A child’s friendship skills are an important indicator of their mental health.
There has been much discussion on what to do if your child is a victim of bullying. But what if your child is the aggressor?
It is a call no parent wants to get: the news alerting you to your child’s bullying behavior. It’s undoubtedly a stressful time for a parent, and just as worrisome for a child.
It could be name-calling, physical or even sexual harassment your child is inflicting on another kid. Maybe it’s cyberbullying. Whatever the case, communication is the path forward.
“If you’re worrying the child is bullying the first step is a conversation with the child,” said Dr. Michael Visker, a pediatrician at Alewife Brook Community Pediatrics. “Hopefully the parent can gather some facts.”
If your child is said to be engaging in bullying behaviors it could be a sign of serious distress. Common underlying reasons for bullying include anxiety or depression, a learning disability and frustrated at school, or they may have difficulty regulating their emotions or behavior.
“Getting some of the facts beforehand from a principal or teacher is always a good idea,” Dr. Visker said. “These things can usually be figured out with a conversation or two. It can be a difficult conversation to have.”
When adults respond quickly to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable.
“When a child is bullying, it generally means they’re acting out something that’s going on in their lives,” Dr. Visker said.
For more information on bullying and signs to look for, speak with your child’s pediatrician.