What to Do if Your Child Harasses Other Children

03 January, 2020
Recognizing that your child harasses other children is a difficult task, but it shouldn't be ignored. It's important to know how to detect the situation effectively in order to solve it on time. 

Harassment is a phenomenon that requires attention and concern since its possible consequences can be devastating. This situation is usually seen as something that happens to other people, but what if your child is the one who harasses other children?

Nowadays, bullying is a socially known concept that has been talked about a lot in recent years. According to Olweus (1997), children suffer bullying when they’re repeatedly exposed to negative actions by one or more students.

When it comes to bullying, both investigations and informal conversations generally focus on the victim. Hence, we don’t give as much attention to the bullies as well as how their families should act. 

As parents, learning that your child harasses other children is devastating and generates great suffering. In this article, we’ll focus on that subject and what to do if your child harasses others. 

How do I detect that my child harasses other children?

Bullying is peer harassment and mainly takes place in the educational environment; which makes it difficult for parents to perceive this situation.

In order to ensure that this harassment is taking place, the child must do it repeatedly. That is, there must be a record so that we can identify the harassment as such. An occasional episode, such as mocking someone due to an accident, can’t be considered bullying.

Alarm signals

For starters, the signs that we’ll list below don’t determine that your child is effectively harassing others. However, they can help you get answers and identify possible behavioral problems in your child’s relationships.

What to Do if Your Child Harasses Other Children

  • Talking about their classmates from school in a negative or even aggressive way.
  • Having objects that don’t belong to them, such as money or electronic items.
  • Very defensive attitude regarding their phone, computer, and social networks.
  • Excluding other children or groups of friends without reason.

What do I do if my child harasses other children?

1. Talk to your children

Once you’ve accepted that your child may be harassing other classmates, the essential thing to do is to talk. Have a good talk with a calm and serene attitude that makes your child understand that harassment and intimidation are always wrong, regardless of the circumstances.

You should guide the conversation with the underlying point that you want to help. Make your child see that you want to work together to solve the situation. 

2. Be a role model for your children

Another characteristic trait of bullies is the intention to harm. Sometimes children hurt without being aware or not knowing that they’re doing something bad. Therefore, it’s crucial for children to see good habits in their most important role models: their parents.

  • Show respectful and empathetic behavior towards others and make sure your child sees it. An example would be: “I know that teachers can be very demanding, but they only intend to share their knowledge with you.”
  • Express emotions in front of your children in a healthy way. Anger or sadness are difficult emotions to handle and, in times of tension, it’s even more difficult. When you get mad at your children, try saying: “Right now, I feel upset. Should we talk later when I’m calm?”

3. Get in touch with the school

Request an appointment to see the tutor and counselor at your child’s school and ask for advice on what you can do at home. Schools are well-informed about these types of situations and they’re the ideal entity in charge of solving student conflicts.

However, it’s advisable to talk with your child and listen. In the end, as a mother, you’re the best person to decide what’s best for your child.

Finally, adults are the main agents of change and it’s up to us to change these types of violent situations. Following William Alducin (2012), parents and teachers should be up to date on the coexistence in the school. We must observe and pay attention when there are behaviors that are out of place because situations can get out of control.

“It’s not about labeling or humiliating students that are bullies. Instead, help them abandon that way of behaving.”

– Allan L. Beane –

What to Do if Your Child Harasses Other Children

Without a doubt, accepting that your child harasses other children is a hard blow that’s difficult to assimilate and recognize. Even so, we must be the first to reflect in order to help our children to do so as well. Encourage them to ask themselves: “Why am I doing this?” “What do I want to achieve?”

Many times, they’re not aware of what they do and all they want is to be accepted by the group; although they don’t know the proper way to do it. Therefore, the most effective way to help your children is to avoid labels and work with them by being supportive and understanding.

  • Alducin, W. (2012). Bullying. Editorial Sista. México D.F.
  • Olweus, D. (1997). Bully/victim problems in school: facts and intervention. European Journal of Pshychology of education. 12 nº4. p.496.