Is Your Kid a Bully?

Most parents would not want to think that their child could be a school bully. About 8% of school-age kids are bullies, so there is a chance your son or daughter could be one. How would you know? Here is a short checklist of common characteristics that bullies share:

  • They like having power over others.
  • Many bullies are sore losers.
  • They lack empathy; they are usually happy with others’ pain or discomfort.
  • Bullies often get in trouble with authority figures.
  • They are usually popular with their peers and have high opinions of themselves.
  • Bullies blame others for problems.
  • They often get into fights.
  • Bullies are adept at not getting caught.
  • They have prejudicial and antisocial attitudes.
  • They may have things that don’t belong to them: money, electronics, etc.

The Search Institute has developed a more comprehensive checklist that you can find on this blog. If you suspect that you child has been teasing or bullying classmates, the checklist may help you pinpoint specific behaviors that are troubling. If you find red flags popping up everywhere, talk to your child’s teacher or other school official about what they have heard or observed. If they corroborate your suspicions, it’s time to confront your child about bullying and help him or her manage his or her feelings, impulses and aggression. Your child’s school may be able to connect your family to school and community resources that can help you deal with the bullying problem.


Last updated August 8, 2015