Power Play: Is My Child a Bully?
It’s hard to recognize the signs that your child is being bullied. Sometimes, it’s even harder to admit that your child is the bully.
To begin, it’s important to understand what drives a bully to act out against someone else – power. When one child thinks he or she can gain power over another child, a bully is born.
“Anybody is really at risk for being a bully,” says Dr. Joanna Bisgrove, a Family Medicine physician at Dean Clinic – Oregon.
Dr. Bisgrove says there are ways to identify your child as the bully. First, watch for signs of aggression from your child. Are they having issues with other kids? Another warning sign is if someone comes to you and says “your child is bullying my child” or “your child is bullying me.”
“It’s really important to listen, because it doesn’t make your kid a bad kid,” says Dr. Bisgrove. “But, it does need to be addressed.”
Addressing a situation where your child is the bully can help avoid other issues later on in life. As bullies grow up, they are more likely to end up in jail, get into trouble with law enforcement, abuse alcohol or other drugs and engage in sexual activity at a much younger age.
What can you do to teach your child to be a buddy, not a bully?
- Teach your children how to be assertive instead of aggressive.
- Try new activities together to build your child’s self-esteem and self-worth.
- Start early with lessons on kindness and valuing the differences other people bring to our community.
If you are concerned that your child is a bully and want help addressing the issue, talk with your family physician or pediatrician. You can also contact Dean Clinic’s Psychology Department. Many of our Psychologists focus on Child Psychology and will provide you and your child with tools to cope with any issues that may be leading to aggressive behavior.