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Bullying of children by adults

Updated on October 13, 2010

Adults being bully's?

At one time or another we as adults have had to deal with bullies in our adult life, most of us just walk away.  I’m sure there are a few that have taken matters in to their own hands, quite literally.  But how do you teach your children to deal with adult bullies?  Has anyone ever come across this issue before?

Adults must sometimes forget that they were once children at a time and some have a tendency to think of children as something lower than pond scum.  In order to explain myself I will have to show you several examples of dealing with your children who come across adult bullies.

Potty mouth customer

1.)  My son had a paper route at the age of 10, we lived in a town home complex so it was easy for him to run the papers around when he got home from school.  And run he did, it was beautiful to see, a little boy who cold hit the porch with the accuracy of a professional baseball pitcher and football runner combined. 

One afternoon he came home very upset and fairly shaking.  He explained to me he had a customer who had been yelling at him daily, this time she actually came out of her home to yell and gave the appearance she was going to catch him.  I asked him if she was a customer, and he replied that she was.  He told me that she was yelling at him, cussing him out and in general scaring the snot out of him. 

Now being a mother of 5, I am not one to assume that my child is telling me the truth.  I always assume they are either outright lying or stretching the truth a bit, either way I could not imagine an adult treating a child in such a manner, especially her own paperboy.  So I walked him down to the lady’s house to get to the bottom of it.  I knocked on the door, apparently she had been watching for me, she opened the door with a string of cuss words.  I was stunned, I mean I came in peace, just wanting to talk to her, I had no attitude even my knock was rather timid.  She proceeded to cuss me out, call my son bad names and very soon it became obvious I was not getting a word in edgewise.  I turned and walked away.  I went home called the police to see if there was anything I could do.  After all in my state, it is against the law to call my own children names, so shouldn’t it stand to reason that no one else be allowed to do the same? 

All in all nothing was done, other than us canceling her subscription to the paper, I didn’t feel my son should be subjected to that sort of abuse.  But we had a good long talk about how to deal with those who treat others badly. 

Who do you believe?

2.)  The same son 5 years later.  He had been accused of doing something that was in the process of being disputed.  The person who accused him was being very vocal on the school bus.  In order for him to ride the bus without any disruption, I suggested using music as his outlet and with the ear buds he wouldn’t have the hear anything.  I didn’t realize how much of a lifesaver this was going to be for him until he needed new batteries.  When I saw the panic on his face I knew that he had been feeling pressure.  Some people, adults included only hear who is being the loudest ’the term the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ is applicable.  The school bus driver believed what she heard via a student and rather than ignore this decided that she would do something herself. 

I had always taught my children not to swear, now I am not assuming they never did it.  I had certain rules about swearing, one being that I never wanted an adult to come to me saying they heard my child swearing.  If they felt the need to swear, go out in the woods with their friends and cuss all they wanted.  This being said, it was quite a surprise to me when my son came home saying he had been kicked off the bus for swearing.  He pleaded to me to believe that is was not him doing the swearing.  The look on his face along with him grabbing the bottle of dish soap offering to put it on his tongue to ’prove’ that he didn’t do it, convinced me.  (Maybe it was mean of me to do it, but I had always told him that dish soap was a lie detector of sorts, if you didn’t lie it wouldn’t burn)

I arranged a meeting with the bus driver, the principal and my son.  She was adamant that my son was the one doing the swearing.  My son told us who did it, the boy was called down to the office and admitted that indeed he was the one who swore.  The bus driver insisted that it was my son, refusing to believe the other boy.  When she was caught in a lie, she continued to lie to save her job.  She had made a mistake and refused to own up to it. 

After it was over I had to try to explain to my son that yes, sometimes adults do lie.  I was frustrated with the adult world, what were they teaching my children?  That when backed into a corner, lie? 

Even teachers lie

3.) We moved to a new school district and my middle daughter was just starting the 6th grade, the entire class had been broken up into ‘teams’, of 3 with certain teachers teaching the teams. My daughter had been an A student from the time they started giving her grades when we moved to this district, so when she came home with her first progress report and 3 of her grades were failing I questioned it. She showed me her school work, yes the bad grades were there, I didn’t understand how she could get a D on a paper of 33 questions and have 0 wrong. She explained to me that this was a timed paper, meaning that she was on a timer.

I looked into a little more and discovered she was being graded thusly; 100% of the grade was based on testing, yet if the child didn’t do the homework a percentage was taken off the test scores. This got me curious, so I delved a little deeper. The tests were all timed, grades based on 1, 1 ½, 2, 2 ½, 3 minutes, anything beyond 3 minutes the child automatically failed, no matter if the answers were correct. If the child finished the test in 45 seconds and got 5 wrong, he/she could still earn a D on the paper. My child got a D because she took her time and got all the answers correct. This didn’t make any sense to me, I questioned my daughter further on the happenings in this teachers class. Parents were not welcome to visit the class at anytime, we had to make an appointment. This was something new to me, I had always stopped by my kids’ class to ‘catch’ them being good.

My daughter enlightened me on why parents were not welcome at any time through questioning and her comments of the days’ happenings. On a board that was turned around when visitors appeared were the names of children who were receiving bad grades. Students graded their own papers, when grading was finished the teacher then asked those who got an A stand up, she would record them, they would then sit down, then down the line so the children who received E’s were the last ones standing.

The next thing that was discussed in class was hygiene. My daughter being larger than most of the girls was used as an example. She was made to stand in front of the class while the teacher explained about the use of deodorants and showering. She then said after she was finished, that my daughter did not stink she was just using a fat girl as an example. Fat people need to shower more than skinny people.

Lastly, if you didn’t have a pencil or forgot to bring one, the teacher would lend you one, if you gave her one shoe. You got your shoe back when you gave her the pencil back.

I called the principal of this school to talk to him about this teacher and her practices. He defended her teaching style and said that she had been there a long time. He didn’t feel there was anything wrong with a teacher that based teaching on fear, humiliation and degradation. My next step was to contact the Superintendent of the state, when it comes to my children I cut out the middleman and chain of command, going straight to the top.
The only problem they had with the teacher was the removal of the shoes, which was a safety issue should there be a fire in the school. The teacher of course denied doing this.

When I went for parent-teacher conference the teacher looked at me then screamed for me to get out of her class. Her exact words were “You told on me, I’m not talking to you!” I told her that I wasn’t budging, I wanted an explanation of her grading system, and that I wasn’t leaving until she did so. She finally calmed down and attempted to explain to me what she was doing. I told her, ’I think I’ve got it”, a child can get a good grade if he/she is fast? If they take their time to get the answers right they fail? You won’t give credit for a child doing the homework, but if they don’t you will take away from their test scores? That was a stupid way of grading and I told her so. She was not happy with me.

After that day she treated my daughter very differently, she was the one who was consistently picked on. I apologized to may daughter for causing problems and tried getting her out of that classroom, to no avail. The next thing to happen was something neither of us will soon forget. Deer hunting season cam around, my mother was staying alone because my Dad was going up north, and mom wanted someone to stay with her. So I felt my daughter needed a bit of a break from this teacher, she was selected to be the one to stay with Grandma. We went to the school, got her homework for the next few days, the teacher explaining to my daughter what was to be done. In the work was a ditto sheet with work on both sides. The teacher specifically told my daughter to do only 1 side of the work.

After a few days it was time to return to school, my daughter took her completed homework to class. When it came time to check her work, the teacher said “Ok, turn over your sheet and lets check the other side”. My daughter went into a panic, she wasn’t told to do the other side! She knew from experience with the teacher if she said “You didn’t tell me to do the other side”, the teacher would tell her she was stupid and say she knew better. So my daughter, to save herself embarrassment, acted like she was checking the paper (figuring she could do it later), when it came time to read off the grades my daughter gave her grade, the teacher said “Bring me your paper”, this was something new for her to do. When the teacher saw the back side of the paper was unfinished, rather than ask her why, she decided that my daughter needed to have a day of ISS (In School Suspension) for lying. My daughter would have accepted it without any problems, but the teacher felt the need to inform the rest of the students she taught that day. She claimed that she was just instructing the children on what would happen to them if they lied to get a good grade.

Back into the principals office I went, he showed me an underlined passage in the student handbook that stated a child would be punished for lying. I then asked him why the teacher didn’t get a day of ISS for lying about the shoes? It was only fair, my daughter lied to save her grade, the teacher lied to save her job.

We struggled the rest of the year, my daughter tried to keep her chin up knowing soon she wouldn’t have to deal with this bully adult ever again. At the end of the year my youngest daughter was slated to have this very same teacher the next year. I dealt with that swiftly, when they told me her class couldn’t be changed, I told them they would then be hearing from my Lawyer. This daughter did not have to deal with that teacher. As far as I know, this teacher is still teaching with fear, humiliation and degradation.

Bullies are everywhere

The last adult bully that we had to deal with was a man and he still is at his job as a bus driver.  He likes to show his power to children by starting an argument then when he isn’t winning suspending them off the bus.  I have had numerous discussions with this man, usually they end with him screaming at me.  Two of my daughters could take his abuse no more and begged to change schools.  So we did.  My middle daughter decided she could stand the abuse to remain with her friends.  We ended up sitting in the transportation office with his supervisor discussing his behavior.  I made the suggestion that he receive Psychological evaluation because he chose a job that requires dealing with children.  He had insulted me and this greatly offended my daughter, in her defense of me she ended up with a 10 day suspension.  He was not disciplined and shortly after this we made sure my daughter had her drivers license so she did not have to deal with him again.

What you can do

Why do adults bully children? Maybe they have a lack of power in their own lives and feel the need to control something. Maybe they are just plain mean. What can you do as a parent? Try to remove the child from the situation and make sure they never have to come in contact with them again. If you have a teacher, that you and your child feel is being a bully, try to get the child removed from the class. If that isn’t an option, talk to your child, try to get them to avoid confrontation with the adult. As an adult they are always going to win, their position such as a job is going to give them an advantage. Not many will believe the child over an adult. As long as you believe your child, that will matter the most. If all else fails and you can’t keep your child from the adult, (teacher/ bus driver) use a tape recorder to record incidents. Some people just don’t belong where children are, but things do happen.

Listen to your child, question them, talk to the adult, if they are indeed a bully you will soon find out by their words and actions of a simple conversation. Bullies cannot control themselves when faced with a reasonable adult. Do not lose your cool, keep calm as hard as it is, record the conversation if you can. Do not threaten the bully, do not 'punch their lights out', this will only teach your child to that it is OK to fight.  Report such incidents to their superiors, take it to the top if you feel that nothing is being done at a supervisory level. If enough records are made of such incidents something may eventually be done. You wouldn’t accept your child being bullied on a playground, why would you accept it being done by an adult?


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

      There are avenues you can take - depending how much you want to rock the boat (which doesn't mean anything will be done either, just a lot of boat rocking and noise making) - You can take it to the top, forget the chain of command - take it strait to the Superintendent of your State. But after everything I have learned unless his 'life' (as opposed to his mental health!) is an issue, they WILL NOT do anything. "All a part of life" - "issues that he has to learn to deal with" yada, yada, yada are words you will hear being said.

      Personally, now that I have learned (through living life) if I had to do it all over again, I would home school my children all the way. They not only get a much better education, you as a parent save TONS of money that can be spend on much better things, like MORE education for your son. You are saving on school lunches, clothes, 'keeping up with the joneses' etc. That money can be spent on 'family field trips' to really cool places that have learning values!!

      It may also be possible to transfer your child to a different school district which may hurt the pocket book of your school (some special needs kids bring in money from the Fed. Gov't for their district).

      Still if I had my druthers I'd recommend home schooling, I'm not sure of which State you live in so you would have to look up the laws in your state to see how you go about it. Do a little research, a little planning and get your son on the right track. Keep in mind this one little tidbit I hear from folks who say to me "I don't have time"... Home schooling does not mean you HAVE to keep the same exact hours he is currently in, you do it on YOUR schedule!! If you happen to work at the time he is in school currently, then home school him when you get home! If you break down the amount of hours that is taught 'real' curriculum ie; reading, writing, arithmetic you will find that you have plenty of time because there are no interruptions, no changing of classes, no recesses etc.

      I wish you the best of luck and hope you will consider home schooling your son!!

    • profile image

      Joe 5 years ago

      My 11 yr. old son is being bullied by a neighbor. This goes on to and from the school bus. The neighbor has a daughter in the same school and she is up there constantly. She makes rude comments to my son and calls him names even at school. Just recently she elbowed him in the shoulder inside the school as he was going down the hall to get on the bus. This was brought to the principals attention and he said she had every right to be at the school as she pleased. The State Police were involved but obviuosly its ok to put your hands on somebody elses child. Just the other day she was volunteering in the lunch room and refused to give my son his juice. Fortunately another volunteer seen this and gave him a juice. I am beside myself because I really need some answers or who to talk to. My son comes home crying at least 3 times a week because of the bullying at school, on the bus, and by the neighbor and her kids. The principal is a big part of the problem also. When the bullying started a couple years ago by about 5 boys at the school letters were written, teachers were notified of the bullying and nothing was done. After months of this we finally told our son to stick up for himself. When he did he was solely expelled. The next incident the bully was deemed at fault and he and my son were expelled. Now the principal has labeled my son and he gets picked on even more. Just two days ago my sons math teacher, who is a special needs teacher told him to stop acting like a retard because he asked for help on long division. My son is a special needs child but he is not retarded. He is a very emotional and depressed little boy. After the stories Ive been seeing about these young children commiting suicide Iam very concerned. How am I suppose to protect him if there are no rules or laws to what these adults are getting away with? Can anybody help!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Not that I know of! I think she is still teaching here in Michigan. She had 'tenure' which I think makes them immune to discipline. A lot of parents I know are home schooling because of what happens in public schools.

      A friend of mine had a little girl, she was left standing against the building (in winter) for 2 hours. The teacher told to to go stand there (during recess) but never told her to come in. It wasn't until school was almost over that day the teacher remembered. She pulled her out of school quickly and home schooled her for 2 years. She went from being at 'normal' levels to advancing more than 2 years beyond her grade. She is in the 5th grade with 7th grade understanding. BRAVO for home schooling!!

      If you feel that the teachers are being unsafe with the kids they can be reported to the State level. Best of Luck to you!!

    • profile image

      Billy 6 years ago

      The person with the bully teacher, Is this Southeatern schools in Chillicothe oh ? This is how they do things and get away with it everyday !!!!!!!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you prarieprincess. Yes it does happen and it's very sad when it does. That 6th grade teacher reminded me of Ms. Trunchbull (sp) in the movie 'Matilda'. "I'm right, you're wrong, I'm big, you're little, I'm smart, you're stupid"...

      Sometimes I really think they need to do Psych tests on adults that work with kids!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 7 years ago from Canada

      I also witnessed this type of behaviour while I was in the school system. Other teachers would talk down to students, and pick one particular one that they didn't like. Good for you for standing up: it does happen. Well-written article. :)

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image

      Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

      I bet you wanted to "punch their lights out" a few times. I would have wanted to, too. It doesn't help though and would only have put you in the wrong. There is so much injustice in the world. The only thing to do is always try and do the right thing yourself. These others are just sad, pathetic people who will probably end their lives alone and unloved.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      It's so hard for a non-confrontational person (believe it or not me!) to have to find a way to deal with bullies. I had let so many things slide, that I felt at one time I wasn't being a good mom. The last one, caused me to be a bus diver myself, just to see what the problem was. Is still a wienie... even though my kids are out of school.

      Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and commenting

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      It's been a long time since my only child was in school, Sweetsusieg, but I myself felt bullied by many of the administrators and teachers at his schools. Back in the 90's, Ritalin was all the rage and my son's-and my-bullies at the schools decided he had ADD. ALL the other little boys were on this med, and if I didn't put him on it, well, then he'd just have to stay back a grade.

      Well, I am not a confrontational person, but I refused to let them diagnose him! He was just a kid, for God's sake! They tend to be hyper, right? Anyway, this hub is a beautiful piece of writing that sent me spinning off into my past...thanks-great job, mom!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      There were many more instances that I have had to deal with, I tried selecting the 3 'most explainable' ones for best reference. It's very sad the bullies that we have to deal with.

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I have dealt with adult bullies in the past with my children. My experience has been more with bully parents of bully children. A few times my children we each bullied by different kids on the bus, at practices, or out playing. We would let it go, explain to our children how to handle it and give them advice. When this didn't work in some cases we would go to talk to the parents, there we would come to realize that the kid bullys were little clones of their parent bullys. I just tell my children "You do not always have to get along with everyone. Try to work out your differences, if you can't just stay away from each other." I also remind them how they feel when bullied and make sure they do not do it to others because it makes you feel bad.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      That's right I am woman hear me roar!!! LOL..

      I think you may be right the two children of mine that this happened to are the quieter ones, who have a hard time raising their voices in defense of themselves. They are light hearted and happy people.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      I cannot stand what happens to certain kids in school. I honestly believe it is children who have a special light, or they have a Kindness, or some other spark that scares these horrible abusers. Shame on them. You are a good Mom! Momma Bear protects her cubs. Way to go! Thanks


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