youngest son is now pickin up that his older bro isn't doin as he's told wen he's told, so why should i bother!!! Any suggestions from other mums of kids wiv same learnin problems & sibling rivalary welcome. xx

0
27 18

I have three boys and although for the most part, they get along fine, my oldest does tend to bully the younger two on occasion which is not like his behavior at school. Since Kindergarten, Donny had issues with noisy fidgeting and he is now in the 5th grade so things have mellowed out somewhat but.... some of the girls who had class with him back in 3rd grade still don't treat him nicely because of how they remember him from before. I know because he recently told me that they are mean to him sometimes about the fidgeting which was a subconscious nervous reaction that he couldn't control. We even took him to see a counselor about it and they said he would grow out of it in time. he loves his brothers but I think that he sometimes feels the need to be in control and so he bullies them at home because he feels not control at school. All of his teachers have said that he is a nice, quiet shy boy and do not hold his fidgeting against him but they do worry about how it will affect his socialization skills for middle school. Maybe your son just needs someone to share his feelings about why he bullies his brother. Good luck. Meg

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