Many parents worry that their child may be bullied. With 28% of middle school and 19% of high school students reporting that they have been bullied, the effects of bullying can be devastating. Students who have been bullied suffer academically, and they are more likely to skip school or drop out of school entirely. They also experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Parents have a natural instinct to want to protect their children from experiencing any of that. But what if you discover that your child has been bullying others?
It’s something that no parent wants to hear. But for every child that is being bullied, there is a child that is doing the bullying. Just like being bullied affects a person’s mental health, being a bully also has negative impacts that can follow a child into adulthood, so addressing the behavior is important to avoid long-term problems.
While your initial reaction may be one of shame, denial, or anger–or all three–take a deep breath and approach parenting a bully from a place of calm to first understand why they are bullying. Then working together, you can develop strategies to help your child change their aggressive behavior.