My Child is Bullying Other Children

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You asked and you shall now receive. It’s only fair for us to share all of this stored up knowledge about big kids and their physical, social and emotional development as they grow. We now will answer, in a very public forum, all of those burning questions about big kids – children five and up. Each month, we will tackle a commonly-asked-question from the point of view of a parent with a big kid. Chiming in to give feedback will be an expert (you know, someone who does this for a living). Earmark, share and add your own input to today’s question; it’s good karma.

My child is bullying other children – what should I do?

If your child is the actual “bullier” it can be so confusing and hurtful. Susan Lieberman wrote an extremely useful article for Mommybites on what to do if your child is bullying other children. Here is an excerpt from her blog that explores what to do:

Typically boys and girls bully very differently. Boys, who make up 70% of bullies, tend to be physically aggressive. Girls are usually more verbal, using teasing and social isolation as their form of attack. Both ways are harmful and have long lasting effects on the victims.

Research has shown that there is not one standard bully profile. Some bullies have high self-esteems and are leaders amongst their peers; while others tend to have difficulty making friends and may be insecure and lacking in confidence. One common finding within the research shows that bullies are often angry individuals who feel justified in dominating others.

Many children who are aggressors are also victims at home and/or witness one parent victimizing his/her spouse. It has also been shown that young children learn to be aggressive through watching television shows that display violent and negative behavior. Therefore, it is important that parents monitor what their children view.


The frequency of bullying has increased in recent years and continues to be on the rise. Studies show that bullying usually takes place at school and is directly correlated with the violence we see in our communities and society in general. As a result, many schools are adopting a zero tolerance policy toward bullying. Research has shown that interventions by parents, schools and counselors can help bullies and victims.

However, timing is everything – the earlier the intervention is implemented, the more effective it will be. To help deal with bullies many schools have set up anti-bullying programs. Nonetheless, schools can only do so much on their own; they need to work as part of a team with parents and society. Counseling can prove to be helpful on many different levels.

Other tips for parents whose child is a bully include:

  • Spend time with your child and set reasonable rules for their activities
  • Teach your child problem solving skills other than using force
  • Increase your supervision of your child’s peers and their activities and whereabouts; do not tolerate bullying in any form

Check out this entire blog on bullying here.

Check out our radio show that we did on bullying.

Susan Lieberman is in private practice in Toronto as a family therapist and public speaker. For more information, helpful tips and printable downloads, go online at or call at 416-512-6356.

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