Did you ever have to deal with a bully when you were growing up?
I think most of us had to at one point or another in our school days. There are two ways to deal with bullies: you either stand your ground and they back down (most of the time), or you learn a lot of shortcuts and other ways to avoid them as if your life depended on it…
But have you ever thought about the moms and dads and what they go through when they learn that THEIR kids are the ones doing the bullying? That’s gotta be pretty tough to deal with from their perspective…
Parents opened up about their kids and bullying on AskReddit.
1. Made bad decisions.
“Not until he started 5th grade.
He was super close to his grandpa (wife’s dad) and when he died it destroyed him and his behavior changed. Few weeks after the funeral this kids mom called my wife saying things my kid was saying and doing. Not the school, mind you.
We had a parent teacher conference days BEFORE she called. Teacher didn’t say a word. We talked to him. Your first reaction is to protect your kid and not accept it, but we can tell by the way he was reacting to the discussion. We arranged a playdate of sorts. We monitor it now.
He talks to a therapist too. Hes a good kid just makes terrible decisions. As a father of 4 we’ve been on the other end of it as well and usually if the kids an *sshole so is one or both of the parents.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree at times.”
2. That’s not good.
“Bully? Try legitimate psychopath.
It’s an ongoing battle to keep all other children and animals safe.
I hardly sleep and I don’t sit down.”
“When watching the videos she made on her phone, I saw that she would draw d*cks on her sister when the sister was sleeping. She gets girls to fight with their boyfriends.
She would intentionally do sh*t to try to break the wife and I up. She paid another underage girl to coerce me into having s*x, and then physically kicked the girls *ss because I didn’t go for it.
She recorded herself causing bruises on herself, so she could say a parent was beating her up. She intentional start fights and create dram within her own peers groups.
She lost all the friends she had in middle school because of her antics.”
4. Now you see it.
“Recently, because I’m working from home and so get to hear, albeit distractedly, the discourse between my two youngest sons.
My ears perked when I heard the oldest one’s voice drop and the other react with a sudden wail. Then the older one, cool as a cucumber, affected as hell, say “Hey… are you ok, little buddy?” while the other one continued to cry.
I strode into the little one’s bedroom in time to see the older one towering over the younger one staring at him menacingly. But he saw me from the corner of his eye and continued with the fake tone, “Mom, something’s wrong with that chair, he was sitting in it and it just like flipped over.”
I just could not believe how he could believe that I would buy that. And his tone was just… fake. It gave me chills.
I had never seen that side of him before.
He’s 13 btw.”
5. Taking care of her.
“We take care of a girl relative as often as we can (she has her own family, we’re just close)
She’s 8 now and started bullying when she started school because she thinks she’s “dominant”
Underlying reasons are mainly rooted in the household and environment: how she’s being treated (mostly by adults), how people react to her actions, how she’s being reprimanded, methods (and how often) she’s disciplined, who she’s surrounded by, etc.
Still hard to fix right now, but best method: keep calm and explain to the child. Cause-effect, consequences, the feelings and situation of the victim, etc. Remember that you’re dealing with a kid, don’t just scold them and expect em to see at your level of maturity and understanding.
Explain, talk it out. Their stubbornness will get in the way, but stay firm and ease your way into their trust and comfort. Child Psychology, learn it.
She’s not intentionally bad… Just that her jokes come off as sarcasm at such a young age, to the point of insult sometimes. We found out from her teachers and classmates.
Problem: her household doesn’t see this as an issue to address and actually celebrates her cleverness. But even when they do, their way of discipline obviously apparently doesn’t work.”
“I got pulled aside at my toddlers day school when he was 2 because he was hitting. He was an only child so I never noticed anything weird with his interaction with other kids.
I kept telling him not to hit his friends at school. One day when I picked him up I saw him grab a kid by the shirt and repeatedly slam him against the wall.
I was like WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU’RE MAKING HIM UPSET, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
I keep it in mind, kind of coach him. He’s older and I was asked by his school what kind of teacher he should get and I said a strict one would be better.
He mostly does fine in school so far.”
7. Put an end to it.
“I realized my eldest was a bully.
She picked on her “best friend” by throwing a rock and busting her lip. Then hitting her in the mouth with an iPad. Pinched her arm so hard she drew blood. And smacked her. Later, she punched a boy who punched her back.
I told her she got what she ask for.”
Another time she kept poking a MUCH bigger boy with a spork at lunch, he ask her to stop, but she kept doing it. So he shoved her onto the floor.
Once again I told her she picked a fight she couldn’t win. With EVERY SINGLE incident I made her apologize in front of the class to those children. Took away all her privileges and told her dad to do the same thing while he had her for as long as she was grounded.
She had to write an apology letter to the parents of those children after every incident, meaning she ended up having to write 4 separate letters to the little girls mother. She’s going into the fourth grade this year and she has never done anything like this again.
She’s become quite popular, and I know with popularity comes the idea that she can be mean to others. I’ve taught her that she can use her popularity to help others when she sees them being bullied. So far she’s a really great kid in school.
She stands up for the “unpopular” kids now, and unfortunately she has been in trouble because of it. She’s never used violence to stand up to them, but she’s yelled and called them bullies straight out and got suspended for it. Meanwhile, I don’t think ANYTHING happened to the actual bully.
But I’m proud of her, I’m glad I saw it before she became that bully that I was afraid she’d become.”
8. Took a while…
“When my daughter was five, she had just returned from living in Brazil for six months with her mother (I’m in the US). She had just spent six months being the “cute American girl” and getting her way ALL of the time.
I noticed this right away and was NOT happy. Neither were her teachers.
This first thing I did was call a friend of mine who had children slightly older. She began to spend more time with them (we’d go over on weekends to hang out) and all of a sudden, my daughter realized she couldn’t push over these seven and ten years olds! She was NOT able to get her way anymore.
The next thing was implement radically quick discipline. I didn’t give chances, I didn’t give warnings. I explained to her that she knew what was right and what was wrong, and if she behaved well she’d have a ton of fun and an easy life, and if she didn’t, there would be consequences. Well…there were lots of consequences lol.
I heard that you talked back to your teacher? We’re going to the store to return the toy I got you last week. What’s that…you tried to bulldoze your way and didn’t consider someone else’s feelings? You don’t get any iPad time today. Etc.
Took about three months before I saw some real changes. Now, she’s eight, as sweet as ever, and she’s very sensitive to how much of her own “will” she’s trying to impose on others.”
9. Clear as day.
“I was their de facto step-parent for a while. This kid would react violently to absolutely everything, and I honestly think had a really severe case of unmedicated ADHD to go along with it, which only made things worse.
The worst part was that they were their parents’ only kid, and they thought the kid was just “really active” and “such a wildcard” because they had nothing to compare them to. I did, as I’d been a parent for a bit over a decade when I came on the scene, but they never believed me that this stuff was not normal.
I noped out after a while, not the least of which was when that kid’s parent whom I was in a relationship with at that time, said they would teach said kid martial arts so they could “beat the sh*t out of me for disrespecting them” (in other words, expecting them to abide by the same rules as my kids) someday.
It was pretty obvious when that kid’s first reaction to everything was to hit somebody, or lash out, or to rat somebody out for something that they themself had done, that it was a problem. I honestly am glad that my kids and I moved far enough away that they won’t be in the same schools as that kid when they get older. I suspect that kid will get into every kind of bad stuff.
Also, that kid’s dad is an abusive narcissist, and their mother is, honestly, pretty mentally fragile from having been married to said abusive narcissist for a decade or so, so there’s not a lot of checks and balances, or modeling of healthy behavior going on.
Before that experience, I had no idea how kids became bullies, but I saw it clear as day in that situation.”
10. Punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
“My younger brother kicked a disabled girl down the slide in elementary school.
My mom found out about it & just told him to be nicer. ?”
11. Not addressing it.
“My parents realized my youngest sister was a bully when she was like 6 and now she’s 16 and they still haven’t done anything about it.”
12. My son, the bully.
“My son was a bully.
1st grade I started getting noticed from his teacher that he was throwing sand at girls and stabbing people with a pencil. I talked to him and he had crazy first grade reasons like “she was being mean first”. I told him it’s not cool and to knock it off.
Every teacher meeting I would tell them to let me know and I’ll punish him.
Second grade. I meet the teacher. I warn her that I think he’s a bully and to watch him. Same sh*t starts happening. But now hes being mean to specific people. Anyone that can’t run fast etc. I’m thinking to myself… I cant watch him all the time, what do I do.
At home I start punish him but it doesn’t really do anything. All teacher conferences main agenda is bullying.
Third grade. I meet the teacher and warn her we have a bully on our hands. Same crap happens. I’m reading a book on the subject and I read a passage that says if you call a kid a bully he lives up to the role. Hmmmm let the experiment begin.
From that day I stopped calling him a bully and started saying things like “your going to help your teacher today right? You are a good boy. Make me proud by being a helper”. Almost night and day. The calls stopped. The next teacher conference, the teacher said how helpful he was.
He’s in 8the grade now. No bully calls. I make him do volunteer work weekly just in case. He still does crazy crap like attacking kids that are mean to girls but no bullying.
I don’t know if I caught it in time or if my kid just needed coaching but it worked.”
Have you ever been bullied? Have your kids ever been bullied?
Or maybe YOU did some bullying at some point in your life?
Please talk to us in the comments, we look forward to hearing from you!