While many parents concentrate on watching for signs that their child may be being bullied, it is just as important to watch for signs that their child may actually be the bully. It can be hard to believe that your child would become a bully, but if you start to get calls from the school or other parents about your child’s behavior, or notice that your child has been in a lot of fights at school, it may be time to have a discussion. Other signs that a child may be acting as a bully are frequent violence, trouble controlling anger and taking out their frustration on other people.
Bullying can also occur on social media, and you may be able to find photos or videos posted online of the bullying taking place.
Children may resort to bullying because of low self-esteem, trying to fit in at school, peer pressure, being bullied themselves, or if something difficult is happening in their home life. As soon as parents begin recognizing this behavior in their child, it is important to talk to them about what may be triggering this anger and aggression towards their peers. It may help to involve the school counselor or an outside counselor to help your child work through what they’ve been feeling. Bringing the third party in may also help resolve the problem between the children and help them both move on.
It’s important not to embarrass your child during reconciliation. If they have been acting out because of low self-esteem or a need to fit in, embarrassing them may make them feel more insecure, and may lead to more problems afterward.
Intervention needs to occur before severe reactions and trauma from it results in worse acts of violence and/or suicide. Fortunately, more and more efforts toward bullying prevention and intervention have been initiated throughout the country. Here in the community, Cone Health has an exceptional network of behavioral health professionals dedicated to educating and counseling children and families on bullying.
Mack Whitsett is the Assistant Director of child and adolescent behavioral health at the Cone Health Behavioral Health hospital. Mack received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and his Bachelor of Science in nursing from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 2007 and 2009, respectively.