Bullying is now considered a real generational crisis in America. Recent stats show 1 in every 4 children will be bullied this year and that begs the question: What if my child is the bully? Here are some of the common characteristics and signs that your child may be a bully and how to handle it as a parent.

JUL 10, 2019

defense divas Signs Child Is a Bully article feature defense divas

“Psychologists have compiled a list of characteristics of a bully for parents. Take an objective look at your child's behavior.  ”


Bullying was not a culture issue as recent as 20 years ago. Yes, bullying existed. But kids were taught to toughen up or fight back to handle bullying. However, with the insanely swift evolution of the internet, bullying has been taken to the next level and it is now considered a real generational crisis in America.


Recent stats show 1 in every 4 children will be bullied this year and that begs the question: What if my child is a bully?

⭐Characteristics of a Bully.

Here are some of the common characteristics and signs that your child may be a bully.

  1. Justify Their Bad Behavior – Have you ever heard your child say, “He had it coming!” “He deserved it because (fill in the blank)” or another variation of shifting the responsibility for their mean behavior onto someone else?
  2. Get in Trouble at School – Although this can be a symptom for a myriad of adolescent emotional problems, it’s also a sign of bullying. What are they getting in trouble for? Are they acting out for attention that they are craving elsewhere? Are they venting emotions that they are not equipped to handle in a destructive way to others?
Signs Child Is a Bully get in trouble at school defense divas
  1. Mirror What They See at Home – Take an honest and objective look at how your family interacts with each other at home? How do you and your spouse speak to each other? How do you speak to the kids? Do you have someone in the office that you gossip about at the dinner table in a joking or criticizing way?

    One amazingly insightful exercise is to watch how your family dynamics operate for a two-week period. Be objective and removed from judgement so that you can identify any negative talk habits and begin changing them within your family. It is true that change begins within.
  1. Have Strong-Willed Aggressive Friends – You become what you surround yourself with. And there is no exception when it comes to your child’s friends. How do they talk amongst themselves when they don’t realize you are paying attention? Are they singling out certain girls to gossip about? If your daughter’s Saturday night slumber party seems like a scene from the movie Mean Girls, it’s safe to assume that you may want to address bullying with her.
  2. Pre-Occupied with Popularity – Adolescence is a time when self-esteem is being built, but if your child is more concerned with having others like him/her, than with liking themselves; the equation is off balance. If being in the “it crowd” at all costs is a priority in your child’s life, it is also a good indicator that your child may be bullying those that aren’t.
Signs Child Is a Bully preoccupied with popularity mean girls
  1. A Need to Control Situations – A child who has experienced instability (one way or another) in their life will often feel the need to control other situations. It’s like their psyche is saying, “I can’t control this person, but maybe I can control this one.” You may see your baby as “high anxiety” at home, while those emotions are exiting as bullying behavior when they are with their peers.
  2. Get Frustrated Easily – Children who feel the need to control will frequently get frustrated when things don’t go their way. Temper tantrums, back talk, slamming doors and other high drama outbursts are all a bullying child’s attempts to try to bully you (the parents) to fall into line with his/her desires.

⭐ What Can You Do if Your Child is a Bully?

  1. You Gotta Get Real with Yourself – It’s hard, but necessary to take an honest look at your own relationships and see if your child is learning how to manage relationships from you. Take a personal inventory of how you interact with your mother-in-law, your co-workers, other school moms and your own children.
Signs Child Is a Bully get real with yourself

“It's hard to see things objectively when it's so personal. Parents have to take bullying seriously and correct it at home.”


  1. You Gotta Take it Seriously – You can’t dismiss it as a phase or wait to see if it gets worse over the next few months. When the school tells you (or you realize it yourself) that your child is a bully, it is time to actively get to work on correcting the problem.
  • Work on teaching empathy for those that are less fortunate or have physical disabilities.
  • Work on teaching acceptance for those that are a different ethnicity, race or religion.
  • Teach your children not to gossip (and work on doing that yourself at the same time)
  • Work on teaching humility. Teach your child to be grateful and not boastful about the good blessings they have. Building a high self-esteem is important, but there is a difference between having a high self-esteem and having an inflated ego. Which one are you nurturing in your child? There seems to be a distinct correlation between children who feel entitled and bullying behavior.
  • Put the shoe on the other foot. Have a heart to heart discussion with your child about how they would feel if these things were being said about them or done to them? Bullying is no joke. It leads many kids to contemplate suicide. Be dead serious and straight up with your child. Ask them, “How would you feel if what you said (or did) made Suzie not want to live anymore?” Play the tape forward for them because kid’s minds are not mature enough to do this on their own.
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  1. You Gotta Be the Example – Show your child how to treat others.

  • What do you say out loud about the driver who cut you off when you blow up in the car (in front of your kids)? What do you say under your breath when Soccer Mom Sarah is out of earshot? Who do you roll your eyes at and sigh when they’re not looking (but your kids are!)
  • Be sure to include other children in planned group activities and parties that your child might not automatically invite.


It takes courage and open-mindedness to look objectively at our own child and then help them correct these behavioral problems. Major props go to the parents who are dealing and healing from this. #Respect.

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