Help My Child is a Bully: 3 Tips on How to address aggressive behaviors

Written by: Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center

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Could your child be bullying others? Would you know? Once you found out, would you know what to do? Here is some information that can help.

1. Talk with your child.

Many parents are surprised to learn that their child is showing bullying behavior. Often, they have no idea that their child is exhibiting these behaviors. If you find out your child is bullying, it’s important to know that bullying is a behavior and that behavior can be changed. Students bully for many reasons, including peer pressure or being bullied themselves. Your child may not realize how much they are harming someone, what impact their actions are having on another child, or they may not label their behavior as bullying.

The first step is to talk with your child about why they are bullying. This conversation should allow your child to explore how they may be feeling, to speak up if they are being bullied by someone else, and to talk about other factors that may be leading to this behavior.

2. Try to understand your child’s feelings and show that you hear what they are telling you.

Help your child understand how others feel when they are bullied and let them know that everyone’s feelings matter. Role playing can be helpful to teach your child different ways of handling situations, along with helping them understand how their behavior is impacting someone else.

3. Be realistic. It takes time to change behavior.

Be patient with your child as they learn new ways of handling feelings and conflict. Provide praise and recognition when your child handles conflict well or finds a positive way to deal with their feelings. This type of positive reinforcement goes a long way!

Ask Us: What Motivates Someone to Bully? | PACERTalks About Bullying: Season 2, Episode 20

A question from Chloe, a high school student, who wants to know what motivates students to bully.

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center

The information provided was reprinted with permission from Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center ( https://www.pacer.org/bullying/ )

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