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Child Mind Institute: What To Do If Your Child Is Bullying

Child Mind Institute: What To Do If Your Child Is Bullying

When it comes to bullying in schools, there are plenty of actions teachers, administrators, and even parents can take to recognize and stop the student's behavior before it gets out of hand. 

No parent wants to hear that their child is a bully, said an article on ChildMind.org. When Gina got a phone call from her son's school saying that her son was bullying a student, she said she was "mortified", "ashamed", and "heartbroken."

"It's painful to think of your child inflicting harm on other kids," said writer Brigit Katz. "But bullying is also a serious issue for the aggressor. Kids' friendship skills are an important indicator of their overall mental health. If your child is said to be engaging in bullying behaviors—whether physical or verbal—it might be a sign of serious distress. He might be experiencing anxiety or depression, and have difficulty regulating his emotions and behavior."

The article offers tips on what parents can do if their child is bullying, and reasons why they may be participating in this negative act.

"Kids engage in all kinds of behavior that isn't a reflection of who they are as a person," says Dr. Jamie Howard, director of the Stress and Resilience Program at the Child Mind Institute in the article. "They're still figuring things out. They can be nice kids who have made some mistakes."

Here are a few reasons the article lists as to why a child may be bullying:

  • The child wants to fit in with a group of friends who are picking on one classmate.
  • She is getting bullied at home or at school, and is trying to regain a sense of power by acting aggressively toward others.
  • She is looking for attention from teachers, parents, or classmates, and hasn't been successful getting it other ways.

The article then encourages parents to communicate with their child and offers tips to make sure that their child is respectful to others.

"If you hear from a teacher or another parent that your child is being a bully, the first thing you should do is talk to your child about the situation," the article said. "Be direct about the issue, but make it clear that you are open to hearing your child's side of the story. Say something along the lines of: 'I got a call from the school today, and the teacher indicated that you were involved in some bullying. I'm really concerned about this, and we need to talk about it. Please tell me what happened.'"

Other tips include encouraging parents to stay in touch with their children, "look inward", "provide meaningful consequences", and more.

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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