Am I Raising A Bully?

Bullying is a problem that has been around forever. Most parents are always on the lookout for bullies – they’re looking for other kids who might be bullying their child. But what if your child is the bully? Would you be able to admit this to yourself and actually do something about it?

Growing up, I had my fair share of being bullied, I was chubby and I could be a little annoying because I always wanted attention.  But I remember a moment when I was the bully. I don’t know why I did it, but I remember at the time I felt that I was “cooler” than the person that was being bullied. I also remember all the times I was bullied and I never felt good about those bullying me. They made me feel like dirt and like I shouldn’t exist, it was awful.

I was recently sitting in nursery with my son when I saw that he was being a bully. He wouldn’t let anyone use “his toys” and he would just take them away from the other kids when he wanted a turn. If he couldn’t play with a certain toy, no one could. Now I know, he’s little and he’s not being a bully, but it still raised a flag causing me to think, “Am I raising a bully?”

Because of this, I had to research and find out exactly how to tell if your child is a bully. Here is what I found:

  • Your child seems obsessed with social status or popularity.

Thankfully I do think this is the case with my son because he’s two and a half and doesn’t really know about social status or popularity. I on the other hand do. I care about what kids my son is hanging out with, want to make sure he has tons of friends and I care about our social status. I am not setting a good example for this.

  • Your child displays aggressive behavior – either emotional or physical.

I think we are at the age right now that my son doesn’t really know what he’s doing as far as being aggressive, what’s acceptable and what isn’t. He has cousins that he loves to wrestle with and play around pretty rough, but sometimes he forgets to not take it a little gentler with his sister or cousins who are smaller than him. It’s something I will watch him on, but for now I think we are good.

  • Your child is getting bullied.

This is one that scares me to death. What would I do if any of my kids were to be bullied? Would I be able to handle that or say something to the parents/child without getting out of control? I don’t know, but I do know that I get pretty protective when it comes to kids. A friend of mine told me about how their child was being bullied and instantly my emotions changed. I couldn’t believe the things that other little kids were doing to this child. But it’s hard to confront your friends that have kids the same age as your own children about bulling. You want them to hang out and have a good time together, but if my child is being bullied I don’t want them associated with your child.

  • His or her friends are bullies.

This is one for sure I know he does not have. I think it’s important as a parent to make sure that you know the friends your child is hanging out with. Not only that, but if my child is going to be hanging out with anyone I want to know the parents too. Just because you know these family members though doesn’t make it completely perfect, but it helps I think.

  • Your child spends a lot of time online.

The Enough Is Enough organization says that cyberbullies spend more time online than nice kids – 38.4 hours compared to 26.8 hours. I feel like we have been doing our best to keep our son active and constantly using his imagination, playing outside constantly and doing things that don’t necessarily use a computer. By doing this, I hope that it keeps him out of wanting to be on the computer regularly. I think another thing we as parents need to think about is the amount of time we are spending on our phones. It’s just as easy to cyberbully on the phone as it is on the computer, actually it’s probably easier because it’s mobile.

  • You’re divorced, or your child isn’t living with his or her biological parents.

Children who come from split homes or don’t live with their biological parents face a higher risk of becoming bullies, according to a study at Brunel University in London. They often don’t receive enough one-on-one time. Thankfully we’re not divorced, but I do wonder if this is an issue for kids that are adopted? Sadly, they found that internationally adopted kids with a history of institutional care were more often the victim of bullies for both overt aggression and relation victimization. Interestingly, this was the case despite reports that their children were no less positive in their social behavior towards peers. Not surprisingly, the children who were being bullied suffered from more anxiety and depression. That’s doesn’t mean that because your kid is adopted they will be a bully, but it’s important to be aware.

At the end of the day, it’s important to pay attention to your children. You need to think about the example you are setting and the things you do that they might pick up from you. I pray I can change my habits that could potentially turn my child into a bully. No matter what though, I will definitely prepare myself for either because my aggressive response to bullies is not going to fix anything.