American Bryan Thornhill shared a video on his Facebook page recently that showed his 10-year-old son Hayden running to school in the rain — about two kilometres in distance. Mr Thornton did this after he learned his son got kicked off the bus for three days after “he was being a little bully,” something Thornton says “he does not tolerate.”
“Therefore he has to now to run to school … all week he’s got the experience of running to school,” he states in the video.
Mr Thornton claims that his son’s teachers “approved of his behaviour” since this punishment. We know that children who bully tend to have a wide array of conduct problems, and show high levels of depressive, aggressive and delinquent behaviour. But punishing bullying with bullying only feeds these symptoms, and reinforces a feeling of belittlement to the child.
Growing up, many children will choose to bully others. With the right guidance, support and education about the effects of bullying, most children will grow out of it.
Bullying by children is a serious problem in Australia and elsewhere. But approaching this behaviour can be challenging if you’re a parent of a child who’s bullying others. What can you do?
Talk to your child
Work with the school to solve the problem
Many schools now use restorative approaches rather than punishment, where students involved in the bullying situation reflect on the issues. The student who has been bullying then has to confront the person they have bullied and look for ways to repair the effects of their bullying and restore their relationship. Children who bully require greater support for behaviour change through targeted approaches. Children who chronically bully may also have mental health issues that require specialist intervention.
Reflect on your family’s behaviours
Children copy their role model’s behaviour, and those they spend a lot of time with. You must set an example and look candidly at the behaviour within your family, addressing stressors or potential motivators for bullying if they exist. Bullying arises from the complexity of children's relationships with family members, peers, and the school community and culture. Families, especially, play an important role in bullying behaviours.
Importantly, children who bully are not doomed to bully all of their life. Effective and early treatment may interrupt the risk of progressing from school bullying to later adverse life outcomes.
Addressing and fixing bullying behaviour from your child is a challenging task, but with a levelled and well informed approach at educating your child, the behaviour will pass. To help inform your actions on teaching your child about bullying, the Australian government provide advice that can be found here.
John Marsden’s comments demonstrate a lack of understanding about bullying says the Hon Diana Bryant AO, National Centre Against Bullying Chair.Read More >
The Buddy Run, held on 21 October 2018, was an Anti-Bullying Fun Run which brought children and families together to step up against bullying and spread the message that bullying is never ok.Read More >
It’s a natural progression from the Family Law Court to head of the National Centre Against Bullying, says Diana Bryant.Read More >
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