There’s nothing worse than finding out your child is being bullied, except perhaps seeing signs that your child is a bully. It’s a toss up as to which I’d be more disheartened to learn. When your child is bullying another child, it’s a real problem and it’s up to you to put a stop to it before something tragic happens. If you see any of these signs that your child is a bully, step in immediately and get help if you need it.
This happens to be very specific name calling. If you hear your child describing others as weak, wimpy or similar adjectives, you may have a problem on your hands. Bullying often stems from insecurity, which drives your child to make himself appear bigger, stronger or better than his peers. Name-calling might be one of the first signs that your child is a bully. However, it’s also normal among kids, so watch for these other indications that bullying might be happening.
Surrounding herself with younger, smaller kids gives your child a prime opportunity to bully others. She’s older, stronger and bigger, which gives her an advantage when she hangs with other children. If your child talks about spending time with kids in younger grades, it pays to be aware of possible bullying. Bullying younger siblings is totally normal, but you should put a stop to that too so it doesn’t progress to bullying other kids.
I don’t mean blood and guts, death and dying. Kids who talk about violence, love light saber fights, intense wrestling or mixed martial arts might have a romanticized view of violent behavior. Thinking this is normal and even OK might increase the chances that your child will bully others. If you notice your child talking up the latest boxing match he watched on television or asking if he can play a bloody video game, it pays to have a talk about appropriate behavior and keep your eyes out for bullying behavior.
Does your child fly off the handle when you ask him to pick up his shoes or cry hysterically if he doesn’t like what you cooked for dinner? No, an isolated incidence isn’t cause for worry, but a consistent quick and fearful temper might indicate that your child has a propensity for bullying that may already be happening or is imminent. Help your child learn alternative ways to express her anger.
If your child must always have his way, it could mean he bullies others to get it. Perhaps your child must choose the movie, won’t play if his siblings suggest a game he doesn’t like or insists on reading his book choice before bed instead of yours. If he’s like this at home, he could be forcing kids at school to bend to his will, which can progress to bullying when others stand up to him or don’t want to be his friend.
Maybe you talk to your child about a peer who you know is being bullied. Whether or not your child is the problem or not, if she shows very little concern or sympathy for that child, she might not see a problem with bullying. She might even be bullying other kids already. If you notice a lack of empathy when it comes to other kids’ problems, your child could be a bully.
Again, bullies often lack self-esteem or want others to like them, so they try to force it. That means your child may spend a lot of time bragging about his successes, whether real or imagined. If your child spends a lot time talking himself up or focusing on his own strengths, you should take it as a warning sign and be on the lookout for potential bullying.
Have you ever been bullied? What would you do if your child were a bully?
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