It is often tough for Indian parents to imagine that their sweet child could be a bully. But this is a very real possibility and the sooner you recognize it and act on it, the better off your child will be.
When should you suspect your child is a bully?
- Does not always follow instructions and rules
- Tries to dominate siblings
- Exhibits aggressive behaviour irrespective of who it is - friends, parents, family, even teachers
- Gets frustrated easily when they run into obstacles and reacts aggressively
- Seldom exhibits sympathy
- Has things that you did not buy for them or give to them
- Has ready excuses for various odd situations
What should you do if you suspect your child is a bully?
- Have a conversation with the child's teacher
- If you learnt about your child being a bully from a fellow parent's complaint, don't get upset. Hear them and the school out, look at the facts and if it is true, accept it. Work with them to help your child change.
- Start focusing on your child's social skills - politeness, courtesy
- Spend more time with the child and expose them to situations which foster sympathy (easy to do in India). One idea is for you and the child to join some volunteer efforts of a local NGO.
- Analyse the entertainment your child is exposed to - TV shows, movies, books - that your child is enjoying. Cut out everything that is violent.
- Put down rules about aggressive behaviour and enforce them. Be as positive about it as possible.
- When you see your child follow the rules, reward good behaviour. A positive approach will get results faster.
- Control your own behaviour in front of your kids. If they see you get angry quickly, they may think it is acceptable to do so.
- Thankfully in most cases, the child's behaviour can be changed successfully. If necessary, a child psychologist should be recruited to help with the process.
Also see our article on what bullying does to the bully