I get asked often, “How do I know if my child is a bully?”. With that said, these questions are usually from parents who are very concerned versus the ones who are told by teachers, counselors and even police that their child is indeed a bully and they are quick to respond, “My kid? No way!”. If you ever wondered what some of the signs of bullying are outside of the direct accusations from others that your child is a bully, then please read on…
First off, just because your child is a bully does not make them a bad person. What they are doing is wrong, but this can readily be corrected with instant and proper interventions put in place. When someone in an authority position, or another parent tells you that your child is a bully, you should best listen and begin collecting information. There are various signs to look for and these are the most common ones which might identify them as being a bully:
1) Their marks suddenly drop and continue to nose dive. They may start to complain that they hate school and “Everyone is out to get them!”.
2) The child complains of being treated poorly by teachers and other children. They believe they are misunderstood and that “No one cares!”.
3) The child might begin committing acts of violence toward a family pet, or other animals, and may become destructive toward property, even their own possessions.
4) The child creates and seeks out conflicts that lead to violence with their siblings, their parents and their friends.
5) The child is often found hanging around other kids and teens, and/or chooses friends who engage in and endorse violence.
FYI, bullying has to be stopped at a young age in children as most bullies are on a trajectory for increases in abuse or violence later in life. Research and statistics show unless corrected, bullies will accept and believe that violence is the best way to resolve their problems and conflicts.
As bullies age into their teen years, they are more likely to become delinquents and even members of gangs. Research shows that they are more likely to use/abuse alcohol and drugs when they are older. In some cases they drink or drug to medicate to mask their shame and remorse. Did you know that it is estimated that more than 160,000 children miss school everyday due to a fear of being bullied?
If you think your child might be a bully, or someone has told you that they are, you are their best lifeline for promoting positive change. Act now!