Is my child a bully? Am I encouraging it?
You may have asked yourself these questions before, and the truth is sometimes your child may be the problem. You’re probably already in the right direction with avoiding violent video games, not being an overly permissive parent, and not being abusive, but sometimes even the most well-intentioned parents unintentionally raise their children as be a bully. Take action and raise kind and caring kids.
1. Avoid Insults
Surprisingly, bullying can begin as early as preschool. Parents say things to children like, “Why can’t you act your age?” “You’re no good.” or “Why can’t you be smarter like your brother?” Children see this behavior as acceptable and may become insensitive to the feelings of others or defiant toward those in authority positions.
Use positive reinforcement when you notice your child practicing good behavior. Saying something as simple as, “You found a really good way to do that!” or “I can tell you’ve been practicing” goes a long way.
2. When You’re Around, Be There
It’s easy to get distracted in a world full of distractions: social media, news, work, entertainment, and more. Neglect is when you ignore your child’s basic needs, and oftentimes with neglect, you’re more likely to respond to negative behavior as opposed to positive behavior. This could lead to a pattern of the children stirring up trouble to respond to negative behavior.
Make sure you’re available for your child when they need you, and always show them positive behavior. When your kids are leaving for school or elsewhere, make sure you tell them you love them and give them a hug and kis. It’s a great way to show a positive display of intimacy. Showing them you care is a model for your kids to show others they care.
3. Stop Saying “I Hate”
I think we’ve all got a little Negative Nancy in us. It’s so easy to see all of the negative things around us. There are many things in our lives that may not be going as we want them to, but they may be impacting your child more than you think. They hear you say these things, and it becomes their attitude of the world around them, making them feel powerless to the problems around them.
Save your negative talk for after they go to bed talk. And if you hear your child start to say negative things, try to re-start the conversation with questions like, “What good things happened to you today?” or “Is there another way to look at that?”
4. Don’t Overplan for Your Kids
Our kids want to try everything, and we want to give them everything, so we sign them up for after school activities including soccer, ballet, T-ball, and others. Sometimes that can stress kids out. Stress can lead to anxiety, aggression, and anger.
For children’s brains to develop, they need time to be creative and quiet. That unstructured time gives them time to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
5. Be Consistent With Rules
At the beginning of the day, we may be more willing to enforce boundaries for our children. When we’re inconsistent, it’s confusing to children, and they may see that as a way that they’re losing power. Sometimes bullying comes from the need to regain lost power.
Keep the rules the same for all children during all times of day, even when you’re tired.
Positive Structure through Martial Arts in East Mesa
You may not realize that you’re encouraging your child to be a bully through the things you do and say, but sometimes we’re part of the problem. Our karate school in East Mesa encourages kids to be positive through rules and no insults. Call 480-986-7177 today or sign up for our trial offer.