According to Stop Bullying Now, bullying is harmful behavior that is aggressive, intentional, and repetitive. Bullying is neither accidental, nor is it playful or done in fun. It involves the use of fear over a person who is smaller, weaker and less powerful. Stop Bullying Now reports that 15-25% of American school students are bullied and that most parents are not aware of the extent of bullying. Parents whose children bully are challenged with stopping the child’s behavior, which could rise to the level of criminal behavior, and helping the child develop positive social skills such as empathy and self-control.
Prepare to talk to your child by learning about bullying. Bullying can involve physical violence, intimidation, name-calling, social exclusion, spreading rumors, humiliation and teasing. Bullying can take place at home, at school, in the neighborhood or it can occur over the Internet or telephone.
Instruct your child to stay away from anyone she has bullied and to stay away from friends who have participated in the bullying. Help your child recognize that she is a bully. Tell her that you will not allow the bullying to continue. Explain that bullying is serious and it is wrong. Make sure she understands that you will not tolerate bullying and that the behavior must stop.
Set limits for your child to prevent bullying. Explain that there are new rules as a consequence to the bullying behavior. Instruct him to go directly to school and return home without stopping to talk, play or socialize. Explain that he may not be with other children without adult supervision. Monitor your child’s activities, find out who his friends are, and where and how they spend their time.
Use positive discipline to model nonphysical behavior. Set rules, consistently enforce them and make sure there are consequences for violating the rules. Use praise to encourage good behavior.
Speak to your child’s teachers, school counselor and principal. Ask for cooperation to help stop the bullying behavior and contact the school regularly for reports on your child’s behavior. Restore your child’s privileges only as a reward for following the rules and improved behavior.
Arrange to spend time more with your child. Talk about his goals and dreams and involve him in activities to explore his talents. Encourage your child to join a club, take lessons or volunteer. Encourage him to come to you whenever he needs to talk.
Help you child develop empathy. Enroll her in a community program that helps children develop social skills and caring behaviors. Talk to your child about her feelings and how her victim might feel. Encourage her to think about consequences and what happens after her actions. Contact a mental health provider if you think your child needs professional help or if you need help handling your child’s behavior.