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When Your Child Is A Bully
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When Your Child Is A Bully

You have to look at the entire situation to find out how your child became a bully and how you can help your child to be more kind. A bully is not a nice person to be around if you are on the receiving end of the bullying. Sometimes nice people can also be bullies depending on the circumstances. Sometimes we present different personalities to different people in different situations. We should always be kind, even to the bully and show people how to act and behave with others. The exception to this is if you are threatened with physical harm. Once the bully harms you physically, your job is to defend yourself. The best way to show our children how to behave is by example.

If you look at the circumstances in orphanages, city run emergency shelters, public schools, and daycare centers, you can understand more. Just as in the animal kingdom, there are usually one or two children that will be the so called, “top dogs”. Normally, the top dog is a person that is a leader with leadership qualities. With children, sometimes these top dogs go beyond normal leadership qualities that are admired in our culture. The alpha animal or kid usually calls the shots and is the ultimate survivor. If your child is from an institutional setting of any type, they quickly learned who the leader in the group was.

What causes the bully behavior in the adopted child? With orphanages, the top dog was the survivor who received the food and attention. The kids in orphanages are largely unschooled and untrained. These kids were left on their own and found ways to survive. As with the story last year where the mother sent the newly adopted child back to Russia, we find this pack mentality unhealthful and dangerous. If you look at it as the child that survives the orphanage is the strongest of them all, you can understand how they got to be that way.

You should know how to identify the bully type behavior so that you can avert the behavior in the future and educate the bully, child or otherwise. Sometimes, if there are other issues involved, physical or psychological, you need to identify and fix them before the child will show improvement.

Here are the signs of a bully:

• Tends to be bossy beyond the normal 5-6 year old bossiness • Blames others • Seems to lack insight into situational conflicts • Steps in front of others in line • Seems to always be the first or always in front of you • With siblings the child tells the other siblings what to do • Other siblings do what the bully tells them, even if it is wrong • Other children around the bully begin to get mean or submissive • Enjoys being the boss or in control • Seeks to dominate or manipulate others • Is physically larger and stronger than peers • Is impulsive • Is a bragger • Is a very poor loser • Seems to be happy when others lose or are afraid • Makes fun of others • Lacks empathy • Demands that others look up to them • Cannot see things from another’s viewpoint • Will do anything to get what they want • Defends actions by blaming others • Is sneaky and picks on others when adults are not looking • Loves chaos and other people arguing • Doesn’t accept responsibility for behavior • Has no remorse • Lies to get out of trouble • Attacks first so they are not attacked • Tests authority with minor infractions to see what you will do • Breaks rules repeatedly • Defiant and oppositional behaviors toward adults • Attention seeking, especially negative attention • Has street smarts • Has either an inflated or seems to have an inflated self esteem • Is only concerned with themselves • Lacks true social skills • Has only friends that will do what they want to do or follows them • Lacks coping skills and has problems at home or school

What do we do if we have a child that is a bully or the victim of a bully? The victim of the bully along with the bully both seem to have the same personality characteristics. Often, the victim of the bully will become a bully to others. These children need to learn how to get along with others and become cooperative. We, as adults need to take the time to teach the children new skills. If left to their own devices, the children will solve their problems, but with outcomes that may be against societal norms.

We need to teach the children coping skills and socialization skills. We need to teach the children conflict resolution skills. We need to teach the children through example and role playing. In extreme circumstances, the child may need counseling or a behavioral program with modification of the aggressive and antisocial behaviors. In the example of the adopted child, the child may need an attachment program that is targeted in love and attachment of the fellow human being. And last, we need to look at ourselves to find if we have those traits and have inadvertently taught them to our children.


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