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Rant: Parents of mean/bullying kids

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ok, this is a total rant. How is it that there are SO MANY MEAN KIDS AND BULLIES around? My DD has encountered her share, but it seems like every friend I talk to has had their child go through traumatic experiences with mean children, to the tunes of principal/teacher interventions, verbal confrontations with parents, and changing schools.

WHERE ARE THE PARENTS? Do they just not KNOW that their kids are mean? Do they not *talk* to them about their days and their friends and what goes on in school? Do they think it's ab-flipping-fab that their kids have so much power and 'personality'?

I don't get it. HOW can parents not know their kids put other kids through c**p? I seriously don't know. God, if my kid had a mean trackrecord or a history of being terrible to others, or talked about bad stuff they did in school, I'd be on him/her like flypaper. I'd be HORRIFIED. We'd work on it. We'd apologize.

Or do some parents really not know what is going on? Do some kids hide their meanness that well? I'm at a loss. I just don't understand. And I'm sick of mean kids!
post #2 of 32
I think it's hard - some parents may just not know. In the end two kids tell their stories, both stories go to the principal and then the parents hear what they hear. I think it's hard in that kids tell one another things different from what the parents hear.

My daughter has told me that her friends have done/said things I know where things she did herself, it's her way of telling me the story and gauging my reaction. I often find out when I react well she'll admit it was her, but that is just normal 5 year old behavior to give a better story to her parents.

I think some of these kids may be telling their parents different, and sometimes children who tell about what happened to them are actually telling about what they've done. No children are angels, no children are devlis, they are children learning to interact.
post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maluhia View Post
I think it's hard - some parents may just not know. In the end two kids tell their stories, both stories go to the principal and then the parents hear what they hear. I think it's hard in that kids tell one another things different from what the parents hear.

My daughter has told me that her friends have done/said things I know where things she did herself, it's her way of telling me the story and gauging my reaction. I often find out when I react well she'll admit it was her, but that is just normal 5 year old behavior to give a better story to her parents.

I think some of these kids may be telling their parents different, and sometimes children who tell about what happened to them are actually telling about what they've done. No children are angels, no children are devlis, they are children learning to interact.
I agree with this.

My DS is the one more likely to get bullied, though there's only been on physical incident we know of. He tends to be excluded or shut out of groups, probably because he's not a rough and tumble 'boy's boy' and is quiet, sensitive, artistic, and not athletic.

However, what I've seen is that they parents of the kids who shut him out or exclude (and also physically bullied him the one time we know of) him are good parents. (we go to a small community/neighborhood school and I've known most of the parents since the kids went to daycare together). I'm actually very good friends with the mom of the "leader of the pack." The stories they hear are different from what I hear.

For instance, in the one physical bullying instance that I know of, my DS told me the kids surrounded him and pushed him down. What the other boys told their parents was that my DS wanted to play but wasn't 'doing it right' and then go mad, ran at them, and fell.

So . .. what happened? I suspect that the kids were excluding my DS and he desperately wanted to play. Either he tripped or they pushed him (they're all 6-7 years old). He felt bullied. They felt like he was a clumsy pest.

I talked to all the parents, they all talked to their sons. I also mentioned it to the teachers. I felt like it was taken care of well. I realize, though, that having this sort of relationship with parents isn't always possible.

What I am saying, however, is that kids this age are testing limits of power, leadership, exclusion, and learning how to be social. This certainly doesn't justify bullying! I was livid when I heard what happened to DS. It does mean, though, that not everyone behaves perfectly all the time and we, as parents and as a community, have to teach our kids and model for our kids.

in the case of my son, I'm taking him to a training class on how to be bully-proof. he's learning to be more confident by making better eye contact, looking at people when he speaks, standing strongly and projecting confidence, speaking with strength, and interacting well with other kids. Is it his "fault" he's bullied? NO! but we can do things to help him learn to project more confidence and strength -- and we hope make him more attractive as a friend.

I know my friend, the mom of the leader of the pack, is really working with her son. But she doesn't always know what's going on every single day in every reaction and interaction at school. She also loves him and can get understandably a bit defensive when she feels that he's being labeled as a "bad kid." I approached it by saying, "DS told me this. We're trying to figure out what happened because it's so difficult to know what actually happened with 6 year olds. We want to help DS deal with these kinds of situations. Did your DS say anything? Would you ask him and let me know? That way we can better work with DS." This worked *so* well. I wasn't putting the blame on her DS (was internally but didn't let her know!) and was presenting it as something we were all working on together. I know this is not always possible and that we got such a good outcome because I know the parents on some level personally, and she is a good friend. But my point is more that no one wants to hear their kid, whom they love, accused and blamed. It's just not an effective starting point for conflict resolution. It's necessary some of the time, but not as a starting point.

anyway, I realize this is a bit long and rambly and I know there are just not nice kids and parents out there. but I think most kids are ok and just need guidance in learning to deal with their interactions.
post #4 of 32
Where I live a lot of the adults are bullies, so it would be no surprise to me that their kids are, too. My brother was bullied as a kid, though if his dad had his way he would have been one of the bullies.
post #5 of 32
not in defense of bullies in the world but kids are really good at taking their stresses and problems out on other kids because they just don't know how to handle it.

I was a very very difficult kid ( I know this now). I was also pushy and bossy (another word for bully maybe?). However most of my childhood was consumed with my parent's horrible divorce, my mother coming out and several other serious issues that really really impacted me, both positively and negatively. I had so much going on that I was prone to lashing out a lot, and being extremely defensive to the point of attacking before I felt I was going to be attacked (never physically though, I have never ever hit anyone!).

My point is, I certainly would never tolerate my DD being bullied but I also know that those kids who do bully can have some serious issues at home or other underlying problems. They aren't just trying to be mean! I don't think there are just many genuinely mean children. Your LO may have a very very stable loving home to grow and develop but many children don't get the benefit of that at all and I think it shows in how they interact with others!

Instead of just getting mad at those kids/parents stop and think about why those kids may be acting like that!!
post #6 of 32
Barbara Coloroso has a great book on Bullying.http://www.amazon.com/Bully-Bullied-...6928300&sr=1-3
In it she speaks of the VERY important role of the bystander.
In my opinion, kids have a very defining role when someone is being bullied by just being a bystander.

-Melanie
post #7 of 32
i believe kids that are bullys are being abused in their homes in some way, in some degree. They are acting up what they learn in their homes, that the person who is bigger and has more power, gets his way.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by delfin View Post
i believe kids that are bullys are being abused in their homes in some way, in some degree. They are acting up what they learn in their homes, that the person who is bigger and has more power, gets his way.

That is not always true.

I have a son who is being tested for Aspergers, has severe ADHD, along with emotional and behavioral issues. He was caught bullying a kid last year.

He is seeing a counselor, a psychiatrist, and is in a special class in school for kids who have these issues. He also, has been bullied. In fact, one kid threatened him to my face. I informed that child that if my son did something, he is to tell me, but if he (the other child) laid one hand on my son, I would have him arrested and bring his parents into it. He leaves my son alone now.

We DO NOT abuse our son. We do not tolerate bullying in any way, shape or form. He lost privileges and got suspended. There were many long talks.

We watch him, know who his friends are and who their parents are. He is not allowed to just roam around the neighborhood.
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by russsk View Post
Where I live a lot of the adults are bullies, so it would be no surprise to me that their kids are, too.


Quote:
Barbara Coloroso has a great book on Bullying.http://www.amazon.com/Bully-Bullied-...6928300&sr=1-3
In it she speaks of the VERY important role of the bystander.
In my opinion, kids have a very defining role when someone is being bullied by just being a bystander.
This looks interesting. I'm anxious to read it. My poor nephew is in middle school and stood up for a teammate that was being bullied. Then the bully decided to focus on him instead. The coach knew but did nothing.
post #10 of 32
I also wanted to point out that some of these kids are afraid of being bullied themselves. Afriends DS is "friends" with the bully and is scared to not go along with the behavior or say anything for fear of being on the recieving end.

His Mom knows about it but is broken as to what to do.
post #11 of 32
I was bullied (and bullied) when I was a kid. I don't necessarily know where it came from, or why... there is no excuse good enough to justify it.

As far as Willow is concerned, I pay a lot of attention to how she behaves with other kids. She has a tendency to be rather bossy, and I try to nip it in the bud and engage a dialogue about how people should behave instead. At some point, I'll have to send her out into the world to forge relationships on her own. I want her to be the type of young woman that will stand up for herself and those who are being bullied... that's my goal for her, at any rate.

More needs to be done about bullies, parents need to be more plugged into their kids, I think.
post #12 of 32
I think there are several issues.

1. The first is that I see many parents expose their children to things that just aren't good modeling of behavior. A little boy (maybe 6) flipped my son off a few weeks ago and mouthed "f@ck off" because they wanted to play on the same structure. Clearly he's not seeing good conflict resolution, so how would he know how to act any differently? (And geez was he pissed b/c it didn't phase DS, mostly because he had no idea what it meant!)

2. Other cases are children with various behavioral/cognitive/mood disorders. My son is early-onset bipolar, and he's been the bully in 2 incidents that we know of because his teachers told us. In one instance, he choked another child and left hand prints on the other boy's neck. I don't know who that child was since they aren't supposed to tell me.

In the other instance, DS convinced 3 other children to gang up on a little boy and beat him up. I do know who that was because his mom got there when I did. I talked to the other mom. DS got in trouble. That's the last incident we had, and it was about a year ago. Still it wasn't that we didn't care or abuse him. He has a mood disorder, and we're trying to help him learn to communicate.

3. Some people are mean. I don't know why.

4. I believe there are some children who are in desperate need for control of *something*. These kids often are abused or neglected and do take it out on other children.

Overall, though, I'm not sure it's more common. I know my parents - and those of most of my friends - left us to deal with lots of things on our own that parents rush to handle now. I know lots of parents who don't want their children to suffer any discomfort. While I understand that feeling, I sometimes can see how they're making the situation worse by making their child a target because Mom swoops in to handle all of the child's problems.

I don't mean in severe cases of bullying, but I see here and IRL where some people say "Susie said something that hurt my daughter's feelings. I'm discussing this with the teacher" when my mom would've talked to me about how it made me feel and what I could do next time.

To that end, I think the word "bullying" is overused. Like anything, it will lose its effectiveness as a descriptor of bad behavior if it's used too often.
post #13 of 32
I think a lot of it is what the media puts out, the younger ages watching said media, they amount of it being watched, and lack of attention with their parents. ( which goes back to the media)
From what I see where I live, I am the ONLY one I know here who DOESN'T let her children watch ANY cartoons or those preteen shows. Whenever I see these shows, sexuallity aside, they always display disrespect, and make it humorous. Add that to the fact that kids do nothing but watch this all day and parents are not watching with them to tell them what is right or wrong.
I know this is not ALWAYS the case but I feel it plays a large roll in it. I think some, no matter how 'well' they are raised are more aggresive by nature. I was very passive in nature, why would it not go the other way? I am only concerned with raising my child, and teaching him right from wrong, and also how to react to the wrong. There is always going to be 'evil' ( not saying mean kids are evil, using in the context of undesiarable behaviour or thoughts) in the world, it is my job to teach my kid how to avoid it and deal with it when confronted with it.
post #14 of 32
A lot of times teachers don't tell parents what is going on because they see one time interactions that are normal behavior for that age group. If parents hear what happened and get principal involvement they do work harder to stop the mean behavior, but that doesn't mean they get the other parent involved if they don't view it as bullying. Depending on the school, teachers and principals may be very slow to contact parents because they don't want the children to get smacked at home and view school and the teacher as the enemy. It is very difficult to work with a child who thinks you are the enemy. Bullying is also usually considered a serious ongoing thing, normal childhood behavior doesn't fall under the category of bullying. Sometimes every kid says mean things to a friend, forgets to wait a turn, or even occassionally hurts a friend. Not all interactions are going to be considered serious.

Kids also behave very differently at home or when they are playing around their parents versus at school where there are only two teachers watching three classes of children playing on the playground. The kids who bully may not be doing this in front of their parents so their parents may really not know what is going on.
post #15 of 32
Aspergers is a different problem entirely. I used to know the sweetest little boy with aspergers, who ended up holding a knife to another boy who was lying about him / tattling. It goes beyond bully behavior into unreasonable / unstable territory, and should not be grouped in with that.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by delfin View Post
i believe kids that are bullys are being abused in their homes in some way, in some degree. They are acting up what they learn in their homes, that the person who is bigger and has more power, gets his way.
I don't think that's always true. I think sometimes kids are just testing their power, like a pp wrote. The only real bully we've encountered is someone in our playgroup, and someone who has the gentlest, most patient, most AP mama I've ever met. Of course she doesn't think her child is a bully at all! We've had several incidents and witnessed incidents w/ other children, but every. single. time. it's the other kid's fault. So I think that can play a role too--some parents just won't believe their child can act mean or bullying and so it really never gets addressed. In my friend's eyes, her child is the victim, no matter the circumstances. As a result, he is one sneaky bully!
post #17 of 32
It's so true. Parents are really disconnected these days. It seems that as generations pass parents get more and more immature and it seems so many are caught up in trying to be "cool" themselves so they support their children's bullying behavior brushing it off as them being cool or fitting in. It's such a shame.
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ldavis24 View Post
...kids are really good at taking their stresses and problems out on other kids because they just don't know how to handle it.
I agree 100 percent. My son is special needs in terms of his emotional and behavorial needs. I have witnessed him be bullied by children ("nice children from nice families") and I have seen him, in moments of pure confusion and anxiety and anger lash out at other children. He's also "bullyed" because he didn't understand the inappropriateness of a joke.

I am a SAHM and I spent most of last summer shaking my heads at the bullying incidents I'd see on the playground. In addition to the points made above, I feel parents themselves don't have good coping skills, society doesn't particularly advocate peaceful conflict resolution and most parents are working full time and completely unable to keep tabs on their kids! I am reminded of the Lord of the Flies book ....
post #19 of 32
I think its a mixture of a lot of things. I don't think all parents know till its to late and then there are some who just won't believe their child is mean/bully. Then you add in normal age behavior and what is acceptable and not acceptable within different households as also the sensitivity of a child.

I was bullied as a kid and for the most part my parents let me fight my own battles till it was time to step in. The one time they stepped in I was 5 and playing with the neighbor kids, one was my age the others were a lot older. We were playing hide and seek and the older one told me to hide under the deck so I did well about 5 seconds later I had a very hot bucket of water poured on me and they all laughed at me while I was crying and runnign home. The older two knew better. When my mom stepped in the parents brushed it off as it was my fault and their kids did no wrong sadly even 20 yrs later their kids are still bullies and the parents see nothing wrong with it.

Then I think there are cases where its a power struggle between kids themselves and does not always equate abuse or neglect.
post #20 of 32
I think some kids get positive attention at home from being mean to the "weird" kids and picking on the "weaker" boys. Or at least, I've seen a lot of that. I'm not going to say that there's one cause at the root of all bullying, but I've known some kids with loving parents, nice homes, and big fat attitude problems and the parents think it's funny - the other kid needs to just "toughen up" or "stop being so weird" and it'll all take care of itself.
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