Child Wellness: Dealing with a child bully
Nothing is more embarrassing than having your child bully, pick on, and make other children cry. According to the experts, it needs to be managed before it gets out of control. Marcie Fraser reports.
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You might not be surprised to see a young child under the age of five getting feisty with his friends, but if it becomes a steady pattern, it could spell trouble.
"All children go through a period where they test limits and test their parents and after you have covered the basics, is the child sleeping well and have a well balanced diet? You want to look at what is going on in the home. Is there tension in the marriage is your home? Is it disorganized and loud?" said Meghan Lemery, LCSW-R, psychotherapist.
For young kids, being selfish is somewhat expected and accepted. Being aggressive, pushing, and punching is not. After the basics are covered - proper sleep and good nutrition - are there any major changes in the child's life, for example a new sibling?
"If there is a new sibling in the house, it is important to give them a new role for the sibling. Let them know they have a job to be a big bother or a big sister and it's a really important job. Involve them in feeding and time to hold and bond with them, this will help them if they have an important role," said Lemery.
If aggressive behavior is witnessed, act fast with consequences
“If you see your child act like a bully, immediately remove your child and address it. The best thing to do is go over the consequences of the behavior which should be addressed with the child that they were attempted to hurt, and then immediate consequences, whether you take away a game of give them a chore," said Lemery.
If it comes to a point where they are out of control at home, or if at school their social interactions are not going well, it may be time to consider professional help.
"Seek the help of a therapist. Any time you see anger and aggression usually there is an emotional root of hurt there, so do the work and find out what the root is," said Lemery.
Visit meghanlemery.com for more information.