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Is my chld a bully?

Is my child a bully?

A child or young person who is bullying someone will be less likely to talk about their behaviour, this could be because they don't want you to know (they may be afraid of your reaction) or they don't think what they are doing is wrong.


As a parent you may hope that your child feels able to talk to you if they have a problem, if they are in trouble or something is making them unhappy. Sometimes this can be difficult for a young person even if you do have a good relationship with them. If you have a harder relationship with your child you will need to be even more patient with your approach to them as this may be more difficult.


There are many reasons behind why a young person will bully someone and the biggest reason that they are being bullied themselves. This can happen at both home and school. You may not see or notice the bullying at home as it may take place between extended family, so it's best to look out for signs of tense or troubling relationships.


Some young people's responses to why they bullied someone else are:

  • I'm angry

  • I'm lonely

  • I'm being bullied myself

  • It makes me popular

  • If I don't do it first, it will happen to me

  • All my mates do it


Just as with a child being bullied, a child who is bullying someone will show signs of this. Keep reading to find more information about the different physical, emotional and behavioural signs which a young person may show.


Physical Signs:

The physical signs that a child or young person is bullying someone are sometimes harder to spot, however they may also show signs that they are being bullied themselves.


The most common signs are where the young person is using their physical strength to influence, intimidate or impress other kids such as friends or relatives. An example of this includes them putting someone in a headlock which can be more common with boys than girls. Play fighting also happens and it would be wrong to assume that it is bullying - as it usually isn't.


The way to tell the difference between bullying and play fighting can be seen in the body language which is shown. If your child is using their physical strength to humiliate or make another child feel weak or powerless it could be a sign that there is more happening which you are not seeing. Your child may also be constantly picking on someone else, this can be easily spotted if the other child appears scared or unhappy.


If this is the case it could be bullying, so it is important that you do step in and end the problem by discouraging the bullying behaviour.

Emotional Signs:


A common emotional sign that your child is bullying someone else includes a general lack of empathy with others. They may be unwilling to look at how another person feels who is being bullied.


A person who is bullying someone else, may have the views that its the victims fault for not standing up for themselves, or that they should "learn to take a joke".


Another sign is that the child refuses to admit responsibility for their words or actions. They then may go back to blaming the victim saying it's their fault.


A bully also shows signs of wanting to be in control. If a child is a bully they may find it difficult to share leadership with others and may be unwilling to cooperate.

Behavioural Signs:


Just like the victim a bully may also shows signs of low self-esteem. So they build up a sense or power by bullying others into doing what they say, and brag about things.


Another sign is that they always view other people negatively, and may make comments about people's appearance, family, behaviour, intelligence or ability. This could include hurtful comments about other lifestyles and cultures. A bully may also frequently use sexist, racist or homophobic language, such as using the word "gay" to mean rubbish or using the word in a way which is abusive.


People are always making negative comments about others or using unflattering terms, but if your child uses these on a regular basis, you have a reason to be concerned. It's also important for you to look at the way you talk about other people in front of your child.


Just because your child shows these indicators, doesn't mean to say that they are bullying someone, but they are supporting negative behaviours. It's important that as a parent you challenge these behaviours, and help them build up their self-esteem, by showing them that they are valuable. You should point out their behaviour and the negative effects it has on others.

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