Would You Notice if Your Child Was a Bully?

Psychologist Jodie Benveniste thinks parents are so blinded by the belief that their child is perfect that they are startled when confronted with the possibility that their child has been bullying others:

Psychologist Jodie Benveniste says most parents don’t – until they get a call from their child’s school.

“That’s often the first time you hear about it because you’re not there to observe the behaviour,” she says.

Youth worker and school chaplain Nigel Lane says in his experience parents are usually in “total shock” or “total denial” when they learn their child is a bully.

The experts agree there are tell-tale signs parents can look for, including very aggressive behaviour towards siblings, talking aggressively and negatively about other children and coming home with money or items that don’t belong to them.

Lane, who has written several books and is working on another about how to recognise a bully, says most parents eventually accept there is a problem.

 “Generally I say to parents that the first thing they should do is listen. Listen to the accusation, don’t deny and ignore it,” he says.

“Then do exactly the same with your child. Sit down with your son or daughter and just listen. Ask broad questions, such as, ‘School gave me a ring today to tell me something happened at lunch time, what was it?’ rather than saying, ‘You’re a bully’, which could make them defensive.”

Lane says this “gentle” approach is more likely to bring out the truth or a version close to it.

The bullying stigma has become a massive one. It is essential that we don’t label people as bullies haphazardly. What that does is unnecessarily complicate the issue, while it also puts children who are involved in one-off incidents in the same basket as perpetual offenders.

Parents should be open to the fact that their children acts differently at school than they do at home. Schools must realise that such a disparity often comes as a result of the unnatural array of clicks and the deep social segregation that are a common fixture in many schools.

The reason why parents may be surprised to know that their child is bullying isn’t just due to their lack of objectivity, it’s also due to the ‘dog eat dog’ environment rampant in many schools. Kids are presented with an environment that is often vicious, unrelenting and difficult to navigate through.

This of course doesn’t excuse their behaviour. What it does do, is make schools equal partners with the parents in reforming bullying children.


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One Response to “Would You Notice if Your Child Was a Bully?”

  1. makethea Says:

    Reblogged this on makethea.

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