There are a number of things that you can do, as a parent, that reduce the risk that your child will do bullying. The number one thing is to think about your role modeling as a parent.
Kids learn more from what we do, rather than what we say. You have to think — and this is a hard one for parents. Do you, as a parent, do gossiping? Do you spread rumors?
Do you talk badly about friends of yours that your kids may see, especially behind their back? Do you exclude people that your kids observe?
Those behaviors are things that kids will test out in their own relationships. It is hard for parents to think about it that way because they may not think that we do it. But we all do it, we are human. If we do it, it’s okay, but if you do it in front of your kids, let them know, “I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have done that.
That was mean.” Own it. Be a parent that owns their mistakes, and your kids will be able to do the same. The second thing is, you want to look at your parenting style as a couple, when you are looking at behavior issues with your kids. Do I have a style that is authoritarian? Is it my way or the highway?
That kind of style adds to more bullying because children learn that aggression wins and my way is the only way to win. The better way the more authoritative parenting, which is where we give them a more balanced parenting. You do conflict resolution and teach them that it is better to work things out together.
That’s much better.
Dr. Haber is available for speaking engagements and consultations to help your combat your school or workplace bullying issues.
Dr. Joel Haber