Is Your Child a Bully?

Ten signs you’re raising an antagonizer

It’s unfortunate, but oppression still exists in school today. Read on for a list of common bully behaviors.

  1. Lacks empathy. This means he does not understand (or care about) how another person might feel in a situation. He may not be able or willing to put himself in another child’s shoes. A further extension of the ability to empathize with another is the understanding of how, given a set of circumstances, two people might feel differently.
  2. Does not accept responsibility for his behavior. He always has an excuse for things that happen, and it’s rarely, if ever, his fault. As a matter of fact, when confronted about his part in incident of aggression, whether it is physical, verbal or virtual, he often demonstrates little emotion and acts as if the victim deserved it.
  3. Has no remorse for hurting, humiliating or violating his target. When caught, it’s not uncommon for a false apology to be expressed so as to appear compliant, as well as to keep out of trouble. He’s not sorry for what he did, he’s only sorry that he got caught.
  4. Disregards the rights of others, but demands that his rights be respected. For instance, no one is allowed to go into his bedroom or to use his things. However, he’s free to take what he wants from his siblings, parents or others.
  5. Manipulates others and needs to get his way when he has not earned it. For example, his homework or chores have not been completed, but he tries to negotiate a deal with mom or dad, even after he’s been told, “No.” When manipulation is unsuccessful, he’s easily frustrated. Aggressive children are invested in winning and can’t tolerate feeling like a loser. They don’t get the benefits of cooperation or the concept of shared victories. They put their own desires over the needs and desires of others.
  6. Dominates and control others, including his parents, peers and sometimes other adults. These children won’t back down in a power struggle. Parents often give in because it’s easier than dealing with their child or teen’s meltdown, aggressive behavior, threats or moodiness. The balance of power has shifted and the family dynamic has changed. Under these circumstances, the child or teen wins and everyone loses.
  7. Ignores rules and defies authority figures. Examples include disregarding homework assignment or not completing family chores. These children often act as if the rules do not apply to them.
  8. Acts or plays aggressively with others, including siblings and classmates. Someone’s always getting hurt, feeling left out or feeling badly. Oftentimes, other less-powerful children try to befriend the aggressive adolescent in order to raise their own social status or to avoid becoming targets.
  9. Possesses too much. Items may include money or other expensive items that are likely taken from other children, teachers or parents.
  10. Causes school administrators to call home. No parent wants to hear that their child is causing problems. However, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. These calls may be some of the most important warning signals you need to heed.