My kid is the bully. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-16-2012, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is off track. Recently my daycare provider informed me that she has been bossy with the little kids and showing attention seeking behavior at daycare, being called a bully by the moms on the school playground, and bragging about how she lies and hides things from me and DH (which is an exaggeration - she is a terrible liar so although she tries I always catch her.) She did not used to behave this way at daycare so this is a new thing. Actually I am sad that my daycare provider did not bring this up sooner but better late than never.

So since I found this out I have been doing some thinking about how to sort out the underlying problems. Our home situation is challenging because there is just not a lot of time or attention to go around. My DH and I both work full time and we have a two year old too (He's fine. No behavioral problems.) I know I yell and am bossy sometimes and I don't have enough patience with interruptions. I am very aware that these are my issues and I really do think I'm getting better and when I screw up I apologize to DD and try to handle it the best I can.

I think the real problem is communication issues with my DH - I don't feel supported by him at all, even though he helps a lot. I am always feeling let down and like he is permissive and rude to the kids, tells them what to do instead of helping them solve their own problems, and doesn't enforce rules that we agreed on together - which does not really help me have more patience with the kids. I also feel like I get less time and flexibility than he does, plus regardless of who does XYZ around the house (it's about equal) I am the one who coordinates everything and is ultimately responsible. He says I escalate parenting problems too quickly and I yell more than he does. I have called him on yelling before and he really doesn't think he's yelling. He is also an army reservist and a gamer in addition to his job, so he doesn't have much time.

So I guess I am wondering WWYD from here? I haven't told DH because he is out of town until Friday. I know his reaction will be to give DD a lecture about being nice and he will not make any connection to our home life. I know there is no point in talking to him myself because he will either say the right thing and then keep doing what he's doing or say it's my fault. He also is not going to want to do less parenting since he has said he feels left out when I do it all (although he almost never does anything without being told.) So I am thinking of doing counselling but what kind and how do I bring it up? I don't want to tell him it's for us because then he'll be hurt that I have a problem with him. But I don't really think DD needs it that much, if she had consistent rules and wasn't getting yelled at all the time she would probably be fine.
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#2 of 6 Old 05-17-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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Often times, bullying is a personality that gets out of hand.  If she naturally has a strong personality, and it works for her to be bossy, then that's what she's going to do.  It takes a lot of effort to understand when we are not being fair or respectful to other kids, and then know how to change the behavior.  

 

It's like a baby who can walk a little, but it's faster and more efficient to crawl.  So, they crawl when they are in a hurry.

 

Sometimes kids bully because they feel insecure, and they pick on kids who can't defend themselves.  She might crave having the control over her peers.

 

If she's being bullied at home, she's going to turn it around at school and be the bully.

 

 

They might say or do things to shock people because they think it's impressive...or they just need attention.

 

You can let her know that bullying behavior will earn serious consequences at home, even if you didn't see it happen.  You guys can discuss the consequence, and com up with a plan.  Discuss how other people see her, and how there will probably be birthday parties that she will not be invited to because she's creating a reputation that the parents will know about soon, and won't allow her at the parties.  (that worked for my daughter..she never wanted to be excluded)

 

Discuss ways to be kind and respectful... and expect to see a change.  It might be slow, but I would raise the bar and honestly expect improvement.

 

Fortunately, being a bully is no longer acceptable, cool, or understandable.  There's so much out there now that makes bullying very unpopular.. so, I think with this new "no tolerance"  movement, we will see it decline soon.  These days, even the word "Bully" sounds ugly... most people don't want to BE the bully.

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#3 of 6 Old 05-17-2012, 11:48 AM
 
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Play therapy might be a place to start with this.  I have heard that kids who really struggle with behaving appropriately in social settings do well with play therapy.  Slowly changing your reactions may also help.  You can't change your dh's reactions and it doesn't sound like talking to him is helpful at this point.  You can change your own though.  I had to make a lot of changes to my reactions when my dd was four.  I had just been through a divorce and was very reactive because I was stressed out all the time.  I found I was most effective when I focused on changing one thing at a time and when I didn't beat myself up about failing.  When I tried to change everything at once I failed and got mad at myself but when I started focusing on one change at a time things really just started falling into place. 

 

I suggest writing down the things you want to see change, pick one, then write down or decide in some way what you are going to do to change it.  For me self talk helped but I have heard of some people who write their change down and post it on their bathroom mirror so they have a visual reminder to rea daily.  I know it sounds silly, it feels silly at first too, but it helped me a lot and we didn't have to get any outside help. 

 

There is a book that I love called Raising Your Thining Preteen.  The author also has a book called Raising your Thinking Child and a book for parents.  I really suggest looking into it because the author gives realistic ways to make small changes as a family in a way that isn't demeaning or judgemental.  I find that when I am stressed out a judgmental parenting book just makes things worse. 

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#4 of 6 Old 05-17-2012, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes nextcommercial that is all great feedback.  I probably am doing or have tried about 80% of those things but I feel I am always being blocked by my DH and I am really wondering about that.  I don't understand how she is going to learn respect and patience when it is not modeled for her.

 

Our main problem with her at home is that she does not listen and does not focus on what she is supposed to be doing.  I just don't feel like I can deal with on my own anymore.

 

I try to do all the things you are supposed to do ... do the 'say what you see' thing like saying 'Milk goes bad if it's left out" instead of "Put away the milk."  I have set up routines so I don't feel I should have to get after her to unpack her school bag etc.  If I am being ignored usually I will say "DD can you hear me?"  and if I get a rude response then there are consequences right away.  If she doesn't do what she's supposed to be doing I will work with her to set up a time limit with a consequence and I enforce.  Usually my consequences are going upstairs to calm down (disrespect) or logical consequences - if you don't get your PJs on in time I will help you instead of reading books to you, if you can't stop climbing on the furniture then you have to play downstairs where that is allowed, etc.

 

Anyway when DH and I are home together absolutely none of this works out.  I will say what I see and then if DD ignores me DH will yell at her.  If he wants her to do something it's always an order.  DH will not enforce my rules that I have put in place to preserve MY patience, like consistent bedtimes, consistent times when TV and junk food are allowed, offering too many choices in situations where I have told them they just need to accept what is given to them (i.e. not the right colour glass.)  If she is rude to him then he will yell but not enforce any consequences.

 

DD does not typically bully her little brother at home.  My rule is that if you cannot play nicely, you play downstairs or outside so I don't need to hear screaming.  This normally ends any bad behavior.  DS doesn't like getting bossed around and there is nobody else to play with.  DH will usually get in the middle of fighting kids and take a side, then get mad if nobody listens to him.

 

I am not perfect either, I lose my patience too but l at least I know what I'm doing is wrong and I will normally apologize to DD and discuss how we handle difficult situations - same as I do for her when she freaks out at me.  I am just really sick of being the only one who has any long term goals for parenting or pays any kind of attention to planning ahead for meals or takes responsibility for chores instead of just doing them as asked or structuring weekend days or making sure that my partner gets a break.

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#5 of 6 Old 05-17-2012, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

Play therapy might be a place to start with this.  I have heard that kids who really struggle with behaving appropriately in social settings do well with play therapy.  Slowly changing your reactions may also help.  You can't change your dh's reactions and it doesn't sound like talking to him is helpful at this point.  You can change your own though.  I had to make a lot of changes to my reactions when my dd was four.  I had just been through a divorce and was very reactive because I was stressed out all the time.  I found I was most effective when I focused on changing one thing at a time and when I didn't beat myself up about failing.  When I tried to change everything at once I failed and got mad at myself but when I started focusing on one change at a time things really just started falling into place. 

 

I suggest writing down the things you want to see change, pick one, then write down or decide in some way what you are going to do to change it.  For me self talk helped but I have heard of some people who write their change down and post it on their bathroom mirror so they have a visual reminder to rea daily.  I know it sounds silly, it feels silly at first too, but it helped me a lot and we didn't have to get any outside help. 

 

There is a book that I love called Raising Your Thining Preteen.  The author also has a book called Raising your Thinking Child and a book for parents.  I really suggest looking into it because the author gives realistic ways to make small changes as a family in a way that isn't demeaning or judgemental.  I find that when I am stressed out a judgmental parenting book just makes things worse. 

Thanks I will check the book out.  My first reaction is that I don't want to do therapy with DD, I would prefer to take a parenting class with DH to see if I can get us on the same page, but I don't know if that is just a waste of time considering all of the parenting conversations, books, links, ideas etc. that we have already shared and it has not worked.  I have been really stressed out lately because I got laid off and then started a new job that is difficult and demanding in terms of my time and DH had to take on more home and parenting responsibilities.  He's been out of town since Saturday and my week of solo parenting has been a total breeze - l think I might take back some of those responsibilities.

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#6 of 6 Old 05-19-2012, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So we had the talk. Apparently DH thinks I yell more than he does and I sound like my mother :-\

I was surprised to hear that he doesn't think DD is capable of being respectful all the time - I asked him to raise his standards and stop giving excessive warnings. He agreed to it. We are both together on 100% no yell policy in our house. If we can be consistent for a few weeks I guess we'll find out if it made a difference.

He also agreed to finding an outside source like a workshop or therapist to get us on the same page. The plan for now is to check in with each other every night about DD after the kids are in bed.
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