Bullies: A Parent's Role

Do Something!

Times Have Changed….

The number one responsibility of any parent is to look out for their child’s welfare.

One factor a parent has no control over is how his/her child’s peers accepts them socially. Many parents and adults in general are just out of touch. They've forgotten what it was like to be a kid wanting to be accepted by their peers. They've forgotten kids don't have an "edit button" in their minds or for behaviors. They'll say rude things without thinking about consequences.

There are also several instances of sexual harassment along with the school equivalent of domestic violence in teen relationships. Many of the girls who are felt up, slapped, or threatened by boys their own age don't bother reporting it.

Sadly it becomes a preview of things to come in their adult lives.

Living in Dual Worlds…

With the advent of social network sites, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and text messaging bullies have more ways to terrorize kids then ever before 24/7! The days of bullies simply taking other kids lunch money or forcing them into a locker are long gone! A private embarrassing moment can go viral on the Internet in minutes!

When a child gets to the point where he or she believes adults don't care about them they feel alone. This can lead to depression and acts of desperation. Many adults don't take bullying seriously until a child snaps and kills other kids that have been torturing him or he takes his/her own life.

Many adults, teachers, and parents look at being bullied as "a part of growing up" and learning how to deal with problems. Some simply tell the child who is being bullied to "stand up for themselves". These parents are stuck in a time warp believing if their child hits a bully hard enough he will scurry away and never bother them again. WRONG! They don't take into account that bullies today often have access to guns and knives.

Bullying is no longer “child’s play”.

The Make Up Of A Bully….

Bullies generally have a low self-esteem.

The bully often gets bullied at home or is following in the footsteps of his/her parents or siblings. They look to cause fear and gain respect from the weak or those not likely to put up a fight. Nothing says you're more powerful than having other kids fear/respect you as much or more than they do adults.

Bullies tend to pair up or form gangs while kids who are attacked fly solo or hang out with other kids who lack the temperament to fight back.

There’s intimidation in numbers.

A Child’s Options….

The kids who are not welcomed into "the in crowd" basically have 3 options.

1. Hang out with other kids (in their same league)

2. Live a solitary life with no friends.

3. Become a bully. This would entail doing bad things/getting into trouble in order to be accepted by the other bullies. It’s the “If you can’t beat them, join them” mentality.

There are some kids that do get raised to hero status after beating up or defending himself or herself from a bully. Now he/she is the new "king of the hill". It's very easy for them to get swallowed up into a power trip after that.

Stop Living in Dual Worlds…

Many parents are too busy living their own lives that they don't take the time to empathize or listen to how fearful the child is. Whether the parent says it or not the child feels pressured to handle things in his/her own world without involving their parents.

A lot of kids learn to live in fear, find alternative ways home, run, skip school, or fake illnesses. They become withdrawn or anti-social. It’s common for parents to view this behavior as nothing more than “a teenage phase”. Most kids who are bullied never tell their parents.

Essentially it becomes the parent/child version of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” The worlds of the child and the parent never intersect.

What Parents Can Do….

All parents should make it a priority to have daily communication their children in a non-judgmental way. The kids have to know they can talk to you about anything without you automatically getting upset.

Too many parents are not aware of issues until after there are obvious signs.

Once the seeds of fear and anxiety are firmly planted in a child’s mind it becomes difficult for them to keep things in perspective. Some of these kids see suicide as a viable solution much like the one mentioned in the following Washington Times link.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/10/parents-sue-schools-of-bullied-teens/

We should strive to remove the words "Tattletale" and "Snitch" from our vocabularies. Words like these put pressure on a child to keep his/her pain to themselves rather than reporting it. Telling a kid to "work it out on your own" or simply saying, "fight back" is not always the answer. Parents have to assume the responsibility for their child's welfare.

Since we have no control over other kids or what goes on in their household a parent must make sure they have a close and tight bond with their children.

School authorities need to be apprised of what is going on.

The reason kids are bullied at school is because there is no united front of parents, teachers, and coaches who have adopted a 0 tolerance policy.

Get involved with your local PTA and try to apply political pressure if need be to get your school to take action up to and including expelling the bully in extreme cases.

If school authorities aren’t cooperating arrange to have your child transferred to another school and take legal action if for no other reason than to raise public awareness.

A parent must be willing to walk through fire to protect their child.

For those parents who have children that are bullies probably the best thing you can do when they are young is show them where most bullies end up. (In prison or in the grave).

Strive to get your child involved in after school programs that demand discipline.

Show them “the promise of tomorrow” today by pointing out things they can accomplish by following the rules, working hard, and pursuing their dreams.

If nothing else take a drive through upscale neighborhoods and provide them with books that contain stories about others who overcame childhood issues to lead successful productive lives. Make every effort possible to help shape your child’s outlook on life.

They don’t call them “the formative years” for nothing!

One man’s opinion!

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Comments 10 comments

Contrice 5 years ago

As a teacher, I often see first hand the effects of bullying. Its a very sad case and I am often left feeling helpless. There is nothing you can say to a student that has been bullied to make them feel better, all you can do is take action. Even then it sometimes is not enough. I am often shocked at how some parents just let it pass by and shrug it off as "kids being kids." Some parents just do not want the confrontation. Whatever happened to parents meeting parents. Schools don't want parents to meet and confront. If someones child is bullying another, I think that parents have the right to talk and discuss with the other parents and come to a solution. This should be part of the resolution process. If I were a parent and my child was being bullied or being a bully, I would want to talk to the other parent so that we as parents can decide what we are going to do for our children and how we are going to fix this problem.


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 5 years ago Author

Thanks for your insightful comments Contrice!

I completely agree with you. A lot of adults have their heads buried in the sand on this issue as well as there are lot of kids not speaking up to their parents regarding what is going on. Each time we read or hear about a child killing his or herself due to bullying it is a sad reflection on our society as a whole.


kirutaye profile image

kirutaye 5 years ago from London, UK

A sensitively written and useful hub. Thank you for sharing.


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 5 years ago Author

kirutaye, thanks for your lovely comment!


SonBeam 5 years ago

I am the parent of a child who was bullied by older students because she refused to give them permission to verbally and physically abuse her. When my daughter was six years old and riding a school bus, two ten year old girls got it in their heads it was alright to bully my daughter. My brave little girl stood up for herself even at the risk of being beaten. I took it to the school officials on the first offense, but by the second and third offense I included the local authorities.The key to handling a bully is to take action immediately. Always follow up on what you say you are going to do, and go public as soon as possible, and always make an example out of the offender. I can say my daughter is now a lovely, bright and talented eighteen year old that is fearless.


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 5 years ago Author

Thanks SonBeam for both your comment and advice!


Jefsaid profile image

Jefsaid 5 years ago from London, UK

Well I joked that I would not be tempted to read your hubs but it shows how 'Fake questions' can work... Great hub!

Bullying is something we have all encountered at some point in our lives and I cannot see it going away. I fretted about when my son would encounter this at High School until it eventually happened. Fortunately, I have always encouraged him to stand his ground at the first instance it occurs at school because it acts as a marker for the rest of your years. It does not matter if it means having a fight and losing which is less dangerous at 11 or 12 than in later years. The point is that the bully and others will know that you are not easily pushed around and are likely to avoid the unwanted embarrassment of being shown up. I was proud to hear that he handled his encounter with bravery and clam which clearly deflated the egos of the group who had tried to intimidate him. I suggested he should pay them no mind if he saw them again and since then he has not had any further problems from them or anyone else for that matter.


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 5 years ago Author

Jefsaid, Thanks for not letting the "fake question" keep you away from reading my hub! lol!

Seriously I think your comment and advice will be of help to others who have elementary school age children.

Thanks for stopping by!


eddiecarrara profile image

eddiecarrara 4 years ago from New Hampshire

My son has been bullied at every school he goes to, we as parents, took action immediately, and addressed it with the school and other authorities. We actually took him out of one school and put him in private school, and then he was bullied on the school bus at the next school. Again, we took action by having a meeting at the school, then we removed my son from the bus as an extra precaution (most school but drivers don't care enough to say anything).

Now he's in Jr High, and was bullied again in the beginning of the year, again we took action immediately and resolved the issues. At first, I was like most parents and told him to stand up to the bully and don't back down, but he's not that type of kid, plus, bullies run in pacts. If you're a parent, and your kids are being bullied, take action quickly and don't think it will resolve itself, sometimes you need to get the police involved like we did, it will be the best thing you can do. Take bulling seriously and don't just pass it off as a lesson in life, because it's not. Good hub on bullying and great advice, voted up and useful :)


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

eddiecarrara, Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment. We as a society have got to take bullying a lot more seriously. A child's formative years are their most fragile ones. It's important to do whatever we can to help them instill self-esteem and confidence. Bullies have a way of robbing a child of their dignity. If things don't improve we're going to have a nation of "Home Schooled" kids. (For those who can afford to have one parent stay at home)

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