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It can be shocking and upsetting to learn that your child has landed in trouble for picking on others or has been labelled a bully.
As difficult as it may be to process this news, it's important to deal with it right away. Whether the bullying is physical or verbal, if it's not stopped it can lead to more aggressive anti-social behaviour and interfere with your child's success in school and ability to form and sustain friendships.
Some kids bully because they feel insecure. Picking on someone emotionally or physically weaker provides a feeling of being more important or in control.
In other cases kids bully because they simply don't know that it's unacceptable to pick on kids who are different because of size, looks, race or religion.
Bullying can be part of an ongoing pattern of defiant or aggressive behaviour. These kids need help to manage anger, hurt and frustration. They may not have the skills to cope. Counselling can help them to deal with their feelings, curb their bullying and improve their social skills.
Some kids who bully at school and in settings with their peers often copy behavior they see at home. Kids exposed to aggressive and unkind interactions in the family learn to treat others the same way. And kids who are on the receiving end of taunting, learn that bullying can translate into control over children they perceive as weak.
To curb bullying, you could:
l Ensure that your kids understand you will not tolerate bullying at home or anywhere else;
l Establish rules about bullying. If you punish your child by taking away privileges, be sure it is meaningful;
l Put a stop to it if your child acts aggressively at home, with siblings or others;
lTeach more appropriate (and nonviolent) ways to react, like walking away;
l Teach kids to treat others with respect and kindness;
l Teach your child that it is wrong to ridicule differences like race, religion, appearance, special needs, gender, economic status. Try to instil a sense of empathy for those who are different;
l Consider getting involved together in a community group where your child can interact with kids who are different;
l Learn about your child's social life, and look for insight into the factors that may be influencing your child's behaviour;
l When your kids handle situations in ways that are constructive or positive, take notice and praise them for it;
l Set a good example. Think carefully about how you talk or behave around your kids and how you handle conflict and problems. - Kids Health