How to deal with a Child who is bullying others.

Find out how to deal with a child who is bullying others…

Discovering a child is a bully is deeply unsettling to hear and you will want to try to figure out why the child is acting in this way, how to deal with it, and what can be done to make it right.

Why Is A Child Bullying?

There can be lots of reasons why a child is bullying. A lot of the time, it stems from low self-esteem or peer pressure. Other reasons could include:

  • Looking for attention.
  • Lashing out due to feeling bullied themselves.
  • An inability to control their anger or frustrations.
  • Low Self Esteem

Younger kids, especially, often have a lack of understanding of how their behaviour is affecting others. Whatever the reason for the bullying, it’s important to try and understand the child’s behaviour.

Talk To The Child

Sit the child down and talk to them about their behaviour. If a certain incident has been reported to you, such as another pupil witnessing the bullying, ask the child to talk you through the situation and explain it from their point of view. Make it clear that you are willing to hear their side of the story and let them talk without interruption.

Once you’ve heard what the child has to say, you may have a clearer picture of why they’ve acted in this way, whether it’s due to peer pressure or a desire to fit in, or simply losing their temper. Whilst you may understand their feelings, regardless of the reason, it’s important to explain to the child why their behaviour is unacceptable and why it can be so damaging.

If you’re struggling to get to the bottom of the situation, try talking to the child’s parents to get an insight into their day-to-day behaviour at home. Often, a bully who is perfectly well-behaved at home can be the complete opposite in the classroom.

Consider family dynamics

Often children model the behaviours of those at home. Whilst no family is perfect it’s important to recognise any bullying behaviours and discuss this with the family.

Talk About Consequences

Talk to the child about the various consequences their behaviour can have. Firstly, tackle the bullying itself – ask them to consider how the person they have been bullying might feel. Talk to the child about how bullying can make a person feel worthless, isolated and frightened. Ask the child to recall a time when they have felt very sad or alone and point out why it’s never acceptable to intentionally make anyone else feel that same way. You could also ask your child to read our How Do I Stop The Bullying? advice to illustrate how distressing it is to be a victim of bullying.

Secondly, there are, of course, consequences to their behaviour in the form of punishment. School will have an anti-bullying policy in place and will want to follow a specific disciplinary route. Support your school in this – and it is important for the child to take responsibility for their own actions.

“I’m Sorry…”

Encourage the child to make it right when the dust has settled. This could be in the form of an apology letter, a text or a face-to-face meeting with the bullied child. It may be that the person who the child has bullied doesn’t reply or refuses to meet, and that’s completely their right. That doesn’t mean the child is off the hook with the apology – it still has to be made, even if the bullied child never sees or hears it. Apologies can be made to parents, other classmates, teachers and anyone else the child’s behaviour might have affected.

It can be hard to stand up and admit mistakes, but it’s an important step for the child in making amends and owning their actions. The child might want to reach out by inviting the person or persons they have treated badly in the past over to some social event in an attempt to build bridges. It might be that both parties might decide to go their separate ways. Whatever happens, the apology can help both the child and the bullied party move on.

Preventing Future Incidents

Encourage empathy and understanding, to keep the focus on positive behaviours and treating others with kindness and respect. Keep in close contact with the child’s parents to monitor the situation in order to react quickly if any future incidents arise. Remember to reinforce positive behaviours with praise, positive reinforcement and support will help build their self esteem and allow them to forge healthier connections and friendships in future.

For more information and advice on bullying, go to https://www.bullying.co.uk/


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