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To think that the parents of bullies have it easy

(171 Posts)
EnyainIkea Thu 15-Nov-12 23:56:00

Because I see the efforts that the VICTIMS of bullying have to make to get support. They have to go through the hoops of trying to convince teachers and headteachers that they have a case in the first place. They have to convince these people that their child is not making it up, exaggerating, over-reacting and then wait.... whilst they hope the problem is being tackled by the school.

The parents are usually left in the dark about what "measures" are being taken to tackle the bullying behaviour "because that's confidential and can't be discussed". They have to reassure their children that they are trying to help and, of course, they did the right thing by telling them because now we can help you when, in actual fact, the parent feels absolutely powerless.

And then there are the meetings where it's suggested that your child is maybe not robust enough or needs to walk away from situations, or learn to stand up for themselves. You end up thinking that you need to move YOUR child from that classroom or, worse still, the school.

AIBU in thinking that the parents of the "accused" bullies are having it easy in comparison to this?

And BTW I would LOVE to hear from parents who have children who have been accused of bullying for the simple reason that I have never heard your side of the experience and it would help me immensely to know what YOU go through!

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Wed 21-Nov-12 15:10:00

I also don't like the use of the word victim about children who are being bullied by the way. Because it makes it seems as though they have to remain passive and just put up with it, whereas I would prefer the approach of teaching them to deal with it in a problem-solving manner.

After all, it is a skill that we could all do with learning before we enter the workplace which is full of bullies and there will be no mother there to go in and fight our corner.

And in case people insist on misconstruing my posts (as many have misconstrued ReallyTired's), I am not saying children are not being bullied, I'm not saying there should be no consequences for bullying, I'm not saying that children should be blamed or just have to put up with it. I just think that working with all the children to improve relationships throughout the class will eventually be more productive than just trying to move the "bully" from school to school.

ReallyTired England Wed 21-Nov-12 15:00:34

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Thanks for your post. You are right I have had lot of vicous and quite personal attacks from people who have disagreed with my opinons. It makes me wonder what sort of relationship they have their child's school.

However I feel quite sad for the children of these posters who see helping the victim of bullying as a punishment. It must be really hard to help a socially rejected child if the parents are not on side.

ReallyTired England Wed 21-Nov-12 11:43:33

"I'm not a surgeon but I've worked in hospitals and many doctors agree with me do I must know enough to offer a medical opinion about your ailments .... Or would that be an ridiculous suggestion ? "

Everyone has the right to offer an opinon. Mosman if you can't cope with people disagreeing with you then I suggst you pick a gentler forum like babycentre or netmums.

My son has experienced incidences of bullying and I am afraid to say that on one occassion he was a bully along with seven other boys. They were six years old at the time and their game got out of hand. None of them stopped to think about their behaviour. The deputy head talked to all eight boys individually and explained to them how X felt. All the parents were also told what had happened. The school also set up a play time club run by a TA to teach children how to play nicely. The club was run for the entire academic year and groups of 15 children attended the club for once a week for 6 weeks. All the children in my son's academic year had the opportunity to attend the club.

Recently my son had a girl telling him he was gay as he loves singing. Again the deputy head spoke to the two children and bullying stopped. Understanding the feelings of both children is important.

OFSTED said that my son's school were outstanding at keeping children safe. My son's school uses the no blame approach. They are also pro active in preventing bullying happening in the first place by using social stories and talking about feelings of other people.

Mosman Wed 21-Nov-12 10:48:34

I'm not a surgeon but I've worked in hospitals and many doctors agree with me do I must know enough to offer a medical opinion about your ailments .... Or would that be an ridiculous suggestion ?

ReallyTired England Tue 20-Nov-12 22:14:33

A lot of posters talk about being bullied by the ENTIRE class. Surely for that to happen then most children must have been a bully to some degree or another. Children can turn into monsters when the herd instinct kicks in. Maybe my maths is not that amazing but if a typical class has 30 children in it then 29 children is surely most children in a class.

There are web links that claim that bullying is a wide spread problem and most children get bullied at some point. Hence my assertion that most children are both bully and victim at different points during their school career.

I think it is important to label the behaviour rather than the child. Children can control or change their behaviour, but they cannot change their fundermental make up.

One of the nastiest experiences a child can experience is to have the entire class refuse to play with them. It is a painful and lonely experience to have no partner in science or drama, to always be picked last for PE. It is nasty when children run away from a (perfectly clean) child claiming that they smell. It is really like Lord of the Flies. It is very hard to punish a child for refusing to play with another child. Ultimately children are allowed to choose their own friends.

It is takes a lot of work to make a school a bullying free zone. The "victim" in the above senario may well benefit with help with making friends in school even if they have good social skills. Interventions like "circle of friends" or "shared concern" (otherwise known as no blame) sometimes do help break down the herd mentality of a class.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 19:48:29

Yes, she wasn't parenting well by the sounds of it. That doesn't excuse the school not fulfilling it's duty of care.

In younger children I'd suspect that there's a lot more scope for change in children who bully. Their behaviour deserves to be labelled though. Stupid isn't a verb, bully is.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Tue 20-Nov-12 19:42:11

And I didn't say it was the boy's fault. But the mother should certainly take some responsibility because she consistently told him he was being bullied and never once tried to teach him how to fit in.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Tue 20-Nov-12 19:41:18

All children who are bullied need support and help and an appropriate plan of action.

So do all children who bully. Because the alternative is to just keep punishing them, have them continue, punish them more - it becomes a vicious circle.

I genuinely think that intervention, social stories, working with the whole class is a better way to approach it with young children, than just blaming one child or group and labelling him/her/them as bully/ies. Children change an awful lot as they grow, and a child who is helped to see why their behaviour is inappropriate will eventually do better than one who is labelled as bad.

Just as a child who is helped to learn academically will do better than one who is labelled as stupid. In the old days, children were called stupid and left to sink. It did them no good at all. Labelling them as bullies and leaving them to sink will do no good either.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 19:34:16

And that child wasn't 'at fault'. It's the school's responsibility to identify children who need support and help with social skills and intervene with an appropriate plan of action.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 19:29:19

Sometimes it's an issue of social skills. In those cases, and obviously with young DC, you'd work on the child and the class and then come up with a structured approach to integrate the child back into their peer group gradually, with adult supervision.

What made me and others angry was the assertion that most children are both the bullies and the bullied during their school life. I'm sure some are. Not all though.

I think the words bully and victim are appropriate. Bully describes the behaviour of the child. Victim says it's not their fault. And it isn't. For every child like the one you described above there are ten more who don't have social issues. They may be small or tall or red headed or sound different or wear a hearing aid or have a sick parent or a sibling with disabilities.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 20-Nov-12 18:04:49

I think it depends on the type of parent they are if they are of the don't give a fuck/refuse to believe their little darling could do such a thing ilk,then yes, they do have it much easier than parent of a child being bullied.

If they are nice people,who haven't raised their child that way and are horrified at their child's actions and don't know how to stop it happening,then I think they must have a hard time too.

I do think that regardless of what kind of parent the bullying child has,parents of bullied children have a much more difficult situation. Because a bullied child doesn't just get over the minute the bullying stops.

I was bullied at school. It was horrible. I have no idea how children/teenagers cope today when they can be bullied whilst sitting in their own living room, via Facebook,twitter etc. And of course text messages. I remember the texts still.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Tue 20-Nov-12 17:18:25

But some children can be bullies and victims.

dd was bullied horribly in primary school and has been on occasion in secondary. But that doesn't stop me being aware that she is now in a group that leaves some children out when they do things. So at times, I'm sure those girls feel bullied, making dd a bully.

But in her case, if someone brings it to her attention, talks to her, reasons with her etc. she will pull back.

Narked, that may work at 16. But what about at 6? It is primary aged bullying that should be dealt with by talking to both the "bully" and the "victim". I don't think naming a 6 year old a bully is any better or worse than naming a 6 year old a "victim" and giving the one an excuse to carry on, and the second a reason to give up. And if it was dealt with better at 6 it would be less endemic in schools at 16.

For example, there was a boy in ds2's class in primary school whose mother was continually in the school complaining about him being bullied by the whole class. She said he was ostracised and that no-one would play with him. However, this child never obeyed the rules of the game they were playing - if they played chasing, he would refuse to stop when caught, he wouldn't ever be "on", he used to say when caught "I'm not playing" and then come back and "free" all the caught children, thus destroying the game for the whole class.

That mother is still convinced he was badly bullied. If she had taken the time to talk to him, to teach him about the rules of the playground, to try to get him to play with the other boys one at a time, his life would have been very different. I tried to talk to her, I invited her son here to play with ds, but she refused. She never accepted that he did anything wrong at all. In her eyes he was a victim at the age of 5 and the other 18 boys in the class were all bullies.

He is now 15, and apparently very much a loner in secondary school sad. He never learned to play with other children or to make friends.

There are many, many children who bully and are bullied for no reason, and it is awful for those who are bullied. But I still stick to my opinion that teaching both sides a different way is much more appropriate than labelling someone as a bully at the age of 6 and putting huge efforts into getting him/her sent to a different school.

shesariver Tue 20-Nov-12 16:25:25

Maryz its been said here that children can be both bullies and victims - something which I strongly disagree with, so no thats not all she has said. I dont look at my DS through rose coloured spectacles and I certainly dont take everything he says as "gospel", like I suspect everyone here that has a child that is being bullied I resent being told it could be my DSs fault in some way for not having social skills (something else rt has said)...their posts are very much victim blaming.

I resent being told my DS needs to change - hes fine the way he is and since we have moved has went back to his normal self - he doesnt need to change at all, but the psychopathic bully that bullied him (and I saw it constantly with my own eyes since he was our next door neighbour so Im not believeing it just based on what he told me hmm) would need to - but never will. I resent having to move house because the bullying was so bad but we all have got our lives back.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 16:16:45

And as I mentioned, the girls that bullied me also bullied other children. If I had gone on a course I might well have steered their aim elsewhere, but what about the other DC they bullied? Would we all have gone on the course?

These weren't stupid girls or from underprivileged, chaotic families. They enjoyed what they did. They were fully aware of the impact it had.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 16:07:11

Look back a page or two Maryz. To different sixth form colleges. When bullies can't be moved splitting them up is essential. They're always weaker without their friends to back them up.

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 16:03:52

If you read some of the case studies you'll see that many of the DC who were helped by the course had additional issues eg were on the autistic spectrum. They were also helped by changing school (the boy's school blamed him for being too 'sensitive' to the bullying), the bully being excluded and home schooling to get them away from the situation.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Tue 20-Nov-12 15:58:14

I find this thread really odd.

I have read most of it - not all I admit, but I have gone back and read ReallyTired's posts and I agree with pretty much everything she says.

It's all very well saying "get rid of the bullies" but schools just can't these days. And if they do, where would the kids go? To another school, where they will continue to bully.

All ReallyTired has suggested (and she has been very patient in the midst of some fairly vicious attacks) is that both the bully and the person being bullied should be helped to change. The bully helped to see things from others' points of view (surely you can't object to that?) and the person being bullied to stand up for themselves, to verbalise how they feel, to actively take charge in as much as they can. Which will surely help their self-esteem and thus their ability to cope.

Teaching someone to cope with being bullied isn't condoning the bullying. It's helping them to cope, surely?

Narked, where did your school's bullies go?

Narked Tue 20-Nov-12 15:46:32

Unless the victim and their parents are prepared to learn strageries for coping with bullying then they will continue to suffer.

You know what helps people 'cope'? Removing the bullies. Splitting them up from their group. Isolating them rather than blaming their victims. You don't have to expel them to have them taught in isolation, eat in isolation and arrive at school after everyone else and leave later.

Once my school removed the bullies, there wasn't a bullying problem anymore. Those that had been bullied didn't get targeted by anyone else. The consequences of that behaviour were made clear, and, the rest of the girls weren't actually bullies.

ReallyTired England Tue 20-Nov-12 15:08:36

I am not a teacher, but I have worked in several schools and I KNOW that many teachers agree with me. If you work with a group of children, it wears you down when they constantly tell tales. Its worse than when siblings fight. Children can be specularly horrible to each other. However there is a difference between subtained bullying and a childish squabble.

Bullying is horrific. Believe or not many teachers have been to school and some of them were even bullied at school. Schools want to eradicate bullying and will spend time and effort on what has been shown to work. However some parents unreasonable and do believe the sun shines out of their kid's arse or they take their child's version of events as gospel. This comment applies to both the parents of bullies and the victims.

Children are not divided in to angels and demons. Children make mistakes just like adults. They are immature and often behaviour appaulingly. Surely its the function of schools to help children learn from their mistakes rather than take the easy route of exclusion or the victim changing schools.

Sometimes parents want nothing but pure revenage and this is counter productive. Unless the victim and their parents are prepared to learn strageries for coping with bullying then they will continue to suffer. If training the victim is not helpful then why does kidscape offer courses?

www.kidscape.org.uk/zap/index.asp

I find it depressing that so many mumsnetters believe it is impossible to help a nursery aged bully learn better behaviour. What do you want done with a small child who bullies. Should you shoot him?

Mosman Tue 20-Nov-12 13:59:37

Please tell me really tired isn't a teacher, please please

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Tue 20-Nov-12 12:46:46

"But now with social media and mobile phones, children will be experiencing this bullying 24/7"

That is also my fear for my DS. I was bullied at school but home was safe and luckily for me my bullies all lived in a different direction on a different estate (had I lived on that estate my life would have been even worse I think).

I feel so sorry for children nowadays who are bullied, filmed and then that film is sent round to everyone.

miserablemoo Mon 19-Nov-12 21:59:14

Thank you ever so much wallison and rudolphdefender for your help. We did not mention nursery at all yesterday and I had my happy son back. This morning he woke at 6am crying and asking to come into my bed (which he never does unless ill) We had tears all through breakfast, all the way to nursery and when he arrived. I had another quick word with the teacher (it's so busy in the morning it's hard to talk, especially when you have other parents that also want to talk to them) I said he is scared of said boy and have asked if I can move him if he carries on being upset. The teacher is frustrated I think because I do think they are doing what they can (keeping an eye on both of them and the other boy gets put in time out which is for majority of the time) but it's not enough for me. I picked him up and she said briefly that there were a few incidents but they delt with it. I am angry that I am going to have to move my son, uproot him and for him having to start building new friendships again because one boy will not leave him alone. These are 3 and 4 years olds! I can go to the head teacher but realistically what can he do? My son doesn't feel safe and is desperately unhappy and this is in a space of a week. Sorry to go on. I never ever thought I would be experiencing this with a 4 year old in nursery. It makes me even sadder when I know that this child will be in the same reception class as mine so this could rear its ugly head again in a year’s time.

I was bullied but a lot later in life. I had a parent that didn't really care. To read that I was in some way asking for it is very upsetting. I am not bitter but it has shaped who I am and not in a good way. It scares the hell out of me with the way bullies can get into every aspect of another persons life now. I could go home after school and sob my heart out in my room with the door shut and no one would know (or care). But now with social media and mobile phones, children will be experiencing this bullying 24/7. They have nowhere to hide. I worry how I am going to get my children through school unscathed. When people think that the victim is in some way to blame then I cant see a way forward.

SinisterBuggyMonth Mon 19-Nov-12 21:49:00

hmmm why was I singled out.

Well in primary school I had ecsema, most of the kids, and some of the parents thought it was contagious. Hopefully attitudes have now changed towards this very common skin complaint.

At secondary school I, like many others on here, was bullied by the in crowd. It wasnt just excullsion, I did nothing to seek out the attention of this crowd, me and my small group of friends kept ourselves to ourselves. We werent overly academic, but we werent thick either, some of us had talents, some of us smoked, we had petty arguements, we laughed alot. For some reason the popular set decided to target us, 3 of us relentlessly. I cannot understand why, we posed no threat, we were happy to be left alone.

The no blame thing would not work on the girls who spat on us, kicked us, verbally bullied us, stared at us, laughed at us and stuck snot on our books. It might have made the followers stop and think for a second, but the pschopaths that carried this out? I cant imagine somehow.

The ringleader, the most popular girl in the class, was my nextdoor neighbour, lucky me. When a teacher suggested she was jealous of me I really couldmt see anything obvious. She had 2 parents, 3 siblings, a bigger nicer house, new clothes all the time. She was popular, she had nothing to gain by spending her time bullying me. The only reason I can think of is she was using me and my friends as am example of what would happen if any of her close friends decided to not follow her anymore.

I'm trying to empathise you see, because I can do that, I would never kick or spit on someone because I can put myself in the victims place. Bullies cannot, or actively choose not to.

Oh and the bullying changed me, I wasnt able to befriend groups of women until I hit my 30's. Thats not through bitterness, but fear.

DrCoconut Mon 19-Nov-12 19:00:28

I was bullied at school. I was vulnerable because my dad was seriously ill (he died when I was 6) and my mum was very stressed. We would often have to deal with hospital admissions etc and life revolved round medication and drs appointments. I guess though it was no ones fault it rubbed off on me and marked me out. At primary I was ostracised and excluded. I had very few friends and couldn't get in with the others really. When I was in my teens the bullies framed me for graffiti and laughed their heads off as I was forced to clean it off. They mocked the way I walked, talked, everything. They even took the piss out of the fact that my dad died and said I was so ugly no one would ever go out with me. I did all I could to stay below their radars and became a quiet little mouse who wouldn't do anything that may make me stand out. I blame them in part for the fact that I ended up in an abusive relationship, I was so grateful to have someone after being made to feel so unworthy that for a while I never questioned his behaviour. It has taken me literally years to build any sort of self esteem and I have no sympathy with bullies unless they are so disabled they genuinely can't help it. Anyone who knowingly makes anyone else miserable is a low life scrote who deserves all they get.

Where we live, children are usually attending what we call pre-school since 2 or 3yo.
Last year DS was 4, and started talking about how he and his friends didn't want to paly with one of the boys at his class. I asked him why, and he in fact didn't know - "I think it's because he's silly", he said.

I tried to talk to him, and explain why he shouldn' be excluding the little one. But he said: "But then my friends will think I'm silly too!"

I talked and talked, I told him about how I felt when I was bullied (yes, I was), but nothing changed.

So I decided to talk to the people in charge for the pre-school - and they say that was no big deal. But I remember it WAS a big deal when it was with me - and called the other parents involved (not the bullied one). Nobody knew it was happening! Asking their kids, they all confirmed that the boy was always left alone.

We gathered our kids and made some suggestions of how they could include the boy. Things got better, now he is accepted the way he is.

This year, one boy decided to exclude another - but DS told me he wouldn't let him, that it was an "ugly thing to do"... That made me so proud!

But the point is: sometimes little kids just don't know exactly why they do it - they just follow someone. But on the other hand, if us, the parents of the bullies, hadn't do anything, things would get worse.

So, at this age, we MUST do something. Miserablemoo, please, please go talk to whoever is responsible for your kid's nursery!

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