Article: My Child is a Bully: What Should I do?

How to find out what’s behind the bullying behavior, and foster healthy friendship skills

Gina, the mother of a 12-year-old boy, got a disconcerting phone call from his school. A student had complained that her son was bullying him. After looking into the matter, the school staff concluded that her child had been tormenting a number of his classmates with name-calling, physical violence, and even sexual harassment. “Needless to say, we were mortified and ashamed,” Gina remembers. “But not only that, we were heartbroken.”

No parent wants to hear that her child is a bully. It’s painful to think of your child inflicting harm on other kids. But bullying is also a serious issue for the aggressor. Kids’ friendship skills are an important indicator of their overall mental health. If your child is said to be engaging in bullying behaviors—whether physical or verbal—it might be a sign of serious distress. He might be experiencing anxiety or depression, and have difficulty regulating his emotions and behavior.

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