Children who bully others are highly unlikely to talk about their behaviour, either because they are afraid of your reaction or because they don't believe that what they're doing is wrong.
As parents and carers, we hope that our children and those in our care can to talk to us if they are having problems, if they are in trouble or if something is making them scared or miserable. However, even if you have a good relationship with them this can be difficult.
There are several physical and emotional signs to look for that could indicate your child may be bullying others. They may help you to support your child if he or she is having a problem with bullying but has not yet been able to talk to you about it. By picking up on these clues, you can then raise the subject of bullying with your child.
Signs that may indicate a child is bulling others include:
Using physical strength/physical presence to intimidate, influence and impress other kids
A refusal or inability to empathise with others
Inability/refusal to accept responsibility for their actions
Showing a desire to be in control, finding it difficult to share leadership or co-operate with others
Tendency to relate to others in a negative way, e.g. making negative comments about other people's appearance, intelligence, ability, family, behaviour, etc.
A child who shows one or more of these indicators is not necessarily bullying, but they are displaying behaviour and attitudes that have a negative effect on themselves, their friends and potentially all the people that they live with.
It is important that, as a parent and carer, you try to challenge this behaviour, build up your child's self-esteem and help them find ways of showing the world that they are valuable and worth taking notice of.
Here are some of the reasons bullies give for their behaviour:
I'm being bullied myself
If I don't do it first, it will happen to me
All my mates do it
It makes me popular