All parents want to protect their children from the school bully. But what if it’s actually your own child who is the bully? What should you do? A child who turns into a school bully has a few risk factors: bullies face frequent punishments from parents and teachers. However these punishments are not consistent and thus the child fails to learn any sort of boundaries or limits. Or, if the child feels that they are being rejected or neglected by their parents they could turn into bullying. A hectic home environment with abuse and violence is another risk factor for creating bullies.
The important point to consider is that kids look up to parents to determine what is OK and what is not OK. For example, if a parent exhibits road rage, violent behavior, or even some subtle non-verbal cues such as making a face when they see a same sex couple, kids will pick up on this and mirror that behavior.
To create a bully-free environment at home, use effective monitoring and set clear boundaries. Stick to your rules like glue. Get involved in your child’s school life – help them get organized, praise them in the things they do well, help them in doing homework, keep in touch with their school teacher or even volunteer a few hours of your time at school. Ensure that there is an open and comfortable channel of communication in place between you and your kids so that they will feel comfortable speaking about any topic with you without feeling they will be judged, punished, or not accepted. Talk to your kids about tolerance and acceptance and most importantly, lead by example.
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