Is Your Child a Mean Girl or Bully?

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When our children go to school, we are often thrown into a sort of time-warp nostalgia in which we relive our own glory days-or stress. Almost no one actually believes they were popular in school, so many of us start thinking about the horrors that we underwent when it came to bullying and drama. We worry about our young sprats and shudder to think that they may go through the same thing. Unfortunately, for all of our worries, we often fail to realize when they go the opposite way and become a bully.

Recognizing the Signs

Children know that bullying is wrong, so they often do it when parents or teachers aren’t around. Most of us could never imagine that our children are bullies, so we don’t watch for the signs or consider the possibility. This makes it harder to recognize and stop.

Some signs that your child may be a bully:

  • The child is very concerned with being or staying popular
  • Excludes other children from playing games
  • Condemns other children for being weird or different
  • Regularly plays very aggressive video games
  • Talks badly about other children

Catching Them in the Act

If you ever catch your child in the act of bullying, it is common instinct to downplay the incident. This could be a mistake, however, because you could have inadvertently caught one of the milder incidents. It is important to stop the behavior right away and have a detailed conversation about the incident later. Your child may not even realize that they are bullying someone, it is important to help them realize how they are making someone else feel.

Preach and Teach Compassion

In most cases of bullying, children learn from their parents, who may be just as guilty of unintentionally bullying. As a parent, realize how you talk to your spouse, friends, and children. Are you supportive and compassionate? Or do you belittle others and make them feel badly about themselves? Your children will pick up on the way you act and use it as a guideline.

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