What Can You Do If Your Child Is a Bully

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YOU WILL NEED TO WORK CLOSELY WITH

the school to resolve the situation. Being informed by the school or another source that your child is bullying other students may be a difficult fact to face. Making excuses and playing down your child's behavior will not

YOU SHOULD ACT QUICKLY

FOR THE SAKE OF THE VICTIM AND FOR YOUR OWN CHILD'S FUTURE.

help him or her. On the contrary, you should act quickly for the sake of the victim and for your own child's future. As mentioned earlier, children who are aggressive toward their peers are at high risk for what is known as anti-social development, including criminality and misuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs at a later stage in their lives. It is, therefore, important to take time now to guide your child on to positive paths.

r

STEPS

YOU

CAN

TAKE

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Make it quite clear that you take bullying seriously and will not accept the continuation of this behavior. If both you and the school show consistently negative reactions to the child's bullying, the chances that your child will change are increased.

Try to set up some simple rules for family interactions. Whenever your child follows the rules, praise him or her. If your child breaks the rules, consistently enforce some kind of negative consequence (for example, the withholding of allowance or other benefits/privileges).

MAKING EXCUSES AND PLAYING DOWN YOUR CHILD'S BEHAVIOR WILL NOT HELP HIM OR HER.

Spend 15 minutes or more of quality time with your child every day. Gain thorough knowledge into who he or she is spending time with and what they are doing. It is easier for children or young people to change their aggressive behavior if they feel they are reasonably well liked and listened to by their parents/caregivers.

If these kinds of measures, and the plan that has been set up with the school, have not resulted in noticeable changes in your child's behavior after some time, then you should get in touch with a mental health professional for more help.

Help your child use his or her energy and need to dominate in a more positive way, for example, by encouraging him or her to participate in a sport like basketball or soccer, in which one must play by the rules. Explore any particular talents your child may have that can be further developed to enhance his or her self-esteem.

What Can Schools Do?

Bullying in schools is not a problem that can be solved once and for all. Therefore, schools should maintain constant readiness to counteract any tendencies toward bullying in the school environment. This can best be achieved by having a good bullying prevention program as a standard element in the school environment. Although there are other anti-bullying programs available, the most noted program is the one developed in Norway by Dr. Dan Olweus at the University of Bergen.

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been used and evaluated in large-scale studies with quite positive results in several countries, including the United States, and it has a strong research base.

The following are core elements of the Olweus program that you might want to consider when requesting, promoting, implementing, and evaluating a bullying prevention program in your school.

SCHOOLS SHOULD MAINTAIN CONSTANT READINESS TO COUNTERACT ANY TENDENCIES TOWARD BULLYING IN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT.

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