I know many people whose children have been bullied at school. It’s always saddening to hear their stories of hurt and friendship betrayal. Bullying is damaging both for the child at the receiving end, and for the child who has been labelled the bully.
When bullying occurs, the parents of the bullied child and the parents of the child who has been accused of bullying often end up speaking with each other on the phone. It can be a tense interaction as no one likes to hear that their child has been labelled a bully and no one wants to see their child hurting.
How the parents of the bully respond can provide an insight into why the child may have engaged in bullying behaviour in the first place. A child’s behaviour is often a reflection of their parents’ behaviour and if the parents of the bully react to the accusation with anger or denial, rather than expressing empathy for the child who has been bullied then it can be a sign that there may not be much empathy going on at home.
It’s much easier for a child to be a bully when they don’t feel for the person they are bullying. If the bully had empathy, they wouldn’t bully. It’s as simple as that. If a child is not receiving the love and attention they seek at home or whose home life is tumultuous, then feelings of discomfort can build inside the child, which are then released at school in the form of hurtful and destructive behaviour.
It’s good to take the time to reflect on your parenting habits if your child has been labelled a bully. Ask yourself whether there could be something going on at home that may be causing your child to bottle up his or her anger and take it out on others. We all pass on unconscious behaviour patterns to our children and even with the best intentions, it is easy to get it wrong sometimes. This is not about blaming, but about learning and growing, and parenting is quite likely our biggest on-the-job learning opportunity ever!
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