Warning Signs of Being a Bully

Warning signs of being a bully are just that... warnings... Little red flags that should alert you to some challenges your child is dealing with.

The Bully is not a bad kid. They are a great kid making poor decisions whose actions are hurting others. It is important to remember your child is bullying another person for multiple reasons.


  1. Does your child always need to control the game and make up the rules?
  2. Does your child manipulate younger siblings to get what they want ?
  3. Do accidents tend to happen to other kids when your child is with them and there is no adult supervision?
  4.  Is your child able to take responsibility for his/her actions?
  5.  Does Your child put down, use nasty names or show disdain for anyone different than him or her?(different sex, religion, skin color, age, culture)
  6.  Is your child impulsive, aggressive, or easily angered?
  7.  Is your child able to feel the hurt of another. For example if they are playing and a younger sibling gets hurt do they feel bad and try and sooth or do they laugh ?
  8.  Does your child have difficulty with authority? Everytime you set a rule he/she has a fit?
  9.  Does your child like being the center of attention ?
  10.  Have you had any indication that they are involved in other criminal activities such as vandalism, delinquency, and substance abuse ?
  11.  Is your child bigger or stronger than other kids his age?
  12.  Does your child believe violence or use of a gun can gain respect or be used to frighten others?
  13.  Can your child think ahead to what the consequences of his actions might be ?
  14.  Is your child able to think about how the other person might feel or put herself/himself in someone elses shoes?
  15.  Does your child have power over other children, socially (the queen bee or the football hero), economically, higher intelligence, with strength, age or size?
  16.  Does your child come home with gadgets and “gifts” that don’t belong to them?
  17.  Is your child good at “playing the game” ? Can they cry on demand? Are they good at ingratiating themselves with adults…always knowing the right thing to say?
  18.  Does your Child think violence and the use of violence is cool? Does He/She enjoy violent video games and think it is a hoot when people get hurt in violent movies ?

if you answered yes to any or all of the above

Individually any one of these behaviors is considered to be normal kid stuff. It is all part of growing up… Different phases we all go through. However, if there are instances re-occuring over time…and a variety of the behaviors combine…You might have a bully in your house.

new type of bully?

There is new research that shows it is not just the stereo-typical... Big, Stupid, angry kid who is bullying. New information is showing us that often times the Bully is a great kid, smart, assertive, popular and has great social skills able to wrap adults around their baby finger. 

This is not new to me…It seems to be common sense. It always seems to be the “Queen Bee” who decides who gets invited to the best parties and who gets excluded…and the football star has a group of henchmen from his “team” who think it great fun to give a kid a swirlee…(Stick them upside down in the toilet and flush) 

The difficulty is when this meaningless “kids Stuff” turns into contempt. If your child is showing multiple warning signs of being a bully it could indicate more serious issues. The target is seen as  non-human and the pranks and exclusions go unchecked and get increasingly more cruel. 

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes and have many different reasons for their behaviors. We must keep in mind Bullies are just like everyone else. They are trying to meet their needs. Bullying fulfills those needs or they would have no motivation.


If we recognise the warning signs of being a bully in our child we need to take action.

  1. As parents we can get more involved with their lives, 
  2. Be a model of  tolerance 
  3. Teach empathy, encourage our child to walk in someone elses shoes, 
  4. Be there to help them problem solve and get them the help they need to learn to get what they want in a constructive way.
  5. Provide Guidance to use there talents (ie leadership) to do good deeds.

We know from research the bully can suffer the effects of bullying. They can grow up to have relationship issues or worse end up in jail. Our job as parents is to guide them to use their gifts in more constructive ways. They can develop the natural leadership skills into a great benefit instead of getting others to bully another. There are many good things that can come out of identifying the warning signs early.

back to top of page

back to home page

back to dealing with bullying

More Suggested Reading:

More parenting Advice

bullying solutions

more about bullies

how bullies are made

Bullying>Dealingwithbullying>Warning Signs

Bullying > Understanding Bullying > Warning Signs

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.


[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines