Finding out that our son is a bully is as hard as when it comes to the victim. It is not only about the damage that he is causing to other classmates, in addition to the correct coexistence of the classroom, but it is an indicator that he does not feel safe and happy, and it is a clear sign that he is not developing correctly healthy social skills . At Bekia we want to advise you on what to do when our children are the ones who bully other children.
What is bullying
Bullying or bullying is a phenomenon that can occur at different ages, and is very common in preadolescents and adolescents. It is a situation of abuse or emission of negative behaviors on a child, by one or more colleagues . Harassment can be of several types, which can be combined in the same case: physical , where the aggressors hit, kick, etc., to the victim; verbal , characterized by insults, ridicule, contempt, use nicknames …; the psychological consists of creating feelings of fear in the victim and undermining their self-esteem and, finally, the social consists of trying to isolate the victim from the rest of the group.
At school there may be sporadic fights, the result of discussions between equals. But a constant situation of bullying exhausts the victim physically, psychologically and emotionally , in addition, it will be establishing unproductive behaviors in the bullying children for the psychological and social development of the aggressors.
The bullying children
The average profile of the bullying child, although not the only one, is that of an impulsive child, who finds it difficult to control his anger (which does not mean that his reactions have to be violent), has a low tolerance for failure, speaks with contempt of his classmates, he refers to them by their nicknames or by insults, he enjoys laughing at others , it is difficult for him to put himself in the place of the other, that is, he has a very low capacity for empathy, he does not know how to resolve conflicts and he reacts before them with screams and frustration.
They also tend to evade responsibility for their actions by blaming others ("it’s that he makes me sick", "he’s stupid", "there’s no one to put up with him"). In general, even though it may not seem like it, bullies are insecure and have low self-esteem , that is why they do not tolerate failing or not being above others, and that is why they try to feel better by making others feel bad.
How to deal with an abusive child
The first thing we have to do before the news that our children are bullying, is to try to avoid at all costs that an aggression towards the victim is repeated. We will alert the teachers and parents of the students so that, together, we prevent the situation from continuing. We will make it very clear to our son that we disapprove of this behavior, but not through yelling, fights, insults, or arguments , he has to understand that we want to help him to improve a problem, but that he has all the support of his parents, that they want and will always be there.
We ourselves will have to start a reflection exercise on our relationship with the child . Have we given you a good example of how to treat others? Sometimes these children see in people around them (which does not necessarily have to be family) that their way of getting things, or trying, is through yelling or fighting. That is why we will not adopt these behaviors when talking to him, because if we do not we will be transmitting that we also want to achieve our goal in an aggressive way , and we will be contradicting ourselves.
Another question to answer is whether we have been paying enough attention to him and he does not feel emotionally neglected. Children have to know that their parents are there, and we achieve this by listening to them when they need us, and supporting them. But this should not be confused with permissiveness or passivity in the face of their demands, nor should they praise everything they do, because they must also be taught what is right and what is wrong .
Have you educated your son so that he knows how to treat others?
One of the strengths to improve in the bullying child is the low tolerance for frustration and poor control of anger. You can channel this stress by doing a sporting activity, and you will also learn to work as a team with other boys your age and to establish equal relationships. We will also make an effort to resolve home conflicts in a more communicative way and without starting discussions at a minimum , or with insults or verbal fights, it will be a clear example that the resolution of them will be much more relaxed and emotionally positive for everybody. We will teach you to do it in the same way, giving you examples or teaching you techniques to keep your nerves, such as the classic "count to 10" .
We would do the same with our son’s other great weak point, which is the lack of empathy. We will teach you to learn to identify the emotions of others, and to understand their feelings , for example, by referring to other occasions in which the same child has suffered them ("Do you remember what you felt that day that child hit you? he feels, do you understand why you should not do it? "). It is a job to do on a daily basis and taking advantage of every opportunity to teach him to interpret situations in such a way that he puts himself in someone else’s shoes.
It is, without a doubt, a very complicated task, which would also be complemented with work by the school. If we do not see positive results in our work, we will need the help of a clinical psychologist , to help you develop all these positive behaviors that people normally develop naturally over the years.
This is not the time to regret or think that we have been bad parents, the reasons why these behaviors occur are many and quite complex, especially in adolescents, who may have found role models outside the home. The time has come to act, this situation has a remedy, we can help our children and, in turn, we will be helping other children who are suffering at school.