Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What can I do if my child IS a bully? Part 2

HumpDay Dilemma

Last week I started a conversation about what you can do if you find that your child IS a bully. The first place we look when our child begins to bully others is ourselves.  Are we teaching through our parenting the techniques of bullying?   If you find that you are, have hope, it is very possible to change but it will take work.  

There is a laundry list of things that you would want to say to your child when you see them bullying another child.  “Do to him what you would want him to do to you” is a great place to start.  I understand that there are times as parents that you need to set and enforce boundaries.  But how do you explain these boundaries?  How do you respond when they cross a boundary?  How do you enforce the boundary?

It is a mistake to allow your children to rule the house, but it is also a mistake to think that you rule over your children.  I prefer to think of parenting as being the manager.  As a manager you do have the final say but a good manager considers his or her employee’s opinions and makes sure they have what they need to be successful.  So the real question is, are you treating your children the way that you would hope a manager at your place of employment would treat you. 
When your children make a mistake, are you quick to accuse them of the error or are you willing to hear their side of the story.  You don’t want your manager to come to you screaming and telling you that you have made his life more difficult because you screwed up.  You want him or her to calmly explain what it was you did wrong and help you to figure out how you can do it better next time.  You would even appreciate a few “at-a-boys” from him or her just to let you know that you are doing a good job at some things.  Now I am not saying this is how all employers manage, but it is how you wish they would manage you.  It is also how we should be managing our children. 

There are some areas of parenting that don’t completely transfer over from the “manager”.  If you refuse to do what is asked of you at work you will most likely be fired.  You don’t have that option as a parent when your children refuse to follow your directions.  However, you can give your children a choice between doing what you are asking and accepting a consequence for not following directions. 
It is always possible to change behaviors; even our own behaviors.  Remember that these techniques will not change your child overnight.  If you have been bulling your child for a long time, it will take time to undo some of the damage.  You can begin to heal the hurt inside your child by spending extra one-on-one quality time with each of your children. Talking with them about the way you have behaved in the past and expressing your sorrow for the way you have responded to him or her.  You would be amazed at the effect it can have on your child to apologies to him or her for your past behaviors.  It will not fix things overnight but it will put you on the path to reconciling with your child and healing the hurt you have caused.  

What can I do if my child is being bullied - Part 1
What can I do if my child is being bullied - Part 2
What can I do if my child is being bullied - Part 3
What can I do if my child is a bully -  Part 1

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