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Rant: Parents of mean/bullying kids - Page 2

post #21 of 32
I haven't witnessed any mean kids or bullying in either of my kids' classes or peer groups. They're in pre-K and 1st grade. I think there is a strong anti-bullying sentiment in the schools these days. It's just not cool anymore to be a bully. I'm surprised that so many people have encountered it with their kids.

Maybe I'm totally clueless and my kids *are* the bullies but that would contradict everything their teachers tell me about them. Or maybe I'm just sheltered living in Ann Arbor!
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
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.
An aside but I couldn't agree more, especially when I've heard 2 year olds called "bullies" when they were just acting their age. Or when a child is called a bully when they don't want to play with another child.

Back to the thread...
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspineau View Post
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.
Okay - as a child of the 70s I have to laugh. Parents were, at least in my group/family, way more disconnected in the 70s. They just threw us all outside or downstairs and had no idea whether we were being bullied or not. I don't think parents are less connected at all.

I also don't think it's a media thing; if you read books going back you'll see bullies in Dickens, etc.

Anyways I think that bullies are, like most kids, individual and probably have individual reasons for what they do. That said, I think OP it's possible you live in an area where it is more tolerated for whatever reason. This is a great opportunity to work with everyone to develop an anti-bullying policy and to make sure the kids and the parents understand the three roles (bully, bullied, and bystander.)

However, if you treat it like kids who are engaging in bullying behaviour must have bad parents, you probably won't get much interest or help from their parents.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
How is it that there are SO MANY MEAN KIDS AND BULLIES around?
I think a lot of reality is perception. If we perceive that there are lots of mean kids around, that bullies are at every turn, then every shove on the playground or unkind remark made in earshot seems like yet another case of bullying.

As PPs have mentioned, while aggressive behavior needs to be addressed and curbed, it is not always some sign of a child in crisis or a society gone wrong. Kids are people who are still learning, and labeling every kid who pushes, takes a toy, screams at someone, or any of the other 1000 anti-social behaviors that sometimes come from our kids as a bully or a mean kid is no more right than labeling every kid who doesn't stand up to the aggressive behavior as a wimp.

At risk of sounding like a "toughen up" advocate, I have noticed that my son interacts very differently with different children. He is almost 3, much larger than most of his peers, and is a bundle of energy and excitement. At 18 months, he was called a bully by a mom in our play group for doing what I see as normal toddler things - taking toys and playing rougher than her son prefers to. She and her husband still refer to my son as the bully in half-jest. To her, my kid really is a bully. I think that the more she puts that idea out there, the more her son will "be" a victim. She has a very coddling nature and coddles him any time she anticipates something might upset him.
Some kids my son plays with love to give big hugs and play hard. *Wrestling* is a fun activity for some of them. They run hard and hold hands and play tug of war with playsilks - all in good fun, and no one gets hurt. I think it is hard for my son at nearly 3 to remember that some people like to play different games. What some kids and parents see as good, physical fun is seen by the mom (who calls my son a bully) as horrifying and aggressive even when her son is not involved.
Perception of the activities/behaviors by different parents makes all the difference.
I think it is our duty as parents to teach our children to treat other people as those people want to be treated. It is also our job to help our children to be strong and confident enough to stand up for themselves and other people. We have a obligation to teach our children not to be bullies or victims.

Melinda
post #25 of 32
I've been developing a thicker skin over the years, but some of the ideas shared in threads like this still make me want to burst out in tears. My oldest DS is at times a mean kid. He picks on other kids. He was expelled from preschool for aggressive behavior. He has many great qualities and can be very kind at times. But other times, he is indeed the mean kid.

I can assure you I have talked with him over and over and over again in many different ways about his behavior. His father has talked with him. His teachers and principals and guidance counselors have talked with him. We have consulted a child psychologist.

I have spent hours and hours and hours of my life weeping. I have felt like a total failure of a parent. You can't even imagine the depth to which I have felt like a failure as a parent. I have read book after book of parenting advice. I have tried many different approaches over these past nine years. I have paid for professional testing. I have had to forgo spending time with friends or enjoying the fun times other parents get to enjoy because my son's behavior prohibited it.

I can assure you: I am definitely NOT OBLIVIOUS TO IT.

My two other kids do not act this way. This school year I've had lots of play dates for my DD while her brothers were in school and it is a totally different parenting experience. I am still amazed that I can sit in the living room chatting with the other moms while my DD plays nicely with other children. I am not a different parent to her than I was to her brother. They are just different kids. If I had only her, I would have NO CLUE what the other mom - the mom of the "mean/bullying kids" was going through. And neither do some of you.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teensy View Post
I've been developing a thicker skin over the years, but some of the ideas shared in threads like this still make me want to burst out in tears. My oldest DS is at times a mean kid. He picks on other kids. He was expelled from preschool for aggressive behavior. He has many great qualities and can be very kind at times. But other times, he is indeed the mean kid.

I can assure you I have talked with him over and over and over again in many different ways about his behavior. His father has talked with him. His teachers and principals and guidance counselors have talked with him. We have consulted a child psychologist.

I have spent hours and hours and hours of my life weeping. I have felt like a total failure of a parent. You can't even imagine the depth to which I have felt like a failure as a parent. I have read book after book of parenting advice. I have tried many different approaches over these past nine years. I have paid for professional testing. I have had to forgo spending time with friends or enjoying the fun times other parents get to enjoy because my son's behavior prohibited it.

I can assure you: I am definitely NOT OBLIVIOUS TO IT.

My two other kids do not act this way. This school year I've had lots of play dates for my DD while her brothers were in school and it is a totally different parenting experience. I am still amazed that I can sit in the living room chatting with the other moms while my DD plays nicely with other children. I am not a different parent to her than I was to her brother. They are just different kids. If I had only her, I would have NO CLUE what the other mom - the mom of the "mean/bullying kids" was going through. And neither do some of you.
post #27 of 32
Thread Starter 
It's really great to hear sentiments from parents 'on the other side', seriously. And I really do think that lots of parents have lost positive authority roles through lack of structure and the whole wanting to be 'cool' and their kids' best friends.

It's so frustrating. And when I wrote the post, I wasn't even thinking about the 'playground pushing' type of bullying, but the more insidious, ongoing, emotionally/physically abusive kind. I don't think I'm being particularly sensitive either. I have a friend with an autistic son who sees almost every interaction he has with another child as him being bullied, and steps in to intervene.

Blah. Lord of the Flies.
post #28 of 32
I have a very physical, verbally precocious, controlling and popular child. He gets in a lot of trouble for hitting, shoving, etc at school. He says "no" often when other kids ask if they can be his friend. He isn't called a bully mostly simply do to his age (never mind he's amongst the youngest and is the smallest in his class.) A whole bunch of things go into this, none of which I have much control over.
  1. He isn't deliberately mean, he treats others in a way he wouldn't mind being treated. He loves physical play and doen't mind being bumped, jostled, hit, etc.
  2. More kids want to be his friend than he wants as friends. It's very easy to reject kids when everybody wants to play with you. Heck it becomes down right necessary to reject some kids when everybody wants to be your friend.
  3. Since he's so verbal, he can make all kinds of negotiations that other late 3 early 4 yo have a hard time arguing with. He can manipulate and he charm other parents into making their kids give him stuff in the name of sharing. (Yes, I blame other parents for this.)
  4. When his worst behavior comes out at school I'm not there to do anything about it. He behaves 20 times better when I'm around. Really what exactly am I supposed to do about what goes on when I'm not around?
  5. His behavior may dismay his teachers and me, but it works for him. He generally get what he needs out of his interactions, and other kids still like him. If a kid he hits actually hits him back, he is happy as can be. They only rarely react in a way that lets him know what he did was hurtful.

Now obviously I've been working really hard to nip all this in the bud before he evolves into a real bully by elementary school. We're seeing an OT to deal with his high craving for physical contact to satisfy his sensory needs. I talk to him about being gentle and nice all the time. It has been helping, and things are going better in school, but he's only 4 yo. At this age pleasing me his mom and his teachers is high enough on his priority list that he's willing to work on these things, but I don't know if this will all change when he's 10 yo and he being king of the playground as a possibility.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
I haven't witnessed any mean kids or bullying in either of my kids' classes or peer groups. They're in pre-K and 1st grade. I think there is a strong anti-bullying sentiment in the schools these days. It's just not cool anymore to be a bully. I'm surprised that so many people have encountered it with their kids.

Maybe I'm totally clueless and my kids *are* the bullies but that would contradict everything their teachers tell me about them. Or maybe I'm just sheltered living in Ann Arbor!
I don't think it's just Ann Arbor! And I don't think it's just "kids these days", or "parents these days", either. I've had the same experience at dd's school Parents and teachers are very aware of bullying and try to teach kids not to do it.

When I was in school in the 80s, bullying went on all the time and nobody every did anything about it. I was bullied horribly in the third grade, and I never even considered talking to the teacher or principal about it. Nor did my parents, who were very sympathetic. They just felt I needed to solve my own problems.

And the stories my dad tells from the 50s! He fought all the time, giving kids bloody noses, etc., and never even got in trouble for it. I think people just thought it was what kids did.
post #30 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post

[*]More kids want to be his friend than he wants as friends. It's very easy to reject kids when everybody wants to play with you. Heck it becomes down right necessary to reject some kids when everybody wants to be your friend.
Not at all singling out your post, but I wanted to use this as an example of something: I've noticed that most kids want to be the bully's friend, usually out of fear. It's like they're sucking up to the bully in some sort of survival hope that they aren't the next victim. It's a love/hate thing, and oftentimes has very little to do with a reciprocal and respectful friendship. I read somewhere (Queen Bees and Wannabees?) that that's why some kids are so artificially popular, especially in the later years - it's rule by power and fear of retribution rather than admiration or inherent leadership.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
I don't think it's just Ann Arbor! And I don't think it's just "kids these days", or "parents these days", either. I've had the same experience at dd's school Parents and teachers are very aware of bullying and try to teach kids not to do it.

When I was in school in the 80s, bullying went on all the time and nobody every did anything about it. I was bullied horribly in the third grade, and I never even considered talking to the teacher or principal about it. Nor did my parents, who were very sympathetic. They just felt I needed to solve my own problems.

And the stories my dad tells from the 50s! He fought all the time, giving kids bloody noses, etc., and never even got in trouble for it. I think people just thought it was what kids did.
This has been my experience. I went to school in the 60s and 70s, and my parents went to school in the 40s and 50s. Bullying existed big time and by the time I got to high school age, the physical bullying morphed into clique behavior, shunning and proliferation of class systems. I grew up in the proverbial sticks and the populace was generally thought to be of apple pie and "family values" ilk. Oddly, the kids who were the most mean to me in school now want to be my Facebook friends. Isn't life just grand? I've come to the personal conclusion that many kids desparately want to be admired and have friends. Sometimes being mean to others who are in a perceived weaker position guarantees power in a social group. Adults do this, but I think it is more pronounced in kids because they lack the fine art of looking down their noses like adults do. I'm not apologizing for true bullying, just trying to throw some perspective out there.

I have only seen one child in my neighborhood exhibit true bullying behavior, and my guess is that the kid has a ton of issues.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
Not at all singling out your post, but I wanted to use this as an example of something: I've noticed that most kids want to be the bully's friend, usually out of fear. It's like they're sucking up to the bully in some sort of survival hope that they aren't the next victim. It's a love/hate thing, and oftentimes has very little to do with a reciprocal and respectful friendship. I read somewhere (Queen Bees and Wannabees?) that that's why some kids are so artificially popular, especially in the later years - it's rule by power and fear of retribution rather than admiration or inherent leadership.
I could see this happening, but it's not exactly what's going on with DS. Kids in situations where they have just met him gravitate towards him. These kids have never been hit by him, or know that he might do stuff like. He has some charisma and kids just seem to find him fun to be with.

Just as a single example of something that has happened more than once: We went on a hay ride out to a pumpkin patch. He ran around and played with another kid for a while in the pumpkin patch. They both seemed to have a really good time. On the hayride back out of the pumpkin patch the other little boy asks DS if he will be his friend and come over for a playdate some time. DS says "no." I'm of course just left sitting there completely confused and shocked and more than just slightly embarrassed. The other kid and his little brother kept trying to make friends with DS, but no matter how much I encouraged him to be nice and reciprocate he just was totally blasse (sp?) about it.

What I suspect may happen with kids who like DS just attract friends like fly paper is that they never learn to value their friends. Just as academically gifted students often never learn to study b/c school just comes too easily, popular kids never learn to treat their friends well b/c friends just keep trying and trying.

It's kind of a dilemma for me since I do try to teach DS to be nice to people.


ETA: Just in case you thought maybe other kids were intimidated by DS's size, nope. DS is in the 25% for hight and 0% for weight.
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