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Bullying: How to Help Your Child Who Bullies

Topic Overview

It can be hard to accept that your child may be bullying other children. But once you recognize the problem, you can help solve it by helping your child learn how his or her actions affect others. Being sensitive to others' feelings (empathy) is largely a learned skill that you can teach your child.

  • Take your child's actions seriously. And let your child know that bullying will not be tolerated. Set up and follow through with negative consequences, such as losing privileges and not being allowed to see friends after school.
  • Involve your child's teacher, school administrators, and school counselor to help stop the bullying.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of understanding the feelings of others. Ask your child how he or she would feel as the target of bullying.
  • Supervise your child's activities. If your child is not already involved in sports or community activities, encourage him or her to hang out with children you know to be good role models.
  • Be a good role model yourself by not reacting to disappointments with verbal or physical aggression.
  • Praise your child for kind words or deeds.

If the behavior does not improve, seek help for your child from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a licensed counselor.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Last Revised October 25, 2012

Last Revised: October 25, 2012

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