By Noralba Martinez
Why do kids become bullies? They're almost always looking for control and attention and therefore act out in negative and destructive ways. As an early childhood intervention specialist, I've seen children become bullies, but I've also seen how to prevent kids from becoming bullies. By equipping your child with the confidence and assurance they need, you can stop your child from becoming a bully.
You can boost your child's self-esteem with these methods:
- Praise your child’s efforts, accomplishments, and desired behavior.
Acknowledge the wonderful things your child does every day. A simple "you are so smart" can go a long way. When praised frequently, your child will believe in themself and feel confident to face challenges. As you focus on your child’s good behavior, their need for negative attention will decrease.
- Empower your child.
Give them control over things that are appropriate. Let them pick out clothing to wear, choose an afternoon snack, or select paint colors for an arts and crafts project.
As your child matures, giving him or her more control over other things can continue to foster confidence and independence. Confidence helps a child feel successful and eliminates the need to degrade or bully someone else.
- Role-play different social scenarios with your child and work out possible solutions together.
- Talk to your child about their self-worth and unique strengths.
- Help your child understand that they are in control of the outcome of any situation they face.
- Give your child positive attention every time they do something that you want them to repeat.
- Encourage positive social-emotional development by being a role model of respect and consideration towards others.
Start using these tips today to help your child be compassionate and empathetic. These small steps will build your child’s confidence so that they don't feel the need to make others feel bad and bully them.