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What Should I Do If My Child is a Bully?


Many parents find it hard to believe that their little darling could possibly be the kindergarten bully. At this young age, kids are developing social skills and learning how to interact with one another, and their experiences aren't always positive. Do you suspect your child may be the bully? Or has the school called to let you know that your child is bullying other students? Read on to learn how to handle the situation.

Talk with your child

If you've heard that your son or daughter is causing trouble in class, it's likely from another parent or a school administrator. He or she will not share the same point of view as your child, and may not even know why the incident occurred. This is why it's crucial to get your kid's side of the story. Listening to him or her retell what happened doesn't mean that you are siding with your child. Instead, you are merely trying to understand how he or she saw what occurred. You'll better understand why your kid did something if you hear the reason directly from him or her.

a mom talking to her crying toddler girlTalking about bullying is the best way to turn negative reactions into more positive interactions. 

Discuss what went wrong

Bullying involves making someone feel bad or even injuring them. Let's say your daughter got in trouble at school because she pushed a classmate who fell and scraped her knee. Ask your child why she pushed the girl. Gain insight into the events that lead up to the push. Perhaps the girl made fun of your daughter's shoes or called her a mean name. Get to the bottom of what finally pushed your child's button to the point where he or she did or said something that became bullying.

Decide on alternative reactions

Next, help your kid understand why his or her reaction wasn't the best option. In the example above, the daughter didn't have to push the girl. Talk about what other ways your child could have reacted. The daughter could have simply walked away or spoken up about what was upsetting her.


While helping your child learn from each negative experience is important, it's also necessary to teach him or her to apologize. Help your kid write an apology note or talk through what he or she will say to the person who was bullied. "Hi, Sam. I'm sorry I pushed you. I didn't like it when you made fun of my shoes. I shouldn't have pushed you," is a great example. This addresses what happened and why, so the recipient of the apology knows what he or she did to incite being pushed down. Apologies are learning opportunities for all parties involved - not just the person who is saying he or she is sorry. 

Keep in mind that bullying can happen at home as well as in school. Watching how your children act with one another may help you understand what makes one kid a bully by learning what pushes his or her buttons. You can then assist that child in establishing better coping mechanisms and reactions that are less harmful for everyone.

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