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Don’t Raise a Bully! The hardest phone call home I make is telling parents that their child bullied another student. I’m not sure why these calls are any different than other discipline matters, but when it comes to bullying, it is just more difficult.

Bully Stigma

There is a stigma with bullying. A bad behavior ends up defining a person. Then comes the parent shaming, gossip and drama. None of this is helpful. Don’t Raise a Bully. Although my intent is to work with the parent to help teach the child to be empathetic, many hear that their child is a mean person or get caught up in the drama between their child and the others involved.

Ways to prevent your child from bullying

Don’t Raise a Bully- Teach how to be a good friend to others

  • Model how to apologize when you have hurt another person
  • Explain how mean behavior affects the other person
  • Role plays how to work through a conflict or difference of opinion
  • Avoid gossiping about others in front of your child

Monitor Friendships and Social Media

  • Actively listen to your child about friends and what they like to do together
  • Play or share in activities your child likes to participate in
  • Be wary of large group chats or online only relationships
  • Notice if your child acts differently around certain friends
  • Encourage your child to talk with you when upset
  • Model healthy and encouraging relationships with others both in person and on-line

Redirecting Bullying Behavior

Listen to what happened

  • Keep an open mind and don’t rush to blame others
  • Who are the other people involved?
  • Where did the behavior occur?
  • What led to the situation?

Talk to your child

  • Speak firmly but do not yell or hit
  • Focus on your own child’s behavior, not correcting other people
  • Get your child’s side of the story
  • Reaffirm that bullying behavior is wrong and work through other solutions
  • Switch the roles with your child and help them understand how the other child may have felt
  • Help your student move forward- What would be most appropriate (apology, staying away, being friendly etc)
  • Check in with your child with things that may be causing them to act this way

Talk about Consequences to Bullying

  • Natural consequences-Losing friendships, other parents not letting their child play with them, not getting invited to fun activities
  • School consequences- Loss of privileges, suspension, detentions

When to get help

Bullying behavior may be a symptom of a greater issue. Reach out to the school counselor, administrator, or child psychologist for more help.

  • Your child struggles with showing or understanding empathy
  • There are other changes in your child’s behavior or interests
  • Other stresses in a child’s life such as divorce, death or sickness of someone close to them, family hardship, etc.
  • The behavior reoccurs
  • Child refuses to talk to you about issue

Related post- Why Do We Treat Bullying Different Than Other Negative Behaviors? Part 1

Resources on this topic