You asked

I think my child might be a bully, what should I do?

This can be a difficult realisation to come to but some signs that your child may be a bully include: If he tries to explain away misdeeds with phrases like, ‘We were just having fun’ or ‘She started it’ or ‘I didn’t do anything’ then it is possible that you could have a bully living under your roof.
It is vital that you act swiftly in order to put an end to this behaviour and that you make it very clear to your child that it will not be tolerated and is completely unacceptable.It is also important that you teach your child to manage and express his feelings in ways that don’t result in other people getting hurt.You will also need to break his bad habits and teach him other ways of behaving.If your child is a bully, you need to look at his homelife and consider the following:
  • What way do you discipline your child: Are you using bullying tactics?
  • How do you deal with conflict? Have you taught him how to effectively solve problems?
  • Do you communicate positively or negatively with your child?
  • Is your child anxious or frightened about any aspect of his home life?
  • What types and amounts of television, games and internet time is he being exposed to? Could he possibly be viewing inappropriate or violent material?
It’s possible that the school may have notified you that your child is a bully. It’s important to resist the temptation to dismiss the claims as you need to consider the possibility that your child may have being doing things that he shouldn’t.
If your child has been seen misbehaving by a staff member or there are independent reports from different children then you need to accept the fact that your child is in the wrong. You will need to speak to the school and ultimately make your child responsible for his actions. This will mean telling your child that you fully support the school’s stance and punishment and will not tolerate his behaviour.Parents should speak to the school about arranging counselling. The purpose of which is to help your child take responsibility for his actions, to accept the punishment and to develop empathy and sensitivity toward others.
It’s important to remember that any child who bullies other children is also in need of help. It’s a common fact that bullies are normally going through problems themselves and take it out on others as a way of coping.

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