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Advice for when your child is the bully
So if my child is a bully – that’s a really hard thing for parents to hear, unless at times parents cannot believe that their child may be doing bullying behavior. But I think it’s important even if you get that information to sit down and become, and not get angry about it because that will turn your child off from talking to you about it and they may not want to tell you the truth. But if you say calmly that I got this report, I’ve heard about this. Let’s talk about what happened from their point of view and you let them know that you will listen actively and carefully without getting angry. They’ll probably tell you what the story is.
Now it may be that kids are trying to move up the social ladder, they may tell you what happened or they may blame it on someone else. But as a parent it’s really important that you let them know that that behavior is unacceptable. That anytime they’re mean or hurtful to someone else, we don’t do that in our family and it’s setting a family value. And the thing you want to do as a parent is show them that whenever they do anything outside of that aggressive behavior like being inclusive or sharing or being positive and nice to someone in the family or their friends. You monitor them closely and when you see them doing something nice, you say thumbs up. You show them that that’s the behavior that you want to see from them.
So you’re letting them know that the aggressive behavior is unacceptable but you’re rewarding the positive behavior that moves more toward social inclusion and lets your kid know that that’s what you value.
Dr. Haber is available for speaking engagements and consultations to help your combat your school or workplace bullying issues.