4 Reasons You Should Not Say Your Child Would Never Bully

Discover the dangers of making assertions about your kids’ behavior


Every parent wants to believe the best of their kids. And you should believe the best – to a certain extent. But when it comes to bullying, it is dangerous to believe or make assertions about your child’s behavior. Even the best-raised kids can resort to bullying behavior at times.

What’s more, making assertions about your kids’ behavior implies that you have control over their choices. But you don’t.

Parents can guide and teach kids, but ultimately kids will make their own choices. And it is important that parents remember that. With that in mind, here are four reasons why it is too risky to say: “My child would never bully.”

Your child might actually bully someone. With one in three middle and high school students being bullied, the statistics indicate that it is a very real possibility. What’s more, your child does not necessarily have to be the epitome of a mean girl or lacking empathy to engage in bullying. Sometimes peer pressure will lead kids to bully while other children bully in attempt to fit in or become popular. Still, other kids bully because they are bully-victims. They have been victims of bullying are looking to regain some control in their lives. Regardless of the reason, it is dangerous to assume your child is incapable of bullying. Remember all kids make mistakes. And your child may be the one doing the bullying.

Your assumptions can lead you to stop discussing bullying. If you truly believe that your child would never bully another person, you may not see a need to discuss bullying or to talk about empathy. You also may miss important opportunities to engage your child in social and emotional learning. It is always a good idea to keep communicating with your child about bullying and its risks, even when you feel like you are doing a pretty good job as a parent.

Doing so not only protects your kids from bullies, but these conversations also may keep them from bullying others.

You may miss warning signs that your child is a bully. When you assume you know what your kids will and will not do, you may not be looking for anything amiss. This leads you to falsely assume you know what choices your child will make in any given situation. As a result, it becomes easy to overlook the warning signs that your child is a bully or your child is a cyberbully. But when you get a call from the school, a coach or another parent, you will be shocked to discover your child is bullying others. This, in turn, leads many parents to dismiss or deny the bullying accusations. As result, they neglect to discipline their child, engage in any type of discussion and miss out on valuable teaching opportunities. And in the end, they enable their child to keep hurting other people. You do not want to be that parent.

Your child acts differently around peers. Like it or not, all children act differently when their parents are not around.

But before you freak out, you need to realize that this is healthy. It is normal for teens to experiment with slightly different attitudes, clothing styles and personas. This process helps them discover who they are. Unfortunately, part of this experimentation can lead kids to make poor choices, including bullying others. So while it is good to encourage your child’s exploration and independence, never assume that they will not bully others. Instead, be sure to keep the doors of communication open and discuss how bullying other people is not something they should engage in.

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