Bullying is a problem in middle schools across America. Every parent is aware of the tragic effects of bullying. Parents are always on the lookout for bullies and for signs that their child might be a victim. Very few parents, if any, are looking out for signs that their child might be bullying others. Recognizing your child’s tendency to bully others is not a reflection on your parenting. You can save another family a lot of grief and heartache by being aware of the signs that indicate that your child is a bully.
1. Problems with Sleep
Children who suffer from various types of sleep problems are more prone to bullying than those who sleep soundly. This is especially true for pre-teens who suffer from sleep apnea or other breathing difficulties. It is beneficial to consult your child’s pediatrician or a sleep specialist in order to address these issues.
2. Problems at Home
While problems at home or in your marriage may not directly involve your child, you can be sure that they cause your child emotional stress. Children who experience verbal or physical abuse or an unstable home environment are significantly more likely to become a bully than those who live in problem-free homes.
3. Lack of Parental Relationship
Children who have a solid relationship with their mom and dad that is built on trust, respect, and mutual affection are significantly less likely to become bullies. If you notice that your child is angry, distant, or resentful, it might be a sign that your child is developing bully tendencies.
4. Aggressive Friends
If your child introduces you to new friends who are controlling, abusive, or aggressive, take notice. Making mean-spirited friends is often a sign of trouble. This could indicate that your child is involved in a crowd of students who are bullying others.
5. Concern with Popularity
If your middle school student is suddenly fixated with becoming popular, having the latest fashions or gadgets, or making friends with the most popular kids in school, it could be a sign of bullying. These types of behaviors often signal underlying insecurities. Children who are working to gain popularity often do so at the expense of other children. They either leave their peers out of activities or participate in mental and emotional abuse in order to be accepted by the popular group.
6. Problems at School
If your child’s teachers are reporting that he or she is getting into trouble at school, it is your parental responsibility to look into it. Problems at school often indicate that your child is distracted and acting up in class. Bullies often are so focused on their targets that they fail to listen to lessons or follow class rules and often end up with poor grades and numerous disciplinary actions.
7. Behavioral Issues
If you are having trouble disciplining your child at home, those problems are likely translating to poor behavior at school. Pre-teens with a history of uncontrolled temper, violent behaviors, and acting out often display these behaviors both at home and at school. Children with these tendencies are often more likely to be bullies.