It can be a shock to find out that your child is bullying people. You might not know how to react or what to do.
Children who bully need understanding and support.
It helps to understand why your child is bullying. This can help you give the right support to help stop it.
Children often bully others because they are:
Children and young people use social media as a huge part of their communication. Social media makes it easier for children to bully others. They might not even realise they’re doing it.
For example, one person in a group chat might be ignored or made fun of. That person is being bullied, but the others might not realise it.
If your child develops a pattern of treating others badly, it can have long-term effects on their future relationships. Breaking this pattern and teaching your child kindness and empathy will help them develop lifelong skills.
If you find out your child has been bullying, you might feel angry, hurt or upset. Take some time to process your reaction so that you can talk calmly to your child.
Gather as much information as you can about how your child has been behaving.
If they’re bullying someone at school, the school should have a record of any reported incidents. They probably can’t tell you who else was involved, but can tell you:
Talk to your child and listen to their side of the story. Explore how they felt in the build-up, what led to the incident and what help they need to resolve it. Talk about how the other child may be feeling.
Your child might find it difficult to talk, because they are feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
Your child might find it easier to talk to someone else about what’s going on. This could be a trusted friend or family member, or a trained counsellor.
Counselling might help them to:
A behaviour contract is a set of rules and strategies discussed and agreed by you and your child. It can help to involve the school, too.
You can agree things like:
Make sure consequences are meaningful and relevant.
It sometimes helps for your child to apologise to the child they have bullied. This can be face to face or in writing. As well as being important for the child who has been hurt, it can help your child to think about how they made that child feel.
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