Once upon a time, bullying was considered par for the course of childhood by many parents, and as such was largely disregarded. With the evolution of technology, however, bullying has become far more pervasive and damaging than the playground taunts of days gone by, and it’s becoming more and more important for parents to do their part in the prevention of childhood harassment. Not only is it essential for parents to understand the warning signs and conditions that could foster an affection for bullying, but also to admit that even their own child could be an offender.
- She’s a Name-Caller – A child whose first impulse is to shout insults or resort to name-calling in the heat of the moment may exhibit that same behavior at school, calling her peers and even her friends’ names in order to assert her independence and aggressiveness.
- He Brags Excessively – There’s a big difference between a healthy sense of self-esteem and the excessive bragging that can accompany bullying, domineering behavior. Listen to the way that your child speaks, not only to you, but also to others.
- She Has an Overwhelming Need to Always Get Her Own Way – Most kids struggle to get what they want and express remorse when things don’t work out that way. Kids that absolutely cannot deal with following directions that differ from what she wants to do can be difficult to deal with on several levels, and may also be inclined to impose her will on other kids that surround her.
- His Playmates Are Younger or Less Powerful – Some kids pick friends and playmates that are in a different age group or have less physical power because they genuinely like those children, but kids with a tendency to bully others may seek out a peer group that’s easily dominated in order to make sure that he’s easily able to impose his will.
- She Exhibits a Lack of Empathy – Working with your child to instill compassion and genuine empathy allows her to feel for others, something that kids don’t always do instinctively. Kids that don’t have a firm grasp on the concept of empathy, however, may cause emotional and physical suffering to those around them because they simply don’t care.
- He’s Frequently Defiant or Hostile – A child that will react to a parent, caregiver or authority figure with hostility or open defiance will rarely hesitate to use those same reactions to frighten or intimidate a classmate.
- She’s Easily Led – Not all kids that bully do so because they’re actively seeking to hurt someone. It’s vitally important for parents to understand just how easy it is for “good” kids to be led into big trouble. Kids that are easily led or susceptible to suggestion in order to obtain the approval of their peers may follow the crowd as they bully another student, even if they understand that bullying is wrong. Talk to your shy child about the importance of tolerance and the danger of hurting other kids.
- Monitor Social Media Use – One of the things that make today’s bullies seem so much more dangerous and sinister than their bygone brethren is the ability to access classmates around the clock, even while they’re safely at home. Make sure that you’re watching your child’s social media use to ensure that he’s not engaging in cyber-bullying tactics while your back is turned. Remember, social media bullying is pervasive and quickly spreads like wildfire among teens.
No parent wants to believe that their child is a bully, especially as visibility regarding bullying and its attendant dangers increases. The safety and emotional wellbeing of other children, however, largely depends upon your ability to spot bullying behavior and put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.
This post was originally posted for nannywebsites.com and is used on Kid Focused with permission.
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