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Question
Posted by: Worried | 2019/11/13

My daughter is a bully at school. Help!

Hi doc I just found out that my 10 year old daughter is a bully at school. I found out through parents Whatsapp group, the morning after merits awards at school, and my daughter collected all those merits and overal achiever awards. She's such a beautiful child, proactive and respectful at home. She excel on everything she does and she's a very confident girl. I was so shocked when I heard this. worse on a parent's WhatsApp. I found out that she is competing with this girl and they always fight verbally and then be friends again. I want to help my child to treat other kids with respect. Not only adults. They said she's bossy and she uses her popularity to get everything she want. Like when other kids don't want to side with her, she threatnes them by saying she wont be their friend anymore. I heard also that all the girls in her class wants to be associated with her, so she takes advantage of that. I am against bullying, how do I ensure that this behaviour stops?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2019/11/14

Dear Worried,
Worrying indeed. She sounds like a rather single-minded child, intelligent but not wise, who has learned to be charming and polite towards adults, who can further her ambitions, but not really respectful towards other children and rivals. So you're right, she needs to learn to respect all others. She seems to have learned to be manipulative of others, adult and child.  She's learned to hugely over-value the worth of her friendship, and offers/ withdraws this as a threat to others. You also raise the significant point that the other children often accept and even encourage such unpleasant behaviour as hers, seeing no alternative or expectation of success in opposing her.
You're right to see this as serious and needing intervention : and not just because bullying is wrong.  If she continues to succeed in this way, she could become a most unpleasant character, with an unwholesome sense of entitlement, and a sociopathic disregard for the feelings and rights of others.  Being unfortunately intelligent, she will be capable of more elaborate and unpleasant mischief.
She may be helped if she can be assessed and treated by a skilled psychologist, who could help her control her bad habits of behaviour and attitude and to use her intelligence in more socially useful ways, to benefit herself and others.  She will need an older and wiser therapist, because she may be intelligent enough to run rings round a younger and less experienced psychologist. 
School merit and other awards are often actually worthless and given to the wrong children, encouraging behaviors and values that may not be socially useful. In real life, she could get frustrated to discover that the world of work and adult life does not give out merit awards.

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