If you suspect your son or daughter is bullying another child, you need to take action, because young people who bully are in need of help just as their victims are. Parents can play an important role in helping their children understand the effects of bullying behaviour on others.
Students who bully are sometimes not aware of how their behaviour makes others feel, but they also may get pleasure and a sense of power from bullying. They often believe that bullying will gain them popularity. Young people who tend to bully may have leadership potential, which needs to be channelled in a more positive direction.
Some young people who bully may have been bullied themselves either inside or outside the family. If they are witnessing violence in other areas of their lives they may be imitating it, believing it to be acceptable. Sometimes teenagers may be reacting to family stresses by bullying others. Parents who have a very controlling style while showing little warmth for their children may unwittingly be creating a situation that fosters bullying. Equally, parents who are unclear about rules or boundaries may not be supplying enough support for their children to behave appropriately. Firm, consistent, warm parenting, with good communication is the happy medium.
Challenge any aggressive behaviour and insist that it is unacceptable. Explain what is acceptable behaviour and reward it with praise when you notice it. For example, you can discuss how to co-operate with others, ways of asking for things instead of taking them, turn-taking in activities and conversation and so on.
The Essential Parents Guide to the Secondary School Years - available from Primary ABC
The Cool School Programme