It does not mean that your child is going to continue to be a bully throughout their life and it certainly is not a reflection of who they are as a person.
No parent ever wants to learn that their child is a bully. We all fear that our children will be affected by bullying at school or in a social capacity. It is every parent's worst nightmare and is therefore very difficult to accept that our child could be the one causing pain for others.
If you have recently discovered that your child is bullying another child it is important to remember that it is not your fault. Bullying behaviours can happen for a number of complex reasons so please do not blame yourself.
Bullying is a very serious issue and this is why a school or sports club will communicate the issue with the parents of a child that is being bullied as well as the parents of the child that is doing the bullying. This is the first step towards resolving the issue and dealing with it in a sensitive but professional way. Bullying can quickly escalate and this is why intervening at the earliest possible stage is of paramount importance.
Bullies are not bad kids
There is usually an underlying reason for their behaviour and the good news is that there are so many ways to help a child overcome these tendencies. With the right support and information, it is very likely that the situation will be resolved. The important thing is that it is being addressed and the school (or social club/parents) understand the serious nature of what is going on.
In a bullying situation, both parties need help
If your child is the bully then compassion is essential. The bullying may be a result of wanting to fit in or a sign that they have trouble interpreting social situations. This is something that can be remedied with communication.
Showing empathy will help your child open up about the bullying behaviour. In an open and honest conversation, you can then explore the negative behaviour and why it is an undesired behaviour in the first place. In many cases, a bully may not truly understand the impact that their words and actions are having on another child. Talking openly and honestly will help with this.
Bullying is quite often an attention-seeking behaviour. Many bullies enjoy having the attention on them and have noticed that bullying is an effective way of doing this. It does not mean that your child is going to continue to be a bully throughout their life and it certainly is not a reflection of who they are as a person. Bring it back to basics and have every faith that this too shall pass.
This is not your fault
Nobody believes that as parents you are to blame. The important thing is that the issue is being dealt with appropriately and everyone understands how serious bullying can be. At the same time, it is important to always look at the way we communicate and interact with and in front of our children. Aggression and bad language, for example, can be learnt behaviours and until now you may not have considered this. Do members of the family regularly yell or put each other down? Do siblings pick on each other? This is all relevant and making an overall change as a family will help in this instance.
Bullying has consequences
Removing their phone or an experience/hobby that they enjoy may have an impact. With time you can re-introduce them but they will serve a purpose and help your child to see a tangible consequence for their actions.
Making things right
When your child understands what they have done it is time to apologize. The teacher may help facilitate this to ensure that it is done in an appropriate and safe manner. After an apology has been made the next step is to carefully monitor the situation. Keep the conversation going and check in with the teacher (or other parents) to ensure that the bullying does not continue. If you need more help your child's school will be able to advise you about services and therapies which may serve you.