Focusing on the Child Bully – What Can We Do To Help THIS Child?

We have focused a lot on bullying here lately and for great reason we have poured lots of attention on the child who has been bullied, but I want us to spend some time attending to the child who does the bullying. We must remember that this is still a child who is in need.

I know that no one enjoys dealing with the child bully, and it’s not easy to like such an unlikable person who exhibits negative, pesky behaviors towards others. Children attempt to avoid him/her and teachers/administrators aren’t so pleasant toward this child either, but we must have compassion for this child too.

Believe it or not, children do not come into this world as bullies. Many of them have learned this behavior. Have you ever stopped for just a moment to think about this? Much of what these children have become has been derived from their environmental experiences and shaped from home-life and/or other unfortunate variables that they have seen, heard and perhaps had to deal with.

Many times the bully is sad and wants to change. He/she doesn’t like him/herself either and wants out of this image, but they continue in their madness. You’ve heard the cliché, misery loves company.

Realizing that this may be true for some, perhaps not all, why not take a closer look at this child. Can we use the “5 W’s and H” strategy in an attempt to dissect, study and learn about this particular child? Let’s try it out. If so, perhaps we can intervene and redirect this child into a happier being.


Who is the child? Do you know anything about this child? Take some time and really get to know this child. Underneath all that pain may be a sweet little child.


What behaviors has this child displayed in the past? What behaviors do you see now? What can you do to reshape his/her negative behaviors?


When does this child exhibit these behaviors? What are the antecedents? (Day of week, time, setting)


Where do you think the root of the problem stems from? This isn’t hard to determine once you’ve met the parents and perhaps looked at the student’s past school records. Could there be variables, or barriers that perplexed and/or gotten in the way?


Why does the child feel this way? Have the child talk it out, but the child will have to trust you, so spend some time establishing rapport, okay?


How can you help this child? How can you intervene and redirect. How much time will you put in so that you can establish best practices and/or a behavior plan so that you can move this child forward?

As adults, we can help instill feelings of remorse, care and concern for others into the child bully.

Tips for the child Bully

  • Attend counseling sessions that allow you to talk through your adverse family life issues/struggles
  • Role play with your counselor how to make friends and say positive things to your peers
  • Talk to an adult about your anger problems
  • Use relaxation techniques and exercises when you are feeling angry about life’s issues
  • Ask for help when you feel angry
  • Ask the teacher for time-out when you need to sit and think about your actions
  • Write your thoughts in a journal
  • Ask yourself how you would feel if someone was bullying you or someone that you love
  • Tell yourself that you are a good person
  • Work hard at an attempt to say something good about someone each day
  • Ask your parents to attend PTO and Open House with you

Tips for the Educators

  • Offer the parents of the bully aid in social services (Medical, Food, Clothing, Utilities (when the child’s primary needs are met, he/she feels wholesome)
  • Get into the trenches (this is where our children are)
  • There needs to be consistent supervision – in hallways, under stairwells, in low populated areas and place that bullies can easily hide and disguise themselves
  • Have bully use “I” statement when acknowledging his/her inappropriate behaviors with others. Hopefully this will develop ownership of behaviors
  • Praise the bully often when he/she is caught doing something good
  • Find out the talent(s) of the bully. Have bully tell you what he/she likes. Use his/her talent(s) to develop his/her strengths in other areas.
  • Use self-fulfilling prophecy technique – Tell the bully positive things about him/herself and watch them become that person
  • Teach bully positive leadership skills when he/she is ready
  • Chart each time the bully genuinely says or does something nice to someone
  • Rewards need to move from extrinsic to intrinsic
  • Bully shield/proof the school
  • Foster climate of respect one to another
  • Encourage staff to talk to children about differences and acceptance of differences using dialogue and friendly discourse (use worksheet in back of No Tildes on Tuesday, and other great works)
  • Teach and model acceptance and genuine appreciation of others
  • Teach and model a sense of pride for hard work, dress code, manners
  • Implement school-wide, classroom, and individual intervention programs
  • Implement school-wide rules and sanctions
  • Build and enforce a climate that is intolerant of bullying behaviors
  • Implement culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Choose text that will depict all heritages/culture and ethnicities within the curriculum
  • Establish positive rapport with bully
  • Utilize self-esteem boosters with bully – Some may think that the bully does have high self-esteem, but anyone who hurts others has to be low in esteem. Those appear to have high self-esteem display false-positive esteem
  • Ensure that your teachers and staff do not exhibit bullying behaviors – some do

Tips for Parents – You have a huge responsibility

  • Help your children tune into their emotions from a very early age. This will mold them from mere beginnings
  • From early on in life, teach your child to love and appreciate self-first
  • Model a sense of caring, sharing and politeness. This will instill a sense of remorsefulness within your child
  • Be careful not to make fun of or judge people and your children will not make fun of or judge people (sexual orientation, physical appearance)
  • Teach children how to hold a door, or give up a chair for an elder, or a lady with a small child. Teach them to greet people by saying “Good Morning,” or whenever they enter a room full of people. Have them write thank you cards after someone has given them a gift.
  • Teach children to take responsibility for their actions and their personal belongings.
  • Teach children that it is okay to become competitive without being a sore loser or a bully
  • Model and help children express their emotions of joy anger, sadness and happiness, so that they are considerate of how their words and behaviors may hurt others
  • Teach children in their early years how to say “sorry” if they offend or hurt others
  • Be careful not to bully your own child
  • No put downs
  • No ignoring
  • No intimidating
  • Take time away from your own duties and work and spent quality time with your child, especially if your child wants to talk or appears to be withdrawn
  • Ask your child about his/her day at school. Ask if there is anything you need to know
  • Go to your child’s school and remain active in PTO, Open House, Room Mother/Dad, and other school activities. Check in with the teacher periodically to see how things are going