Bullying (just mental ramblings) What do you think?

Discussion in 'Gentle guidance' started by Sunflower_Momma, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    Here's the question: how do you think it best to handle bullies? I've recently changed my mind and before I share my thoughts, I'm interested in hearing what others think the best manner to handle bullies.
  2. 3boysnagrl

    3boysnagrl Amity's Focus Member

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    For me it would completely depend on the age of the bully and the age of the person being bullied. I mean, it's one thing if it's 2 five year olds - and quite another if the bully is 10 and the other child is 5. And also, what type of 'bully'... like, "give me your lunch money or I'll pound you?" or "you can't play with us" type. Also, is it a chronic bully or a kid who is trying ot get attention for a short time? kwim?

    My oldest has a problem with being bullyish (picking horribly) at younger children, especially his siblings and their friends. It's something I am really trying to get a handle on, but he gets too much enjoyment out of it to stop. Breaks my heart to see him act that way - but - I'm also at a loss as to what to do next because my efforts thus far have been in vain.
  3. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    I'm trying to keep it open and generic, so you pick the situation and the context.

    I'm thinking of my dd (5) whom I believe is at a higher risk of being bullied. she has been on a couple of occassions. But, I'm not thinking specifically of 5 year olds or even of her. I'm thinking generalities.
  4. OnTheBrink

    OnTheBrink Amity's Focus Member

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    Why do you think she is at a higher risk of being bullied? And how have you handled it in the past? Just curious mommy questions!

    For a five year old, I think she needs an adult to defend her and make most of the decisions on this one. She needs to have it modeled for her that there are people who can help (parents, teachers), that it's OK to not want to be around some people (bullies) and that some behaviors are always unacceptable (bullying).
  5. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    I think she is at higher risk because she is reserved, shy, loves people, is compassionate, always "wants to be nice," and is the least aggressive person I know. Much of this is wonderful.

    Example is one I gave a while ago: we were at a fountain in the city where kids were playing. One little boy (probably 7) kept pushing her off her spot (where the water was about to come up). I suspected it was because he liked her and was trying to engage her in an inappropriate manner. I went to him and told him that Lauren is a nice girl and that she would likely welcome any positive gestures he would make with regard to playing with her, but that if he could not play nicely with her that he should go somewhere else. He continued with aggression and I told him (in no uncertain terms) that if he did not go play elsewhere immediately then I was going to tell his mother. He left her alone.

    In the past my thinking was to always turn the cheek and be nice. If it could not be addressed through those means then the "authorities" (teachers, parents, administrators) would resolve it. Now, I think that the first step is generous and kind, but that if that does not immediately work, shock and awe is the next step. I.E., hit and hit hard. Symbolically speaking. I find it shocking that I am even thinking of doing something that might hurt another child.

    in summary: I now believe that kindness and generousity will not always work to resolve bullying and that aggression might have to be the way to treat it. And, that shocks me that I am thinking that way.
  6. DixieChick

    DixieChick One Hot Mama!

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    I don't tolerate it. Fortunately, my children's school doesn't either. I have taught all of my children to talk to an adult. They also know that if they are in a situation where they can't get to a safe place, they are allowed to use any means necessary to protect themselves. We have talked about when someone tries to take them away. I equate bullying with this. If you can't get to a safe place or to an adult, you may scream, hit, kick, bite, punch, throw, do whatever it takes to keep you safe.

    Nancy, I love your sigline, by the way! I am sort of in the same boat!
  7. DixieChick

    DixieChick One Hot Mama!

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    Just read your reply Rebecca. There was a NASTY little boy in the chick-fil-a play place last week. His parents were sitting out of sight of the playstructure. He would haul off and smack my 2yo, who is a tough kid. I walked in the door, and he started apologizing. I told him that if he hit my boy again, I was going to go find his mother. He left Samuel alone. However, later, he bit the CRAP out of my 5yo. I made sure my son was ok, and was on my way to find his mom when she came in. I politely told her that her son had bitten mine quite hard. She said,"Sorry, we were leaving anyway."

    I figured they were leaving, so there wasn't a reason to pursue it.

    I also want my children to know that I will ALWAYS back them up. Celeste, my oldest, was surprised when I told her she could fight back. She is a very law abiding child. She was concerned she would get in trouble at school.

    I assured her that her safety was more important, that I would stand behind her in the principal's office and tell them she did the right thing. I also told her that if they thought she did a wrong thing by protecting herself, that I didn't trust them and she could come home for school, no problem.
  8. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    That's EXACTLY what I think too.
  9. HuncaMunca

    HuncaMunca Active Member

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    I just heard a show on this topic recently on the radio and much of what they said made sense. First of all, in a school or similar situation, I think adults should be aware of the problem so that they can be keeping an eye out, step in, keep the child safe. Bullies are definitely smart enough NOT to bully when there are adults around.

    What the show said was... you can't really depend on changing other people - in this case the bully. They often don't and can't understand how hurtful their actions are. You can help (empower) your child to change: to grow in assertiveness, self-confidence, having some "tools" to handle certain situations.

    And try to help you child connect with kids who aren't bullies. My friend's dd recently had a relatively minor incident on the playground - a group of kids playing and the ringleader wouldn't let her dd join in. I know one of the other kids fairly well - very very sweet girl and not the type to exclude other kids or hurt anyone on purpose. But she didn't have the confidence to stand up to the ringleader and say "Yes she CAN play with us." That's a very important idea to teach our kids - even if you're not the one doing the bullying, if you stand by and don't do anything it's almost as bad. For some kids, all it may take is some role playing and letting them know the right way to handle things so that when they encounter such situations they know how to react. In this case, after my friend talked to the school counselor, they had a little role playing lesson in school to teach some ways to handle these things.
  10. AngelaJ

    AngelaJ Senior Member

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    What about name-calling? Do others consider this to be bullying? I do, and I am having a difference of opinion about this with the school, who apparently want to use my DD as a scapegoat because her communication skills are not what others her are.

    I'll admit, to second-guessing myself on this one.
  11. OnTheBrink

    OnTheBrink Amity's Focus Member

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    That sounds so like my Emma! And I think that she is more likely to be bullied as well. Luckily, she has no problems walking away and finding an adult. She hasn't figured out how to "solve" it on her own, but I think that finding help is a great solution.

    I agree! What kind of agression do you have in mind?
  12. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    my sister's 5 year old son bit Lauren so hard that it left a bruise and broke a tiny bit of her skin over the past week. Man, that was a hard one. If it hadn't been family, I'd have reacted a whole lot differently, but it was my sister's son. At least it was well handled by her. I'm not sure it was well handled by me because I think I should have reacted in a way that showed both him and his parents how disappointed and angry I was, but I soft pedaled it because I didn't want to hurt my sister's feelings. and, I figured she felt bad enough as it was. What I wanted to do was to take Lauren aside and teach her how to throw a wicked mean punch.
  13. Sunflower_Momma

    Sunflower_Momma "Christian"

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    This is where I'm not certain. But significant threat so that the bully leaves my child alone (obviously I cannot hurt a child). But, whatever it takes.
  14. heather4285

    heather4285 proud of who i am

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    dh and i have always told our kids that if they are being bullied the first thing to do is to find an adult. if there isn't one available, my kids have the right to defend themselves. we teach that being the bully is unacceptable and that being nice is a much better way to be, but also that strong words "do NOT hit me" and fighting back are also acceptable.
    i don't want my kids to hit anyone. i made it through childhood without ever hitting anyone other than my sister. but, i have also made it clear that no one has the right to hurt them.

    rebecca, isn't it so much harder to be a mom with kids that are growing? these issues keep getting tougher and tougher.
  15. DixieChick

    DixieChick One Hot Mama!

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    REbecca, I have 5 kids. Sometimes they really hurt each other. It is SO HARD to suppress that mama bear instinct. I have found the best thing for me to do in the situation you describe is to COMPLETELY focus on the hurt child. I hug, snuggle, ice, medicate, cry with the injured child. I will do this until everything is ok, sometimes up to 20 minutes or so. EVERYONE else has to wait. It puts a LOT of positive attention on the hurt child. It also gives me time to calm down. I know the feeling of wanting to throttle a child who has hurt mine.

    Family makes it so much tougher. Fortunately, that hasn't been a big problem for us so far, but I can see how trouble would easily arise.

    As for name-calling. We don't call people names. My children's names are Celeste, Lydia, William, Samuel, and Isaac. They are occassionally called snot nose or silly boy or baby face. HOWEVER! if the child says,"Don't call me that" it is stopped immediately, even if it is an affectionate nickname from a parent.

    There is no scapegoat, especially if your child is speech delayed. Kids are calling her names and she can't even adequately verbally defend herself and it is HER fault? I don't think so.

    Name calling in unacceptable. Teasing is NOT ok.

    I am a mean mean mama though. If you aren't nice to others, you get to be alone.
  16. gypsimama

    gypsimama in a state of flow

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    For bullying with words, we've taught our 6yo to say " thank you for sharing that with me" and then walk away and find an adult to tell/get help. She was in kindy last year and the teacher called to tell me that M had a 3rd grader tell her she was stupid. She used her line and walked away. The kid followed her and told her again. Again she used the line and kept on walking to the teacher. The 3rd grader was getting pissed beacuse she wasn't reacting and by the time M got to the teacher the 3rd grader was running after her yelling to the TEACHER "I'm being mean to her and she's not getting mad!" Apparently the little bugger was so angry that M wouldn't respond.:lol: That sealed the deal that "thank you for sharing that with me" was the way to go for M.

    For physical contact we've given her free reign to push, kick, hit, bite...whatever is needed to get away from someone hurting her. Kids or adults, if someone touches her body and she says no and they don't stop....let 'em have it. Again, at Kindy a boy touched her hair and she asked him to stop. He didn't so she shoved him, when he hit the floor, he stopped. The teacher made no fuss about it because she was trying to help 2 other kids and couldn't get to M. in time. She saw and heard the whole thing and was fine with how it played out.

    Bullying is so tough. I think confidence and self esteem are 2 key ingredients to beating a bully at his/her own game. Wit and sarcasm have their place too.:)
  17. tikva18

    tikva18 busy building blocks

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    Unfortunately for us, the authorities did nothing to help and, on the contrary, contributed to the bullying issue by putting all of the onus on my ds. In the end, as you may know, ds left the school last spring and was homeschooled for the remainder of the year. He is finally in a school where he is safe. His present principal told me that the other school was 'very,very bad for Akiva and that the old school made it seem that everything that had haapened was Akiva's fault. He (tthe principal) now sees how he was misled by Aiva's old teachers.

    What would i do about bullying? I'd come down hard. there is no excuse for treating someone without common decency.
  18. woman*mama*wife

    woman*mama*wife Happy to be ALIVE!

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    I encountered my first dose of bullying this fall. My 5yo DD came home from school and when I asked her how her day was she said "It was good because Donald stayed in the office all day." I asked more questions, found out Donals was a boy who "gets in trouble a lot." Since he spent the day in the office I figured it was being handled well and left all alone. A few days later my DD came home with red staining her whole chin, neck and shirt. Apparently Donald asked her if she wanted a drink then held it to her mouth so she could sip - before she could sip her squeezed the juice box all over her. :( I was so saddened for my baby. I went into instant defense mode and called the school. I met with the teachers and found out that Donald is in the class for the second year in a row. He is suffering from some major problems at home, and is being very closely monitored by several sources. I sat down with my DD for a while...chatted about what to do in these cases...about how its okay to not always feel brave (she has abig thing with wanting to do things alone to be "brave") and to go immediately to her teachers for help. There hasn't been any issues since...I think after my meeting with the teachers there was some seat changing and my DD says Donald hasn't been "in trouble for a long time." Perhaps he was testing his environment and my DD was the target... I don't know.

    This is my biggest struggle with motherhood...accepting that I can't always be by their side to walk them through challenges. Accepting that letting them go it alone sometimes adds to their independence and strength. All the issues surrounding this... *sigh*

    I'm hoping that I handled the situation above well... but I honestly don't know. I'm new to this. ;)
  19. Mamax4

    Mamax4 Amity's Focus Member

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    I think chiclren should be protected, but I also think that sometimes people see impulsive behavior on the part of small children as 'bullying' when it really isn't. I always step in if children are not being kind...but I also want to send the more aggrsive/impulsive child a gentle message. Impulsive little ones get a lot of negative feedback, so I think it's important to help these kids get a different sense of themselves (even in a short exchange). The motivation of the bully matters too, in how I handle it. Bullying and impulsivity are not the same.

    But no, I don't allow power plays and I've always been proactive and participatory in dealing with situations that are not postive. Fi, I have never allowed my children to hit each other...I never let that go even with tiny ones and my children do not hit. Dh and I have also been very emphatic about there being no putdowns in a family etc.
  20. woman*mama*wife

    woman*mama*wife Happy to be ALIVE!

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    I wanted to add that in any issue that comes up with my children I put myself in their place and consider as much as I possibly can - how it feels from their viewpoint.

    As an adult, I have no tolerance for being mistreated by anyone. And I have even less tolerance for the mistreating of my children. There are so many factors to consider with children, though. And like Mamax4 said - the motivation of the act is very important.

    No matter what, at the very least, I plan to discuss any incidents brought to my attention with my child thoroughly and then judge from that conversation on who I talk to about it next...whether it be a parents, teacher, etc.

    There are so many factors to this... but I think communication is really key in how it's handled....even before an event of bullying has ever even happened...communication is key.

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