My child is bullying others

It can be confusing and alarming to learn that your child has been bullying others. As a parent, you are the role model. How you respond is critical.

Prepare for the conversation.

If your child is accused of bullying, take the situation seriously. You'll likely have judgments about what happened, especially if your child has disappointed you.

Start by listening to your child. Work with them to get a sense of the situation and help fix it. Remind them of the importance of empathy and accountability to help prevent further bullying.

Approach the discussion with respect, and select a comfortable place to talk about the situation. Avoid expressing exasperation or anger to allow your child to open up further.

Talk about the problem.

When you talk to your child, remain supportive. They need to feel safe to be honest with you. Don’t interrupt or criticize, so that they can tell the full story. Let them know that you’ll work with them to fix the problem.

Find out exactly what happened and how long it’s been happening. You'll want to find out if this behavior is new for your child or if there are past instances you don’t know about.

In a firm but gentle way, let your child know that bullying behavior is unacceptable and that there will be consequences. Remind your child why kindness, respect and empathy are important.

Explore solutions together.

Bullying has consequences for children, at school, online and at home. While you can't force your child to apologize, you can encourage them to do so. You can help them write an apology or choose the right words to say to the person they've hurt.

If the bullying happened online, make sure your child has removed any related posts. If the situation took place at school, let the administration know and tell them you’re working with your child. Offer to work with the school on any consequences related to the school’s policy.