When Your Kid is the Bully: Finding a Better Future

Four steps to help you replace fear with hope when your kid makes a terrible mistake.

Suddenly your kid is “that kid.”  The kid other parents warn each other about.  The kid they tell their own children to stay away from.  How did it happen?

  • You tried to be the best parent you could.
  • You read every parenting book.
  • You researched every discipline strategy.
  • You prayed every day for the grace to raise good kids.

You were sprinting the race of good-parenthood.

And then your kid became the bully.

That race came to a crushing halt.

Fear crashes in.  Suffocating, drowning fear.

What will happen to my child?  Who will he become?  We listen to the voice in our head.  The one that tells us: every bad choice today will be ten times worse when he’s an adult.

But this voice is lying.

Our kids are still kids.  They still soak up every bit of information we teach them – every word and example.

One wrong decision is not the end of the world.  It’s the beginning of a new teaching opportunity.

But we’ve already done the best we can.  How can we do better than that?

We can do it.  With the grace of God, we can.

1. Get a good night’s sleep.

In hard times, I want to stay up all night.  Worrying, praying, soaking my pillow with tears.  But sleepless nights set us up for a foggy, moody, crappy tomorrow.

What we need right now – what our kids need from us right now – is a clear head.  A refreshed mom ready to tackle the day’s problems and make a change.


So I let it go.  I take a deep breath.  I calm down: hot bath, Rosary, cup of tea (decaf of course).  And stick to my regular bedtime routine.

Sleep through the night.  You need the rest for tomorrow.

2. Get help.

Sometimes I need a friend to help brainstorm new ideas.  I need my husband to jump on board with a new approach to discipline.  Or I need to call my mom and hear her voice.

But when we’re all out of ideas and in over our head… sometimes we need a professional.

So you’ve exhausted all your tools and resources.  That’s okay.  Help is out there, with new tools to empower us to make a change.

Pastoral Solutions Institute is a great resource I want to share with you.  They have amazing Catholic counselors available to help you over the phone.

The first call you make is a free informational interview. If you’re feeling scared and overwhelmed… you have nothing to lose.  Call today.

3. Get a new vision of the future.

We project all our worst fears into the future.  I know.  I do it too.  It scares me to death.

But God-help-us-all if we were destined to become the person encompassing our worst moments.  We turned out better than that.

And so will our kids.

They will not be who they are today.  In ten, fifteen, twenty years, they have so much to learn.  So much room for growth.

Life is going to get better from here.  Our kids are going to learn from their mistakes.  Because we are going to take this opportunity to teach them.  We’re going to help them move on and not repeat them.

This is not the beginning of a dark tunnel.

Today’s mistake is a ladder, dropped down in our child’s path of life.  Right now it looks scary, intimidating.  I seems like it has stopped progress.  An obstacle they can’t get past.  But now our kids are going to learn how to climb.


It may be tough at first, but they’ll get the hang of it, and that ladder will lead them to new heights.

Don’t lock your kids into a future defined by the mistakes of today.

Instead, help them find a better future.  One opened up to them because of this mistake.  One that transforms them and lets them grow.

4. Get God.

We scream at God. We refuse to talk to Him.  Why did He let this happen?

He couldn’t have wanted this.  It’s terrible.  It’s ugly.

But He allows bad things to happen.  He allows us all to make our own choices, and sometimes they’re not good ones.

Here’s the beautiful thing: God’s light will shine brightest in the darkest night.  Open up and let Him in.

“Behold,” He promises, “I make all things new.” Rev 21:5

Let Him bring goodness out of this.  Let Him take over.  Let Him make you and your family new.

Pray like you’ve never prayed before.  Run to him.  Get your family and friends to pray for you too.  Ask the Saints in Heaven to intercede for you.

A powerful community is ready, waiting for you.  God’s grace is there for the asking.

He will help you fix this.  He will.  Let Him be there for you.

Turn This Around

Let’s give our kids a better future than the one we’ve imagined in our overwhelmed, frustrated, catastrophizing mind.

Their future starts today.


Take a small step right now.  And another tomorrow.  And one more the next day.  And every day, until they’re grown.  Until they move out.  Until they have kids.  And until our own dying breath.

This race is not over until it’s won.

We just need to walk it for now.  One step at a time.

Parents’ Prayer for Tough Times:

I took my tough times to Jesus in adoration.  I want to share my prayer with you.

click to download free printable

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4 thoughts on “When Your Kid is the Bully: Finding a Better Future

  1. Wow, we never see advice on what to do in this situation. But for every kid being bullied, there’s another kid out there who did the bullying, and they need help and support too!


  2. “They will not be who they are today. In ten, fifteen, twenty years, they have so much to learn. So much room for growth.”

    What a wonderfully positive point. Thank you.


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