Can the Child who is Bullying Change? 5 Ways We Can Make a Difference

The impulse to inflict harm on others can be a sign of social and emotional difficulties. In fact, children who do so are more likely to experience loneliness and depression than others, and at greater risk for future problems. It is not unusual learn that the child who is bullying is also being bullied. It can be a complicated and multi-layered problem. Bullying is learned behaviour, and our belief in children who are bullying others can actually open wide doors to positive change–and we have seen it happen. When we take the focus away from shame, blame and punishment and focus on learning opportunities, it can happen! Below are 5 ways we can support positive change in a child who is bullying others: 1. Try to stay calm and model positive and respectful behaviour. Breathing deeply helps one do so. You will be able to listen more carefully and get a fuller understanding of the situation and the behaviour. 2. Take time to encourage your child to reflect on the feelings of person who was bullied, and to realize the negative impact of their behaviour on them and on those observing it. 3. Make sure to let your child know that you still love them, and that you believe in their ability to change and to repair the harm they have done. 4. Brainstorm strategies together, remembering to keep the well-being of the child who has been bullied in mind. Encouraging your child to come up with their own strategies to repair the harm done will mean that they are more committed to putting them into action. 5. Create an action plan together. Be sure to follow-up with them to see what happened, and to hold them accountable. Knowing that they have our continued support, and that we care about them and about what happens next builds courage muscles. Believing in their capacity to change is often what makes change possible. COPA has some more fantastic resources available on line on our website for parents and caregivers - copahabitat.ca - and in print and DVD format, available free of charge by ordering from our eBoutique: · Our easy-to-use pocket guide highlighting COPA’s unique steps for empowerment problem-solving · Our series of 10 engaging short animated films featuring the Capsule families, and discussion guides on preventing bullying · Our multimedia toolkits designed for parents and caregivers - WE ALL BELONG and A Circle of Caring · Our fun app that helps develop emotional intelligence and communication: Emotichrome · Our illustrated storybook series for young children featuring the Capsule families and the theme of kindness, compassion, caring and courage · Our comic book for children 9-11, also featuring the Capsule families and the theme of peer pressure And coming soon: Guide for parents and guardians on home and school collaboration And if you are an educator looking to prevent bullying and strengthen home and school collaboration, look for our guides and Professional Learning Modules - part of Safe@School, a joint initiative with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.