Preventing your child from bullying

How to spot a bully and put a stop to the behaviour

It’s every kid’s nightmare to catch the eye and attention of a bully. Nobody likes to be the butt of all jokes or serve as a punching bag. As a parent, it’s also the last thing you would wish for your child.

However, what’s even more jarring is finding out that your once innocent little one has morphed into a modern-day Mean Girl.

Children are generally not born bullies. They have problems themselves,” notes Dr Vanessa von Auer, a clinical psychologist and director of VA Psychology Center. “The main reason why children bully is because they want to be in control and feel powerful over a victim.

According to Dr von Auer, who holds regular workshops on the topic of bullying, a bully’s need for power and control may be a result of the following:

•        Coming from an unstable, dysfunctional or abusive family

•        Feeling unloved or unimportant, and feeling stupid or like a failure

•        Having been a victim of bullying themselves

•        Suffering from a learning difficulty or behavioural disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and so on.

“Children are generally not born bullies. They have problems themselves,” 

As such, bullies need help too. If you suspect your child is a bully, look out for the following red flags: Acting impulsively, talking back and defying authority, not taking responsibility for their actions, reacting physically when angered, being in possession of belongings that are not theirs and keeping company with other bullies.