Is your child a bully? Does your child tease other kids? Are you embarrassed to face other parents because your child is constantly picking on, beating up, or teasing other kids? There are always going to be bullies in the world, but that doesn’t mean you want your child to be one of them. If your child is a bully, or teasing other kids, try doing some of the following things:
First, target their social skills. Most bullies will start their bullying because they are lacking in some sort of social skill. Maybe they aren’t making friends easily, so instead, they start to get attention by bullying. If you can help your child become more socially adept, it may solve the problem all together. Help them learn how to interact with other kids their age. Teach them how to make friends, and how to be a good friend. Teach them skills like sharing and asking for things from a young age. If your child is teasing other kids, it might be a lack of social skills, and they don’t know how else to interact with them. Give them the skills to do so, and you will have far fewer problems.
Next, make sure your child understands how their teasing affects the other kids. Talk to them about how they feel when they are being teased. Ask them if it makes them like the teaser, or dislike them. Ask them if it makes them want to spend time with the person. Often, they tease for attention, and may not realize how much they are alienating themselves by doing so. They also may not understand how much their teasing is hurting the kids who are their targets. Help them walk in their shoes for a time, and you will see a significant decrease in teasing.
After your child has learned some social skills, and knows how inappropriate it is to tease, help them recognize the difference between playful and hurtful teasing. Many kids tease because that is how their families interact at home. What they may not recognize is that there is a difference between teasing done with love, and the kind meant to hurt feelings. Set an example in your home. If your child is doing the teasing with other kids, try to eliminate the teasing in your home so that they do not think it is okay.
Next, make sure that you are clear on what you will accept as behavior and what you will not. Tell your child not to tease other kids, and make sure they know the consequences they will face if they do. Then be sure to follow through with those consequences.
Last but not least, get to the root of the issue, their esteem. Most kids tease because they are feeling a lack in some area of themselves, so they hide it by pointing out other’s weaknesses. So, help build their esteem and the teasing will decrease dramatically.