Is My Child a Bully? Recognizing and Responding to Child Bullying
We all know the devastating lifelong effects child bullying can have on its victims. However, few people ever consider the impacts of bullying on the bullies themselves. Children who grow up with bullying behaviors will often have few friends and have a hard time forming positive relationships in the future.
Bullies are also at risk of developing mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. The emotional toll of their aggressive behavior can have long-lasting effects on their psychological well-being.
Bullying comes in many forms, including cyberbullying.
It’s important to note that child bullying can also take different forms, including cyberbullying. So, a child might have impeccable conduct at school and still be a bully online without their parents’ or teachers’ knowledge.
If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior and suspect that they might be bullying other children, read to the end to learn how to identify bullying tendencies and help your child.
Why Do Children Bully Others?
Most movies paint a scary picture of bullies as evil children who enjoy torturing other kids. However, there’s more to bullies being perceived as “bad kids.” Many underlying causes might turn otherwise “good kids” into bullies.
Below are some of the reasons kids bully:
Traumatized children can bully others as a coping mechanism.
Going through a traumatic event can have adverse effects on anyone’s mental health, but it’s worse for children. If left unguided, traumatized children can develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse, self-harm, or even bullying behaviors.
Here’s a blog post detailing the long-term effects of childhood trauma on the victims.
If children in a household with multiple kids are not encouraged to appreciate each other, they might grow tired of each other. For example, older kids can bully their young siblings if they feel they get preferential treatment.
Jealousy and Low Self-Esteem
“Young people often bully each other out of jealousy.”
While bullies try to act tough and confident, they’re often wallowing in self-esteem issues. For instance, a child who feels academically inferior to their peers might resort to physical bullying to assert a position of power.
Similarly, some kids bully children they’re jealous of, such as those who have new toys, achieve good grades, or have seemingly involved parents.
In a school environment, bullies are often popular with the students because they’re always in trouble. As a result, some kids start bullying to join the “cool group.”
Children who grow up in abusive households are more likely to become bullies.
Finally, parents play a significant role in their children becoming bullies. If a child has a stressful home life with abusive or neglectful parents, they might take it out on their peers.
Some parents also pass down negative habits like intolerance. For example, if a child sees their parent being homophobic, they might think it’s okay and bully their LGBTQ peers.
Learn more about how LGBTQ youth continue to experience bullying despite increasing awareness among their peers.
Is My Child the Aggressor or the Victim?
Even “good kids” can turn into bullies.
While you can’t always watch over your kids to see how they interact with other kids, there are a few warning signs of child bullying. Let’s look at how to identify bullying behavior and become part of the change.
Signs That My Child Is a Bully
If your child is a bully, they’ll:
- Lash out at you, their teacher, and other adults
- Get frustrated easily
- Resort to name-calling and violence when things don’t go their way
- Talk down to other children
- Lack of empathy toward others
Although these signs are true for many bullies, they’re not always visible. As a result, developing a strong relationship with your child’s school is one of the best ways to tell if your child is a bully.
You should also monitor your child’s online activity to identify online bullying.
Signs That Your Kid Might Be a Bullying Victim
If your child comes home with unexplained bruises, they’re probably being bullied.
Not all kids talk to their parents when they encounter a bully, especially if bullied online. Therefore, it’s essential to know the signs to look for if you suspect your child is being bullied.
Below are 10 indications that your children are bullying victims.
How Can I Stop My Child From Bullying Other Kids?
If you’re concerned about your children bullying their peers, you should act fast to find out why. In most cases, it will be something you can help them get through.
- Provide a listening ear: Let your child know they can trust you with their feelings and problems by developing open communication lines. That way, they can open up about why they’re bullying. If they’re going through PTSD, teach them that healing is a process and walk with them through the journey.
- Treat your children equally and teach them to appreciate each other: If your child is bullying a family member, they may feel the other is given preferential treatment. Encourage them to stick together as a family.
- Teach them empathy: Explain how bullying affects the other child and the potential negative effects it will have on them in the future.
- Take them to a mental health professional: If your child’s behavior doesn’t improve after talking to them, let them speak to a mental health expert.
Resources For Further Support For Bullying Victims
Bullying has far-reaching effects on both the victim and the perpetrator. So, whether you’re concerned about your child’s safety or you suspect they’re harming others, it’s critical to stay calm and take steps to stop bullying. Remember, it’s never too late.
The best way to prevent bullying is to talk to your child about the dangers of it, ask open-ended questions, and encourage them to talk to you if they’re being bullied or feel like harming other kids.
Find professional help for your child with bullying tendencies by visiting www.https://www.tarrantcares.org/. You can also text FIND to 67629.