Saturday, December 18, 2010

NOT MY KID: My kid would never bully anyone

How many times have parents been approached by other parents because their kids and teens are being bullied only to hear parents loudly proclaim “NOT MY KID.”

How many times have you blamed your child’s friend or a neighbor for negative behavior of your child? It is not MY kid, it is the friends he/she is hanging with. MY kid would never bully anyone. I taught them better than that, they are too smart for that. But are they smart enough, kind enough, respectful and compassionate for others?

Think about it. The faster you remove yourself from the “NOT MY KID” excuse, the sooner you can work on getting your child the help he/she may need.

Parents should not only look at their kids’ behavior, but as a role model what message do you send to your kids and teens? Do your kids model your behavior? Are you continuing the cycle of what you were taught as a kid?

ENOUGH with the excuse of NOT MY KID! Parents must take responsibility for their child’s behavior!

So, if your child’s school calls you and tells you that your child is bullying other kids, if other parents are complaining to you that your child is bullying their child, or if you notice that your child is constantly getting into fights … take a deep breath and admit that your child has a problem.

Drop the stance of denial or feeling that others are being mean to their child. It takes a courageous and open parent to realize that their child has a problem and that they need help.

Parents may think there is no problem – that it’s just a little teasing, or that it’s natural for kids to fight with one another. Take all accusations of bullying seriously. What may seem natural to you may be harming others a great deal.

Sit down and have a conversation with your kid. Tell them that the school or other parents have reported their aggressive behavior, that you love them no matter what, that their behavior has to change and that you support the school’s punishment and will not tolerate this behavior.

Explain that bullying, whether it’s physical or verbal, causes pain to others. Let them know that name-calling, teasing, hitting, pushing, starting or spreading rumors are wrong and not acceptable behavior.

Let your child know that you will help them to change the behavior and correct the situation. Ask them how they think the bullying could stop. What do they think has to change in order for them to change?

Depending on the age of the child, they may not know any better. Young children, especially, need to be told that hurting another child is not acceptable.

After you have thoroughly discussed this with your child, meet with their teacher. Listen to the teacher’s perspective without being judgmental.

Let the teacher know that you are willing to work with the school to help stop your child from bullying. It’s important to tell the teacher if there are any family problems that you might be experiencing.

Additional counseling may be needed for your child. It will help them learn to behave differently, accept responsibility for their actions and teach them how to develop guilt, as well as learn how to form cohesive relationships.

Parents need to understand that ignoring these signs or blaming it on others is not going to help your child. You need to seek help so it doesn’t escalate to anything worse. A parent in denial is not helping their kids, it is actually harming them.

There isn’t any shame in having a kid that is who is a bully, the only shame is if you don’t get your kids help!