No sane parent wants to receive a negative phone call from their child’s school principal. It totally feels like the end of the world when you discover that your sweet baby is acting in a way that you find irreprehensible. In fact, many parents react defensively upon hearing that their son or daughter is causing distress to others. “Not my kid!”, they say. But what do you do when your child truly is the bully?
Just because your little one is misbehaving, doesn’t mean it’s time to press the panic button. Try to refrain from envisioning your child as a future felon or high school drop out. Sometimes, growing pains really are to blame. Bullying isn’t always a reflection of bad parenting.
Acknowledge the Behavior
Sit your child down and have a calm, but firm, conversation about what happened. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to admit that they screwed up, so calmly ask questions that help them understand how their behavior affects others: “Is what you did respectful? Did it hurt someone? Would you want someone to do that to you?”
Discipling your kids is a #buzzkill, especially if you’re dealing with a drama queen (or king) who falls apart at the thought of living without their tablet or smartphone. But accountability is an important and recurring life skill, so stick to your guns!
Be Proactive Working with the School
Teachers and administrators are there to make sure that children reach their full potential, even those who misbehave. Don’t feel as though you’ll be judged as a bad parent for seeking help. Educators have access to resources that can help your child learn constructive behaviors.
Build Social and Emotional Skills
Empower your child to see the world through other’s eyes by encouraging involvement in extracurricular activities. Exposure to varying social settings can improve a child’s self-awareness, social agility, and more. Building these skills early on, while a child is still in elementary school, can help set the tone for the rest of their lives.