While working with families as an early childhood intervention specialist, I’ve seen children become bullies. But there are ways for parents to help their child learn to avoid acting out in negative and destructive ways. Bullies are almost always looking for control and attention. By equipping your child with the confidence and assurance he or she needs, you can prevent your child from becoming a bully.
There are many ways to boost your child’s self-esteem. Start by praising your child’s efforts, accomplishments, and desired behavior. Acknowledge the wonderful things your child does every day. It’s easy to get caught up with all of life’s challenges, but take the time to highlight the positive instead of the negative. A simple "you are so smart" can go a long way. When praised frequently, your child will believe in him or herself and feel confident to begin facing challenges. As you focus on your child’s good behavior, his or her need for negative attention will decrease.
Empower your child by giving him or her control over things that are appropriate. For example, let your child 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.
Practice these tips to help prevent your child from bullying:
Start using these tips today to help stop bullying. You can take small steps to build your child’s confidence so that he or she does not feel the need to make others feel bad and bully them.