What to do if Your Child is a Bully
Bullying can happen anywhere -- studies show that rates of bullying are the same in urban, suburban and rural settings. While it's a problem that is most likely to occur from sixth to eighth grade, bullies tend to exhibit inappropriate social behavior throughout life. Studies have shown that children who are bullies are more likely to end up in residential treatment programs struggling with drug or alcohol addictions as adults.
It's a common misconception that bullies act out because they have low self-esteem, but the reality is often more complicated than that; a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001 showed that bullies are more likely to have exceedingly high levels of confidence and self-esteem. If your son has been kicked out of multiple boys boarding schools for fighting and other discipline problems, he may require more intensive treatment for the underlying causes for his aggression.
It's important for parents to remain active and involved in their children's lives in order to stop bullying behavior while maintaining an even keel while disciplining them -- research by pioneering expert on teen bullying Dr. Dan Olweus suggests that children whose parents are either too lax or too harsh with their discipline are more likely to exhibit bullying behavior.
However, having an overly-aggressive child can be extremely frustrating, making it difficult for even the most patient parents to maintain their composure. If this is the case, sending your child to outside facilities like wilderness programs with staff who are specially trained to deal with problem teens might be a good idea. And while Christian recovery programs might not be right for every child, they can also provide teens with a sense of structure and discipline needed to overcome aggressive tendencies while channeling their passion to more constructive exercises.
Unfortunately, too many residential treatment facilities are filled with adults whose problems started as teen bullies. If you suspect that your son (or daughter) is bullying other students at school or elsewhere, it's important to get involved early to correct problem behavior.