Nurturing Compassion: Supporting Parents When Their Child Is Bullying Others
Discovering that your child is engaging in bullying behaviour can feel challenging and upsetting experience for any parent/carer. However, it’s crucial to approach this situation with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to fostering positive change.
In this blog, we’ll explore ways in which parents/guardians can support and guide their children if they discover that their child is bullying another.
Hearing that your child might be bulling another person can feel deeply upsetting. It is common for many parents to not want to think that there is a problem, and not take the accusations seriously. It takes courage to be open. So, take these concerns seriously, and identify that your child needs help. This will help them longer in the long run.
It is important to remember that everyone is capable of bulling behaviour. You are not the first parent/carer to face this, nor will you be the last. You have a key role in helping them learn, and change their behaviour.
The first step is to create an environment of open communication. Approach your child without judgment, ensuring they feel comfortable discussing their actions. Ask open-ended questions to understand the motivations behind their behaviour and the dynamics involved. Spend time understanding from their perspective what has occurred. Sometimes children and young people can be pulled into bullying behaviour by friends or the wider peer group. It is also important to make sure that they are bullying in retaliation of bullying they have suffered. Make it clear that your goal is to support and guide them towards making better choices.
It is important that all children know what bullying is, and why it is wrong. It is also important that your child knows that they can talk to you about anything, so responding with compassion is important to maintaining conversations.
Remind them of their goodness.
People will often exhibit bullying behaviours as a coping mechanism when they are experiencing periods of stress or trauma, are being bullied themselves or potentially when they have low self-esteem and confidence. Remind your child of their goodness, and they are not defined by bullying behaviour. It is a behaviour (an unacceptable one) but not an identity.
Request support from School
If the incident has occurred in school environment and ask to speak with school for a meeting to get support. Request evidence if it is available (for example: if the alleged bullying is through the internet or phones). Request a copy of the school anti-bullying and behaviour policy so you can ensure that you understand the agreed procedures.
Seek Professional Guidance:
Sometimes, the reasons behind a child’s bullying behaviour may be complex, and seeking professional guidance can be beneficial. A child psychologist or counsellor can provide insights into the underlying issues that may contribute to bullying. Working together with a professional can help parents develop strategies to address these issues effectively.
Role model empathy:
Empathy is a crucial skill that can be cultivated. Encourage your child to consider the feelings of others and understand the impact of their actions. Engage in discussions about empathy, kindness, and the importance of treating others with respect. Share stories or examples that highlight the consequences and impact of bullying.
Set Clear Expectations
Make it clear that bullying behaviour is unacceptable, and you do not tolerate such behaviour. Clearly communicate your expectations regarding their behaviour and the values you uphold as a family.
Encourage Positive Skills:
Help your child develop positive social skills and conflict resolution strategies. Role-playing scenarios can be an effective way to teach them alternative ways of responding to challenging situations. Encourage them to use words to express their feelings and concerns rather than resorting to bullying tactics. Young people can use bullying as a coping mechanism to stress, teach them how to recognise and manage stressors more effectively.
Monitor Online Activity:
In today’s digital age, bullying can extend beyond physical interactions to online spaces. Monitor your child’s online activity and educate them about the importance of responsible and respectful behaviour on social media platforms and how to report online bullying. Establish guidelines for online conduct and foster a healthy online environment.
Foster a Culture of Inclusivity:
Encourage a culture of inclusivity at home. Celebrate diversity, teach acceptance, and demonstrate through your actions the value of treating everyone with dignity and respect. A home environment that promotes inclusivity can positively influence your child’s behaviour outside the home.
Discovering that your child is engaging in bullying behaviour is undoubtedly a challenging situation. However, parents can play a crucial role in guiding their child towards more constructive and compassionate behaviour. By addressing the root causes of bullying, parents contribute not only to their child’s personal growth but also to the creation of a more empathetic and understanding society.
If you wish to speak with a member of our Children and Young People Therapy Team, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our services are delivered face to face from Manchester and York and available nationally online.