How To Raise A Bully
By Megan Steyskal-Rondeau
So you want your kid to be a bully. Maybe even an online bully? But you are worried because he/she isn’t overly aggressive and you have a pretty great parent-child connection. Also, you have more than shallow engagements with your child on a daily basis and really don’t ignore him or her enough. Well, not to worry because with these simple steps ANYONE can train a bully!
1) Many kids don’t really know what bullying or cyberbullying is, so be sure to keep your child guessing and never discuss these different types of bullying. Instead, just model them all so he/she can become familiar with them.
–The Popular/Aggressive Bully: Over-confidence with aggressive and condescending attitude are the trademarks of these bullies. They thrive on physical power and control over their victims and may even boast about their bullying. These bullies are sometimes the school’s star athlete or perceived school leader. They thrive on the attention and power they get from their aggression. Others often tolerate this type of bully because they would rather be accepted than be the next victim.
–The Relational Bully: These bullies maintain their power by using rumors, gossip, labels and name-calling. They ostracize their victims and make them feel that everyone is against them. Typically they target people they are jealous of or people they feel are socially unacceptable. To maintain popularity, these bullies will do anything to be part of the “in crowd.”
–The Serial Bully: On the outside, this type of bully appears sweet, charming and charismatic to authority figures. But on the inside they can be cold and calculating and tend to inflict emotional pain on their victims over long periods of time. Their sweet persona is just a way to manipulate situations to their liking. They are able to twist facts to make themselves look innocent or to get out of trouble when confronted. In fact, serial bullies are often so skilled at deception that their victims often are afraid to speak up, convinced that no one will ever believe them (Gordon, 2015).
2) Teach your child indifference and apathy: A child who is unable to feel empathy toward others is more likely to appear cold, unfeeling and detached. This kind of child makes a much better bully.
-Be sure to ignore your child’s own emotional needs. When children don’t feel comfortable expressing their feelings and can’t count on their parents for emotional support they are not able to provide emotional support to others.
-Don’t teach your child how to cope with negative emotions. In fact, don’t even bother asking them how they are feeling. And if they still come to you because they can’t cope with bad feelings, tell them to ignore them. When you teach a child how to handle these feelings in a positive, problem-solving way it gives them strong emotional intelligence and empathy—and we don’t want that!
3)Consequences are unimportant: Establishing rules and consequences and then following through is not recommended. If you have a policy of not bullying others and you find out your child is a bully—even if they were pressured into it—let them off the hook. It takes too much energy to discipline them anyway (Lee, 2015).
4) Don’t teach your children about peer pressure: Pressure from others to conform to the behaviors, attitudes and personal habits of a group or clique can be a good thing! Sometimes kids within a clique will pressure other kids to participate in bullying. This can include everything from leaving mean notes and name-calling to sabotaging another person’s relationship with gossip, lies and rumors. We want to encourage our children to bully others so they can fit in and get the attention they crave (Gordon, 2015).
5) Be a bully yourself! The less interested you are and the more you ignore your children, the better bully they will become! Consider how your actions may be teaching your child how to behave. Do you treat others with disrespect? Has your child seen you retaliate against others when you feel you have been wronged? Have you engaged in gossip or malicious behavior toward others when you feel your actions are justified? If you answered “yes” to any of the above: GREAT, you are on the right track! (Lee, 2015).
I am confident that if you follow these five simple steps you will raise a successful bully. Without compassion and understanding and true connectedness with you, the parent, your child is sure to become someone who is incapable of empathy and compassion for other human beings. They will engage in hurtful behavior that will influence how they treat others in the future—including you! If this was your goal, great job!
And whatever you do, definitely do NOT check out 30 Days to a Stronger Child. It helps parents connect with their children and teaches things like respect, accountability, positive self-talk, empathy, and gratitude. We are trying to create bullies! A book like that would spoil the whole plan!
Megan is a thirty-something single mom who has worked in pharmacy for the past 15 years. When in “time-out” (of her own accord) she reads and writes, then reads some more.
Gordon, S. 6 Common Types of Bullies. Retrieved October 15, 2016 from About.com Health
Gordon, S. Peer Pressure and Bullying—What Is the Connection? Retrieved October 15, 2017 from About.com Health
Lee, K. 7 Things to Do When Your Child Is a Bully. Retrieved October 15, 2016 from About.com Parenting
Lee, K. How to Nurture Empathy in Kids—and Why It’s So Important. Retrieved October 15, 2016 from About.com Parenting