Two boys bully a third boy, who turns away in tears


Look no further: Five signs that YOUR kid is the bully

Most parents are always on the lookout for bullies—they're looking for other kids who might be bullying their child. But what if your child is the bully? Would you be able to admit this to yourself and do something about it? Most parents want to believe they are good parents, but nothing cuts to the core of a parent's insecurity more than when our children behave in a disgraceful way.

I think most parents want to believe they are good parents—if they have to admit that their child has acted inappropriately, then they feel like they have failed in some way, and understandably, most parents have a hard time with that.

Here are the top five signs that your child might be a bully.

  1. Your child has behavioral issues. 
    Being hot-headed, impulsive, or easily frustrated are three common behaviors that could indicate that a child is a bully. Kids who are bullying generally become easily frustrated if they don't get their way, lack empathy for others, and have a history of discipline problems. Look for these underlying signs of bullying in your child's every day, at-home manner.
  2. Your child is obsessed with popularity.
    Another warning sign of bullying is a child who is fixated on being popular—perhaps to the point of obsession. The bullying may involve excluding children from groups or acting in a hostile way toward any child or group of children that is somehow different from them.
  3. Your child has trouble sleeping.
    A recent study of 341 children conducted by the University of Michigan found that children with sleep problems related to sleep-disordered breathing were more likely to display bullying tendencies or have other conduct problems than children without the sleep concerns. If your child is having sleep problems, a visit with your doctor or a sleep specialist might be a good place to start preventing bullying or to correct bully behavior.
  4. Your child's friends show aggressive tendencies.
    It may be difficult to pick up on some of these signs of bullying with your own child, but if his or her friends seem aggressive or mean-spirited, or if they exhibit some of the other signs of bullying, then your child might be involved in bullying as well. Children who bully are more likely to have friends who bully and engage in violent behaviors.
  5. You don't have a good relationship with your child.
    Regardless of the signs of bullying your child is exhibiting; Roby says that parents play a key role in whether their child becomes a bully. Children are more likely to bully others if they feel their parents are frequently angry at them or if they feel that they are a nuisance to their parents. Parents who have a good relationship and talk openly with their kids raise kids who are less likely to bully others.

My best advice to give to children dealing with bullies:
First, I would encourage the school's help if the peer is at school. Elementary schools in particular are very motivated to help end bullying. They have counselors, teachers and other school officials very prepared to help with a concern with bullying. Secondly, I would advise to speak up. To anyone you trust. Parents, spiritual advisor, teacher, best friend, family or even law enforcement are trustworthy individuals who can help you in your time in need. Remember, bullying only works when the victim remains silent; so speak up as much as you can. 


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