No parent wants to hear that their teen is bullying. There are ways to handle the situation, whether you catch wind from another parent or teacher, or have a hunch based on your teen’s behavior.
Hold Them Accountable
Parents don’t want to think that their child could do any wrong, especially hurting or bullying one of their peers. If you receive a call from a teacher or a parent to tell you your teen is bullying others, you must take responsibility and accept your child’s actions. Even if you don’t believe it right away, don’t shift the blame onto someone or something else. Listen to both sides of the story.
If you have a hunch that your teen is a bully, confront them about it. You want their side of the story and to learn what is going on with them to make them act aggressively. If they don’t want to talk, let them know you’re there if they change their mind—knowing you support them even though they’re being mean to others could be just what they need.
If you aren’t getting through to your teen by talking to them, reach out to their teachers, friends’ parents, coaches or other adults in your teen’s life. Ask if they have noticed any strange behavior or have heard anything through the grapevine. It may be that your teen in just in a funk, but there could be more to it that you’re unaware of.
One way to address bullying is to teach your teen about respect. Everyone deserves respect, and we must put that forward if we want to receive respect ourselves. If your teen is bullying, acknowledging the importance of respect may help alter their mindset and help them realize they are hurting others. If they aren’t bullying, they will take away the same message and be more thoughtful when it comes to how they treat others.
Feature Image: by Nika Gedevanishvili