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Raising three girls, we've dealt with our fair share of bullies. Jenelle was bullied relentlessly when she was in elementary school. It was so bad, and the administration did nothing, that it escalated to a semi-viral level. I posted a video Jenelle made, I blogged about it, and we even ended up on the news.

What to do When Your Child is a Bully

As bad as it is to have your child be the victim of bullying, one of my worst nightmares is me getting a call from the principal saying my child is the bully. I know our kids aren't perfect, but the thought of any of my kids putting another child through the Hell they've been through just makes my stomach turn. I've written about how to stop bullying, and we even have an Etsy shop where we donate a portion of our profits to anti-bullying causes.

We have been dealing with Sapphire being bullied since school started this year. There's a group of about 6 girls, you know, the classic “mean girls” we all dealt with in school. They've been calling her fat, ugly, stupid, and the other day things came to a head when they told her to go kill herself (after they cornered her in the lunch room). Fortunately, an adult witnessed it and took Sapphire to the office – both to calm her down (she was somewhat hysterical), and to report the incident. The girls all got Friday detention (together – which defeats the purpose if you ask me), and hopefully it's all resolved. With that being said, bullying doesn't usually just STOP. It keeps going, and going, and going, until someone has had enough and lashes out. They will either lash out towards the bullies by hitting them, hurting them, or becoming bullies themselves … or they'll lash out towards themselves and participate in self-harm activities (whether mental or physical).

Many kids, even as young as elementary school, commit suicide due to bullying.

Let me repeat that.

Many kids, even as young as elementary school, commit suicide due to bullying.

Worth repeating, yeah? Yeah. I'm repeating it because if your kid is the bully, it's up to YOU to stop it. The school can't always handle it in a way that gets through to your child. They don't have enough man power to constantly supervise the bullies and protect the victims. It's a numbers game and our schools are losing. Our kids are losing. Even the bullies are losing because if they cause someone to commit suicide, they have to live with that for the rest of their lives. While the others have to live with the fact that their friend, their child, was taken from them far too soon.

What to do When Your Child is a Bully

What to do When Your Child is a Bully

Take a deep breath.

If your child is a bully, it's not necessarily your fault. I know it's easy to blame the parents, and many times that happens, but kids make their own decisions regardless of their upbringing and home life. With that being said, bullies are lacking something in some part of their life so you have to get to the root of the problem. Don't react hastily when you find out your child is being a bully. Take a deep breath. Do not respond in anger.

Respond with love.

Threatening your child with extreme consequences that you have no way to follow through with (“you're going to be grounded for a year”) is just going to make the situation worse. Bullies have issues where they're deflecting because of something going on within them. Responding with love will help you get to the bottom of the issue and help your child work through this.

Explain that bullying, whether its physical or verbal, causes pain to others. Let them know that name-calling, teasing, hitting, pushing, starting or spreading rumors are wrong and not acceptable behavior.

Get to the cause.

Why is your child being a bully? What's going on in their life, at home or at school or even just in their own mind, that it makes them feel better to be mean to someone else? Many times it's just insecurity. We have to teach them how to have more self-confidence, and how to be nice in the meantime.

Help them come up with resolutions.

With Sapphire, I've spoken with her extensively about how to deal with bullies. I tell her to ignore them, to ask them to stop, and to tell a teacher if it escalates and they won't stop. I have to keep things simple for her because she doesn't understand things in the same way typical kids do. On the flip side of the coin, if your child is bullying someone, after you've figured out why you have to figure out how to help them to stop it. Easier said than done, especially if they're in a group of kids that are egging it on.

Give them alternatives: “when you feel the need to bully, ________ instead”. Whether that's “draw a picture” or “give them a compliment” or “simply walk away”, you've gotta teach them to replace the bad behavior with an acceptable one.

Set an example.

The best way to teach your child not to bully is by not being a bully yourself. I know you're thinking “me? I'm not a bully!” but hear me out. We set an example for our children (good and bad) all day long. If you're cussing at the guy at the stoplight with your kids in the car, they see it. If you're saying Trump is stupid and you hate him, they hear it. If you and your significant other have arguments and don't resolve them in front of the kids, they don't learn conflict resolution tactics.

Keep the school in check.

Some schools are better at handling bullying than others are. We've had some AWFUL schools and some great schools. If you don't stay on top of it and make sure the school understands how serious this is (whether your child is the bully or the victim), it won't be resolved as efficiently or as quickly.

Consider meeting the parents.

I'm saying this as the parent of a child who has been a victim of bullies. If the parents of the bullies would have reached out to me and asked to meet with the kids to resolve this, I would have been so happy. Knowing the parents care and aren't just saying “oh my daughter would NEVER do that” would go a long way. So, if you're the parent of a bully and you can reach out to the other family just to let them know that you are on board with them, the behavior is not acceptable, and you're giving your child consequences, it could help out quite a bit. On the other hand, if you don't think the parents will be receptive, just let the school handle it.

Instill self-confidence.

I kind of mentioned this already but the more self-confident your child is, the less likely they are to be a bully (or even to be a victim of a bully). Print these off and hang them up around their room, as a surprise. They will be excited when they get home and see that you put so much effort into making them feel loved!

(PIN IT!)

What to do When Your Child is a Bully Plus Confidence Boosting Prints

Free Confidence-Boosting Printables

Download each individually or scroll to the bottom to download the entire pack as a PDF – for FREE!

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

Confidence Boosting Prints - Anti-Bullying Messages

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SlapDashMom
Sadie Mae is a Lifestyle blogger living in Arizona with her three daughters. Her passions including traveling, healthy living, and teaching women how to work from home so they can spend more time with their kids.

5 Comments

  1. This is a topic that my sister is worried about for my nephew. I’m glad that you actually wrote about this! For sure, I’ll be sharing this post with her.

    And oh my goodness, those printables look amazing!

  2. This was a very good read. Most parents always focus on teaching their kids how to deal with a bully, as opposed to addressing their child’s behaviour issues.

  3. It’s so sad we live in a world where people can be so mean. My daughter had this problem right before she graduated from high school. A few kids felt the need to call her names and address the color of her skin. I love this post! I love that what my husband and I taught her when she was younger ended up saving her from being fearful. We instilled so much in her, her self-confidence was high, her Dreams were instilled and no matter how they tried to break her, she just became stronger and stronger. Bullying is no JOKE, as you stated many kids kill themselves, even one of my own nieces did so. I agree with every statement you listed above!

  4. Sorry to hear you have had such a hard time with bullies. It’s something a lot of kids go through. Both of our girls have had different experiences with bullies at various different times and ages. Mostly a lot of female bullying is relational – as in excluding a child or simply making the girl feel less powerful than the others in her peer group. I am shocked and horrified to hear about Sapphire’s experience. That is horrible and the words the girls used should have been cause for a suspension in my opinion. Horrible behaviour. My high school girl had a child make a fake Instagram account using her name spelled incorrectly in first year high school. She used that fake account to privately message classmates to say You are a Fat Pig etc. My daughter was horrified and thought everyone would believe the fake instagram account messages were from her. The VP handled it beautifully though.And the Mom of the girl who was caught apologized to my daughter and myself. She worked in a group home in a social working kind of field and was mortified. I felt good about how it was handled though and acknowledged at least. This stuff should not happen but it does and I think it really is important that it be dealt with promptly and harshly.

  5. This is an excellent post and I hope it gets to the readers who truly need to see this information. Bullying has always been around, but it need not be accepted or tolerated.

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