Is Your Child a Bully? Five Reasons Kids Bully & Five Signs to Look Out For

No one wants to think their child is a bully, but if you have concerns, here are five reasons that they might be and five signs to look out for.

Being able to identify whether or not your child is a bully is not always easy and, as loving parents, it can be hard to accept and admit to ourselves. Most of us want to think that our precious little ones would be incapable of hurting, harming or - indeed - bullying another child.

But, of course, that's just not the case.

It's important to understand that children who display bullying traits very often harbour their own worries and anxieties - perhaps because they have faced bullying themselves or are trying to deal with complex circumstances of their own.

Children may bully for the following reasons:

  • Being bullied in the home environment by other family members giving them learned behaviours that they then display like a domino effect
  • Undiagnosed or diagnosed Special Educational Needs (SEN) which may cause the child to be resentful or angry and struggle to integrate with peers and be accepted socially
  • They may not yet possess social skills to resolve 'playground differences' diplomatically so may find it easier to be physical or to verbally intimidate classmates or siblings
  • Bullies themselves may have low self-esteem, so try to project this onto others
  • Problems may also arise at home if parents are divorcing, separating or going through other issues causing great stress or anxiety in the home such as employment or financial problems

Signs that your child is a bully may include the following:

  • Reluctance and refusal to include certain children in home, school or sports activities
  • An ability to display an obstinate attitude even when 'told off' by teachers
  • Copying erratic or dysfunctional parental behaviour. Parents are the primary role models and teachers, so learned behaviours may be played back by them.
  • The unexplained acquisition of toys, video games and other items not bought by a parent or relative
  • If a child is verbally or physically aggressive towards a parent or other adult carer

If you think your child may be a bully and want to help understand the support and techniques you can use to turn their behaviour around, don't be afraid to ask for help


For more information why not take a look at our Insider Guide on bullying.

Or visit or call their national UK helpline 0808 800 2222