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What To Do If Your Child Is A Bully?


Tammy, a mother of a 10-year-old girl received a call from her daughter’s school last week. The first thing that came to Tammy’s mind was perhaps her daughter had forgotten to do her homework again. However, the administrator on the other side shared something much more disconcerting which was that her daughter had been involved in several bullying cases at her school. Name-calling, taking students’ lunches forcefully, and even physically hurting other students—bullying you often hear about but in this case, the bully was my own 10-year-old daughter! I hung up the phone with mixed emotions; anger, denial but most of all confusion about how I should handle this entire situation.

If asked, most parents are usually concerned about their children getting bullied rather than their child doing the bullying. No parent ever wants to hear or even believe that a sweet innocent child could be the one causing harm to others. Rather than feeling ashamed or in denial, as a parent, you need to tackle the issue head-on. Here are some effective ways you can handle the situation:

  1. Reasons

If children bully others, it might be a sign that they are in some sort of distress themselves. Perhaps they feel anxious, impulsive, and have trouble regulating their emotions. Ask yourself and then ask them about what could be bothering them. Are they also being bullied by someone at school or home? Are they seeking attention from their teachers, classmates, or parents? Is there something else that is making them want to hurt others? Does the child feel powerless and therefore feel the need to bully others? Once you find out their point of view, you will be able to better guide them to stop bullying and build appropriate friendships.

  1. Communication

Once you find out the reason(s) why your child is bullying others, communicate and discuss ways that they can make a change in their behavior. Go through or even act out social scenarios that your child may come across and discuss better ways to deal with them. Come up with various solutions together and give clear examples of how your child should respond.

  1. Evaluate

Maybe you feel that you are an ace at the parenting game but your child may feel differently. It is possible that you or another family member is bullying your child without even being aware of it. If a child sees family members acting aggressively by name-calling, hitting, and yelling, they would get influenced in doing the same to others. It’s important to not only teach respect to your kids but also model it yourself at home.

  1. Consequences

It’s important to have repercussions for bullying which could include apologizing to the children that they bullied or having a privilege such as video games or other screen time should be taken away for a short period of time. Any punishment you give should be meaningful and for a limited amount of time for it to be effective.

  1. Monitor

Monitor your child’s behavior by staying in touch with teachers or other parents whose kids have been affected. Let your child know that you will be keeping an eye on them and be clear about your expectations and consequences in case of recurrent bullying incidents. If it gets too much for you to handle, then seek help from a professional.


What You Can Do Next?

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Register for my free training, ‘How To Bring Peace and Calm To Your Home & Help Support Your Child’s Emotions Without Resorting To Yelling”.

I will support you with some easy tips to help you and your family, as well as provide you with some potential solutions in a free strategy session.

You will get some great information but also if there is a fit you will be offered a spot in our Masterclass 6 Month Program.




Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what to do with them.

Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognized in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia, and Australian Financial Review.

As a child, she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult, this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.

This is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.