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Are they already in trouble?

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Teenage boy in trouble with teacher_plibrary
If your child has done something wrong, try to find out why, advises Michele Elliott, director of the charity Kidscape. She might be an occasional troublemaker going through a tough stage, jealousy of a new baby, or exam stress.

Talk to your child to see if she realises how much she's hurt the victim. Tell her mental unkindness is just as nasty as hitting someone. Talk to the school and offer to apologise to the victim's parents.

Get your child to write a sorry note. Help her work out ways to release her anger when she really feels like lashing out.

...or out of control?

If your child's a persistent, chronic aggressor, you need to do all these things but also set firmer rules, says Michele. Give clear guidelines on what's allowed and what isn't. Praise him when he's good. Set short-term goals to encourage him.

Also, ask your GP for a psychological assessment, or find out if the school has a counsellor. And consider family therapy in case your child is learning his bad behaviour through someone close to him.

It's good to talk

Benita Refson, director of the charity The Place To Be, which runs counselling centres in 82 primary schools nationwide, says: 'However upset you are with your child, it's vital to keep talking to them, or at least encourage them to talk to someone else. We have a special room in each of the 82 primary schools where children can come to talk to counsellors.'

Continued below...


'We get a surprising number of children who confess that they're bullies, and they're encouraged to bring their victims in with them. They know that they are acting badly and they want to do something about it.'

All pages in this article

  1. 1. Can kids be born bad?
  2. 2. Are they already in trouble?
  1. 3. More tips

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