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All parents worry about their children when they send them off into the world. Will they fit in? Will they make friends? Will they be bullied? This last question is one that has become common in the minds of many parents, especially with the amount of time that kids spend online, connected 24 hours a day to their peers. In the past, bullying tended to stop once school ended for the day. Now, the harassment can follow a child home and can continue online.
But what if your child is the one doing the bullying? It may seem impossible to every parent that their child could be a bully, but as long as there are bullies, there will be parents whose children are bullies.
Picking up on your child’s position – whether they are the bullied or the bully – can be a challenge. It is important, however, to pay attention to a few signs that can identify the role a child may be playing. If you notice that your child is being more aggressive, or is frequently getting into physical or verbal altercations, these could be signs that they are a bully. Additionally, children who are bullies may make more frequent trips to the principal’s office during school or start coming home with new items or additional money. If you notice these changes in your child, ignoring them will not make them go away. Just as a parent who believes their child is being bullied must take steps to intervene, a parent who believes their child is bullying others must also act.
If, however, your child is being bullied and the bullying will not stop or has caused your child emotional stress or physical harm, there is no reason to chalk it up as “kids being kids”. The emotional and physical damage from bullying can be severe and long-lasting and may require medical or financial support. Individuals who are responsible for inflicting this harm should be held responsible, especially when their acts lead to long-term mental or physical health issues. Speak with an attorney who has extensive experience dealing with these situations about any suspected case of bullying.
Goldstein and Bashner