But often we’re so focussed on seeing our children as the victim, we fail to identify the aggressor in our kids. What we must also try to understand is the psychology behind a bully. What makes a child or a person people in the first place? This does not mean that you take improper measures to discipline your kids, rather help them open up to you and understand why they are indulging in such violent behaviour. To do so, let us look at some of the triggers.
The reason why children bully
Experts believe children who are bullied and those who bully are both subject to mental and behavioural issues such as anxiety, stress, sleep difficulties, depression and lower performance at school or elsewhere. Therefore, as important as it is to know if your child is a victim of bullying, it is as important to understand why another child chooses to become a bully in the first place.
According to an official US website stopbullying.gov, bullying is linked to a state of power imbalance, which is why the victim of the bully is often younger, weaker and smaller than the bully. The bully wants to feel secure, wants to maintain their superiority and feel supported, which is why they choose to resort to aggression.
Another reason could be their need to have control over situations and over people. They’re always under a perceived threat, the feeling of being challenged and opposed, which is why they resort to aggression so as to curb all the competition.
As per experts, bullying can also be a result of a domino effect, meaning a child who has himself or herself been a victim of bullying becomes a bully, mimicking the actions of his aggressor. That said, bullying is a learned behaviour, which is why it should be identified at the primary level.
While why kids bully cannot be limited to a particular cause, some of the aggressive behaviour may also be an outcome of unresolved trauma. Bullies often seem strong, powerful and in control, but they’re also fragile and vulnerable. They may have been subject to familial problems and issues that may have subjected them to violence in the family realm. This could have led to unresolved traumatic experiences, which in turn may have triggered their bullying streak.
These factors combined could often make a child less empathetic, arrogant, controlling and aggressive. A bully may therefore also feel compelled to refuse to take responsibilities for his actions.
What parents can do
As a parent, it may be difficult to gather information about everything that’s happening around you, but you can always aim at creating a safe, secure environment for your child. Having said that, here’s how you can prevent raising a bullying child.
– Create a safe, positive space at home.
– Always strike conversations that are productive and make a child feel important and heard.
– Educate your child about bullying and tell them why it is wrong.
– Talk about healthy competitions and explain to your child about the differences in opinions.
– Teach them kindness and compassion.
How to respond?
If you find out that your child is a bully, do not react, rather respond with solutions and guide them to become better human beings. Here are ways you can respond to your kid’s actions.
– Let the information sink in, process it and give yourself time to reflect on why this must be happening.
– Communicate with your child, and make sure to let them do most of the talking. Respond with kindness and warmth rather than reacting with aggression.
– Once you figure out the root of the problem, why it has happened, amend changes. Talk to your child about how he or she can alter their ways. Let them understand why their behaviour could damage another person.
– Resort to productive and meaningful consequences. You do not have to be harsh, but must follow through.
– Continue monitoring their behaviour and simultaneously see that you have things under control.