Signs a Child May Be Bullying Others

With bullying becoming a growing epidemic, one out of four children are bullied during the school year. As parents, we will be concerned that our children may be bullied in school, but what if our child is the one being mean to other friends?

It’s unsettling to think that our child may be the one being mean to others, but it’s entirely possible that our own children will participate at one point in time or another.

Bullying prevention starts at home, and its important to know the signs of bullying.

Why do children bully?

Bullying is almost always about trying to assert dominance over other friends. Bullying comes from one of two places: internalized feelings of superiority over another friend or group, or internalized feelings of insecurity.

If you notice a child bullying other friends, there are two questions to help identify bullying behaviors and ways to find the underlying cause of the bullying.

  1. What behaviors are my child showing that may be leading to bullying?
  2. Why is my child acting out?

You want to be able to point out the exact behaviors your child is demonstrating. Think about what could possibly be the root cause of their behavior and you can start addressing the bullying behavior.

Here are a few signs of bullying to keep an eye out for:

  • Displays aggressive behavior
    • These aggressive behaviors can be emotional or physical. If your child has siblings, keep an eye out on their behavior toward their siblings. If they’re acting aggressive toward their siblings, chances are they may be acting aggressive toward their friends.
  • Shows behavior problems
    • Certain behaviors tend to correlate with bullying. Children who get easily frustrated, hot-tempered, impulsive, prone to fighting, and a lack of empathy may be at a higher risk for being a bully.
  • Intolerance to different children
    • Some children may have the inability to accept that some children may be different from themselves. Bullies may use mean names, send mean messages over social media or text, and physical fighting to try to assert dominance or control over their feelings.
  • They have aggressive or mean friends
    • Children who bully don’t typically have a small group of friends. They usually have a large group of friends who encourage and engage in bullying behaviors. Children pick up on the behaviors of those around them, so be aware of the friends around your child.
  • Spends a lot of time online
    • Cyberbullying is on the rise, and it’s easier now than ever to participate in bullying online. Parents should monitor their child’s activities online, because there’s a level of anonymity and it’s easier to say things behind a screen than to say mean things to a person.
Boston Children’s Hospital

Ultimately, bullying comes from unresolved feelings. Now you know some key signs of bullying, pay attention to how your child is behaving. If you notice your child is bullying other friends, try to find the root cause, and begin working on the road to correcting this behavior.

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