Any kid can be a bully; any parent can have a kid that is a bully
Bullies are not just kids that come from abusive homes. Children have animalistic instincts that are irrational and let’s be honest – they’re all narcissists. At home and in our Jiu Jitsu classes we try to use “Conscious Discipline.” Basically, we are teaching children how to express themselves without being irrational or mean. For example, simply saying, “James, I don’t like when you grab stuff out of my hand. Please give me my toy back.” Helping children express themselves in a logical manner really helps keep them from being bullied and can help the bully understand “why” we don’t take things that don’t belong to us. Also letting your child know that if their peer listens and apologizes then they’re not a bully.
Parents may not even know their child is a bully
No one wants to think of their child as the bad guy or the mean kid but sometimes they just are. It is important to keep open communication with your child and their teacher about the school day. When I ask my 4 year old how school went I really can’t tell if what he is saying actually happened, or if he is telling me a story, or just rambling on the way 4 year olds do. My sweet angel told me he has three girls in his class that are mean to him. Come to find out he begs them to chase him and when they do he tells on them. Luckily he has an amazing teacher that helps me navigate his stories so I can communicate better with him. If you are worried your child either is a bully or bullying, talk to the teacher and make sure the other parent is aware. Worst case scenario, your kids just won’t be able to play together and that is totally fine.
A lot of bullies grow out of their behavior
Any parent can tell you behavior patterns are constantly changing in children. We have all heard of the terrible 2’s. Or we know that parent that says “2 has nothing on 3”. Honestly it is a wonder we don’t eat our children before kindergarten…but whatever. Sometimes bad behavior goes hand in hand with the way children deal with stress. Our lives are consistently inconsistent and that can have a huge impact on the way your child responds to the universe around them. Keep an open communication with your child and encourage them to find things they enjoy doing to help relieve stress or anxiety. Show them how to react and respond to you and the people they see most regularly by reacting and responding the way you want them to.