My Son Has Become A Bully. What Can I Do?
Many parents are faced with the challenge of learning what to do when their teen son becomes a bully. At Sundance Canyon Academy, we help teens learn to have empathy for others and to develop positive social skills. While some families resort to military schools or boot camps to address the behavior, our trained therapists use techniques that are proven to be more effective in promoting positive behavior in teens. Call us today for more information about our therapeutic boarding school for teen boys.
If you recently learned that your child is bullying other children, you need to take it seriously. Bullying goes beyond basic arguments between children and includes more harmful behavior. Whether your child is being verbally, physically, or mentally abusive to other chidlren, you need to step in to address the behvior and correct it quickly.
Common Bullying Behavior
While most children tease each other from time to time, bullying goes beyond just teasing. It is often a way to assert power over another kid by hurting them or making them feel bad about themselves. Some common bullying behavior includes:
Gossiping about someone behind their back
Spreading rumors or lies about someone
Intentionally leaving someone out of a group or a game
Physically harming someone
Stealing or breaking someone’s belongings
In today’s world, it’s important to note that bullying behvior can happen online as well as in person. With the advance of technology, a lot of children and teens have smartphones and use social media apps daily. Though those apps can be a great way for kids to connect with one another, they’re also an easy way for bullies to contact their targets.
Why children bully others
Children and teens start to bully others for a few main reasons:
– Lacking empathy for others
– Lacking self-esteem (trying to make themselves feel better by picking on someone else)
– Caving to peer pressure
– Feeling powerless (trying to gain power over someone else to feel more in control)
– Acting out behavior that they’ve seen at home (mimicking abusive or prejudice-based behavior)
How to address your teen’s bullying behavior
Learning that your child is acting like a bully can be hard. Before addressing the issue with your child, make sure that your emotions are in check. If you react out of anger, it could actually make their bullying even worse. Most children start to bully others because they aren’t manageing their own emotions well. You will need to role model the right way to handle emotions for them.
Start the conversation
Once your emotions are in check, find a time to have the conversation with your child. It’s easier to have difficult conversations with teens while doing some sort of activity rather than sitting down face to face. Possibly go for a drive or for a walk. Do something that will allow you both to talk about your feelings without having to maintain eye contact the whole time.
Make sure that your child understands how serious bullying is. Many children start to bully others without reaslizing just how serious the consequences can be. Try to get your child to explain why they were doing it and go from there. Talk through the consequences of bullying to help your child develop empathy for their victim.
Make a plan for rectifying it
If your child realizes that they behaved poorly and that they were mean to someone, they might feel embarrassed about it. Let them know that’s it’s completely normal to feel bad about their actions but that they’ve got an opportunity to help make it right. They should apologize to their victim and take ownership for their actions.
After the conversation, follow up with your child to make sure that they’ve actually apologized to their victim and that they have changed their behavior. Help them understand that if the behavior did not change, then the apology was not genuine. If your teen continues to be a bully, you may need to seek outside assistance.
If your son’s bullying behavior escalates or if he is bullying other members of your household, consider sending him to a therapeutic boarding school. The therapists at Sundance Canyon Academy will develop a personalized treatment plan to help him address the underlying reasons for the behavior. Call us today to learn how our school can benefit your son.