Table of contents
Bullying is one of the worst phenomena that has widely spread amongst schools in Egypt over the past few years. While most of the attention is usually drawn towards the bullied children and how to support them, it is really important to look at the life of the bully, to understand the root cause of the problem, and find solutions.
We consulted our certified positive discipline educator from the Positive Discipline Association, USA, Rana Hany, to tell us all about the reasons children bully and how to deal with it. This is what she told us.
Why is my child bullying?
Being bullied at home
A bullying kid is usually bullied at home by being beaten up by elder siblings or yelled at by parents. Seeing parents frequently fighting can turn a child into a bully as well.
This often starts at home when parents don’t praise the child enough or recognize achievements which could leave the child lacking self-confidence and feeling irrelevant. The child will most likely bully other children who are younger or smaller than him in size to gain confidence and feel powerful.
No sense of belonging or significance
It is very important that the child has a sense of belonging to his/her family and feels important. If children lack these two feelings, they act out.
Inability to control feelings
Children are not naturally able to control their feelings and this is something that we, as parents, should help them with. We should show them how to express their feelings, control them, and what to do when they are overwhelmed with feelings like anger, sadness, or disappointment. If the child is unable to control his feelings, especially during anger, he can lash out and bully.
It’s widely known that excessive screentime has a massive negative effect on children and affects their behavior and communication with others. Watching movies that contain violent scenes could be a strong motive for bullying because kids attempt to imitate what they see.
How do I handle my bullying child?
It all starts at home in coordination with the child’s school. At home, the parents and elder siblings should do the following:
Accept and empower
Parents should work on boosting the child’s self-confidence by assuring the child that he is loved and accepted the way he is. Parents should praise personality strengths, rather than physical merits. Stressing on what’s inside rather than appearances is something that all parents should do with their children. Most importantly, avoid insults, negative talks, and tough non-constructive criticism.
If the child is practicing a violent sport, parents should enroll them in another sport with no violence.
Redirect their energy
Since bullying is most probably a result of negative feelings and energy, redirecting that energy towards good deeds is a great solution. If the child is physically strong, remind him/her that this is a good thing that could be used to help others, play sports, and help mom with chores.
Be careful with your messages
“Beat whoever beats you” or “Eli yedrabak edrabo”. Please don’t say that to your child, it’s just wrong!
You can recreate the situation and role play. The point is to put the child in the shoes of the bullied kid and to make him feel what others feel in a similar situation.
Practice anger management
If the child gets easily angry and irritated, you can teach them anger management techniques while they’re calm such as breathing techniques, counting, using their words to describe how they feel, etc. You can also find many anger management techniques online, depending on your child’s age.
Set a good example for your child
You are your children’s role model. They follow you without even noticing it. If they overhear you negatively talk about someone, they’ll feel entitled to do the same. That’s one form of bullying. So, consider your actions especially in front of the children and work on yourself for their sake.
In short, a bully is still a child who needs attention, support, and lots and lots of kindness. Being a bully doesn’t mean that you’re bad, you’re just a child, who could act inappropriately, just like any other kid. If you believe that you, or them, need professional help, please do ask for it.
Find more tips for the parent of the bully on the UNICEF Egypt’s website.