July 02, 2015

Q: My 9-year-old bullies my 10-year-old. Recently, they got into a fight and the 10-year-old ended up with bruises on both sides of his face. How do I explain the bruising to his school?  We have tried to keep things normal and both do fine at school with grades and friends.  They are in therapy already as they were adopted and had issues before the adoption.

A: I am sure that you are already trying your best to end the bullying of the 10-year-old by the 9-year-old, but I want to emphasize that you should ask the therapist how you can be even more effective at stopping this behavior. It is not right that the 10-year-old gets bruises, and it is not good for either of them that this happens. If the therapist does not know what to do, your family may benefit from obtaining a second opinion from another mental health professional. Reaching out to professionals who have experience with children who hit and bully can assist you in improving homelife for everyone.  Meanwhile, you should meet with teachers in person and be truthful about the situation; they may have some helpful ideas, too.   Good luck!

Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger


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