When Your Child is the Bully

By Dina Alexander, MS

Bullying has been around since man first walked the earth. However, with too much times on kids’ hands and digital devices in our kids ’back pockets nowadays, bullying can follow them home and anywhere..

As loving parents, it’s not just our role to shield our kids from the pain of bullying, but also our responsibility to step up when it is our own child who is involved in such hurtful behavior. Recognizing and addressing this issue is absolutely essential for our children’s emotional and social growth

And it’s simpler than you think!

The Damaging Effects of Bullying

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the profound impact bullying can have on a child’s mental and emotional health. Victims of bullying often experience increased stress, anxiety, depression, and a diminished sense of self-worth. 

Worse, the scars of childhood bullying can last well into adulthood, affecting their relationships, self-confidence, and overall quality of life.

Recognizing Your Child’s Bullying Behavior

When it comes to addressing bullying, initiating open communication is key. Start by talking to your child openly and without judgment. Create a safe space for them to express their feelings and experiences. Understanding the motivation behind their behavior is essential! Are they feeling insecure, seeking attention, or imitating behavior they’ve seen elsewhere? Try to get to the root of the problem so you can effectively address it.

Teaching Empathy

Empathy is a crucial skill that can help deter bullying behavior. Help your child develop empathy by discussing the impact of their actions on others. Repeatedly encourage them to imagine how it feels to be in the shoes of the person they are bullying. By fostering empathy, you can help your child connect with the feelings of others and develop a sense of compassion.

Establishing Clear Boundaries and Consequences

Set clear rules about bullying and its consequences. Make sure your child knows that such behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Be consistent in enforcing these boundaries, and ensure that there are appropriate consequences for bullying actions. Loss of privileges, such as screen time or outings with friends, can be effective consequences. Make it clear what behavior needs to change and what the consequences will be if it doesn’t.

Seeking Professional Help

If the bullying behavior persists or escalates despite your efforts, it may be time to involve a child psychologist or counselor who can provide specialized guidance and support. Sometimes, professional intervention is necessary to address underlying issues and help your child change their behavior.

Teaching Conflict Resolution

To prevent future bullying incidents, help your child learn alternative ways to handle conflicts and express their feelings. Teach them problem-solving skills and encourage them to use words to express their thoughts and emotions instead of resorting to bullying. Role-play different scenarios to practice positive communication.

Disciplining a child who exhibits bullying behavior requires a balanced approach of setting clear boundaries while also providing opportunities for them to learn and grow. It’s important to combine discipline with guidance, support, and opportunities for them to make amends and improve their behavior.

Remember that addressing bullying behavior in your child is a process that requires patience and persistence. Your love and guidance are powerful tools in helping your child grow into a compassionate and responsible individual. By taking proactive steps to address bullying, you can help your child become a better person and contribute to a more empathetic and kinder society.

For more great discussions about kindness, respect, friendship, assertivelness and more, check out our book . It’s an AMAZING guide that truly educate and empowers you and your children.


Dina Alexander is the founder and CEO of Educate and Empower Kids (educateempowerkids.org), an organization determined to strengthen families by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online porn. She is the creator of Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good, Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure, How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography and the 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child programs. She received her master’s degree in recreation therapy from the University of Utah and her bachelor’s from Brigham Young University. She is a dedicated, whole-hearted mom of three children and loves spending time with them. Together, they live in New Mexico. 


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