Bullying is a widely discussed topic and much attention has been placed on the victim. Let us turn tables and talk about the bully. Bullies exist and are very much human with feelings. Their actions are a reflection of how they feel and what they are dealing with. They then cast these feelings onto others in the form of using abusive words, physical violence, intimidation and other ways bullying can take place.
Finding out your child is a bully can come as a shock and working around the realisation is overwhelming. As a parent you should understand the situation, know that it is something that can be solved and find ways to handle it.
Sometimes, your child might be going through a tough time and bullying others is their coping mechanism.
Here are six ways you can help your child through this:
Talk to them
Normalise having constant chats with your child and encourage them to open up and speak about their thoughts and emotions. This helps in keeping track of your child’s mental state and ensuring their overall wellbeing. Ensure you actively listen to what they have to say as these are the moments you might miss their signal for help. Create an open bond with your family and make it a safe space to communicate among each other.
Seek professional guidance and counselling
Yes, children can get counselled professionally too. There are professional psychologists who are trained to counsel children and know how to get to them. Being a bully can result from underlying emotions and trauma which bullies project on others. Getting professional help may get them to self-reflect and discover what they have been overlooking that makes them aggressive and abusive. Getting someone to talk to your child may make them see it from another adult’s view and get them to act on it.
The absence of a parent affects the mental health of a child and may lead them to be rebellious. In spite of tight schedules and busy hours, find time to spend with your child and maintain a close bond with them. Engage in fun activities and make them feel loved and heard. Do not dismiss their thoughts and opinions but instead welcome what they have to say.
Know their friends
Birds of the same feather definitely flock together. Your child’s friends are a reflection of who they are and how they carry themselves. Children tend to be easily swayed by their peers in attempt to fit into social groups and are motivated by approval of others.
Seeking this approval may land them in toxic friendships that influence their actions. Know your child’s friends and determine their influence on him/her. Advise them on healthy relationships and how to avoid bad crowds.
Be a role model
Children look up to and tend to emulate their parent’s behavior. Use kind words when speaking to your child and when you are around them. Furthermore, mind your actions and ensure to always portray a positive image before them.
Avoid fighting and arguing in front of your children as this affects them and how they speak to others. The stress that also comes with seeing parents fight may also lead to your child becoming a bully.
Reduce their online interaction
The internet has provided a platform for bullies through the act of cyberbullying. If you notice you child is an online bully, try and limit their social media activities and talk to them about the effects of their actions. Withhold their access to the internet for a while till they understand that there are consequences for their actions.
Featured image; Potentash