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Behavior Makeover: Bullying

Bullying is a learned behavior, so start by seriously reflecting as to where your child may be learning it. Think of your home environment. Do you and your spouse fight in front of your kids? Do you fight emotionally? Physically? Has your child seen you smash furniture, get in a pushing contest, or come to blows? Are your kids' aggressive behaviors condoned?

Is bullying portrayed as a positive trait such as "assertive" or "manly" instead of unacceptable and cruel? Are violent images from television, video games, musical lyrics, and the Internet allowed in your home? Now think of outside influences. Are your child's friends overly aggressive? If you want to change your child's behavior, you must also alter the factors that teach him that bullying is acceptable. What can you change that you have control over? Write your plan, and then commit to putting it into action.

Now it's time to take action to begin making over your kid's behavior. Use your Makeover Journal to write down your thoughts and develop your plan.

  1. Review Step One, and take a good look at your kid. Why does he feel a need to bully others? For instance, does he lack friends? Does he need to control others? Is she mean? Find out what is underlying your kid's need to bully, and then fix it. Write down ideas, and then create a plan.

  2. Review Step Two so you can set a clear consequence if bullying continues. Also, set times to contact all other immediate caregivers in your kid's world: relatives, teachers, day care providers, and others. Think through how you will monitor your kid's daily behavior (if necessary) when you are not present. For instance, could the teacher send a note that briefly reports any bullying problem? What else?

  3. Review Step Three. Write how you will boost empathy and when you will begin your plan.

  4. Review Step Four. Write a long-term plan as to how you will help your kid learn acceptable alternatives to aggression.

  5. Bullying is a behavior that must be closely monitored. If you do not see positive changes in your child's behavior in the next few weeks, seek the help of a professional. There may be underlying psychological reasons that require therapy or other forms of intervention. Remember: Do not give up.
Makeover Pledge
How will you use the four steps and the Behavior Makeover Plan to help your kid achieve long-term change? On the lines below, write exactly what you agree to do within the next twenty-four hours to begin your kid's behavior makeover.






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From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


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