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Bullying: How to Help Your Child Who Bullies

British Columbia Specific Information

Bullying can happen in all kinds of situations. It can happen at school, as part of a sports team or club, or in your neighbourhood. Bullying can be physical, verbal, social, or even happen online. Regardless of what type of bullying is occurring, or where it is happening, recognizing bullying and what you can do to stop it are the same. Visit the BC Government – Bullying & Violence web page for information about keeping kids safe from bullying, what bullying looks like, how to know if your child is bullying or being bullied, and how to make bullying stop.

You may also call the Youth Against Violence Line toll-free at 1-800-680-4264 or email them at info@youthagainstviolenceline.com to speak to a Youth Against Violence Support Worker 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, visit the Youth Against Violence Line website.

Topic Overview

It can be hard to accept that your child may be bullying other children. But once you recognize the problem, you can help solve it by helping your child learn how his or her actions affect others. Being sensitive to others' feelings (empathy) is largely a learned skill that you can teach your child.

  • Take your child's actions seriously. And let your child know that bullying will not be tolerated. Set up and follow through with negative consequences, such as losing privileges and not being allowed to see friends after school.
  • Involve your child's teacher, school administrators, and school counsellor to help stop the bullying.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of understanding the feelings of others. Ask your child how he or she would feel as the target of bullying.
  • Supervise your child's activities. If your child is not already involved in sports or community activities, encourage him or her to hang out with children you know to be good role models.
  • Be a good role model yourself by not reacting to disappointments with verbal or physical aggression.
  • Praise your child for kind words or deeds.

If the behaviour does not improve, seek help for your child from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a professional counsellor.

Credits

Current as of:
September 23, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Frederick P. Rivara MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics