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Is Your Child a Bully? 5 Warning Signs You Need to Know

Have you noticed signs your child is a bully? There has been a tremendous amount of work done in recent years addressing the needs of children being bullied in school. Blogs point out possible sins children are bullied. I wrote my own piece about this topic, too. But what about the bullies? Do we do enough to recognize the signs a child might be the one doing the bullying?

I’m educational presenter Graham Rogers. For the last 20+ years, I’ve delivered impactful and educational programs to kids all over the world. Originally from New Zealand, I now live in Arizona, where I deliver school assemblies to elementary schools looking to educate and inspire their students. My goal with these articles is to shine a light on many of the issues facing parents and teachers today.

Bullying in Schools is Rising

Despite all the work done, bullying is still on the rise. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s because of the immense stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe it’s due to something else or a combination of several factors. Regardless, below are several signs a child may be bullying others.

Bullying Warning Sign #1: Their Friends are Aggressive

That old trope of bullies acting out because they are lonely or misunderstood? Not true. Bullies are often quite popular. And this is where you often see the first sign your child is a bully. If your child’s friends are overly aggressive, their behavior may be influencing your child too. 

It’s never something any parent wants to admit. But if your child travels with a small group of highly aggressive kids, they may be guilty of tormenting others.

Bullying Warning Sign #2: Trouble Sleeping at Night

Does your child struggle to get to sleep each night? While poor sleeping habits don’t prove bullying behavior, it’s a possible contributing factor. And the reason why is quite simple. A lack of quality sleep makes nearly everyone irritable. And with a lack of sleep comes poor decision-making. Without quality sleep, our decision-making processes are negatively affected.

If your child has trouble sleeping at night, consider scheduling a doctor’s visit. 

Bullying Warning Sign #3: Discipline in School

Do you get frequent calls from the school regarding your child’s behavior? Getting in trouble in school is one of the biggest, most tell-tale signs your child might be a bully. And it doesn’t matter the age of the child. Even preschool-age kids can have social-emotional issues that cause them to bully other kids.

Many times, bullying is tied to a lack of empathy. While there is no quick, instant cure, consistent work, discussion, and activities can help educate your child. With time, they can begin to imagine how their behavior could affect others by imagining how the other person feels.

Bullying Warning Sign #4: A Violent Home Life

Children parrot the behavior of the prominent adults in their lives. By modeling our behavior, they grow and adapt to the world around them. Think of all the comedians you may have seen talking about their children. Most of these performers tell jokes about times when they use profanity in front of a child, only to be mortified when the child uses the same words in an awkward social situation.

How is your home life? Are there violent outbursts or fighting? This is a difficult topic to discuss for many parents. Adults locked in an abusive relationship often don’t fully realize how this can affect the children in the home. When kids see violence firsthand or experience it themselves, they are more likely to react violently to those around them. 

If you’re currently in a violent environment, confide in a trusted sibling family member, or better yet, seek professional assistance.

Bullying Warning Sign #5: They Were Once Bullied

Has your child been the victim of bullying in school in the past? Some kids start as the victim and then become the tormentor themselves. Consider it a manifestation of the fight or flight syndrome. Kids who were once bullied may become frustrated and lash out at others. Sometimes it’s a form of protection. Or it might be learned behavior.

“What Can I Do?”

The biggest thing a parent can do to combat their child’s bullying behavior is by getting involved. First, acknowledge it may be happening. Some parents act as though they have blinders on. They don’t want to admit their child is a bully.

Once you admit there may be a problem, schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher. Your child’s teacher may be able to suggest a course of action. The two of you may discuss home activities, scheduling an appointment with a child psychologist, and other potential solutions.

Bring an Inspirational School Assembly to Your School

I offer a fun and interactive social-emotional learning school assembly called, “Take a Stand, Lend a Hand!” In this program, I reinforce the state of Arizona’s SEL curriculum in fun ways kids can relate to. Best of all, your school’s students will be riveted because this program is filled with MAGIC! Get your free information HERE.