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To ask if your child is a bully?

(18 Posts)
knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 18:28:42

After reading people's experiences with their children being bullied, I realised I've never read a thread on here from the other side of things. So, if your child was, or is a bully, are you prepared to admit it?

I've never known a parent hold their hands up and say their child was a bully. (Many years experience working in school, as well as chatting in the playground)

If you're willing to admit it, how did you find out? What did you do? Do you know why your child was bullying someone? Were you able to change their behaviour?

Similarly, I hear many stories from adults who were bullied at school, but not adults who were the bully. So if that was you, do you know why? And have you changed?

ManzanaVerde Tue 10-Oct-17 19:05:55

This was many years back and I'm definitely not proud of this but I guess I could be considered a bully (in the loose sense) when I was in upper secondary/sixth form.

There wasn't any system or particular reason for it all. Crux of the matter was, my best friend and I were frequently bored during school hours, and we entertained ourselves by subtly creating drama. We made groups of friends turn on one another, we split couples up, we befriended "useful" people and then excluded them, all the while making them feel like it's their fault that sorta thing. We were just very egotistical teenagers with a god complex.

Looking back I obviously regret it, but what's done cannot be undone, unfortunately.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Tue 10-Oct-17 19:12:46

Yes, my friends daughter. They were pulled in by the school and told she was the primary school bully aged 14. They handled it and her brilliantly. Immediate consequences at home and school. They were mortified. A year or so on, she's a new kid. Goes running with her mum in the evenings, great school results, no more behavioural issues. But she is closely watched....

browncordchic Tue 10-Oct-17 19:14:26

Used to be. Appalled by it now.

knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 20:09:33

So did it feel good? People say 'they do it to make themselves feel better' Any truth to that? And did anyone make amends in any way? What would you do if you saw your victim now? Would you apologise?

knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 20:13:29

Did you ever think of how the victims were feeling at all? Or did you not feel empathy at the time? If not, can you think why?

I often look at bullies and wonder how can they make someone suffer like that?

Does empathy need to be 'taught'? I think I always assumed people just developed empathy naturally, but maybe there really are people who go through their whole lives never thinking or feeling for other people.

Frequency Tue 10-Oct-17 20:13:51

My youngest has recently been handed her ass after me finding messages with a very nasty tone to them. She and two of her friends were ganging up on a former friend who'd fallen out of favour with them.

Serious words were had. I made the school aware and showed them the messages but nothing was done on the school's end, which doesn't surprise me after DD1's experience there.

I made a point of explaining what's just words to her could cause her former friend serious hurt. How would she live with herself if the girl started self harming or worse on the back of those words?

To be honest, the way bullying has affected her sister, I was really surprised at her. She's now banned from social media until further notice.

Her only explanation was that her victim was annoying and she wanted her to stop trying to be friends again.

knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 20:14:17

Browncordchic, were you a bully as a child or adult? How did you change?

knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 20:19:26

Frequency, did your daughter and her friends 'decide' to bully this girl? Had they tried being honest and simply saying they didn't want to be friends? Interested to know if they really felt it was too awkward to tell the truth and therefore easier to make their victim feel bad and therefore not want to be friends any more.

Does she seem to feel bad about what she said?

ManzanaVerde Tue 10-Oct-17 20:20:48

People say 'they do it to make themselves feel better'

There is some truth to that, though not in the traditional sense. For us it was all a game, a form of entertainment. Re: empathy, again, not proud of this at all, but for two big-headed teenagers, the thoughts and feelings of others were completely immaterial to us since the dominating thought I suppose was that if someone was "stupid" enough to let themselves be used and manipulated they probably deserved it.

Horrid in retrospect, I know.

knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 20:23:23

Yes it's horrid, but very honest of you. Do you have children? Have you discussed bullying with them? ( obviously it would be very hard to admit this to a child, just wondering how your history has shaped your parenting)

What made you change your ways?

Frequency Tue 10-Oct-17 20:29:42

DD started with a polite leave me alone and the girl continued messaging her, ironically replying that she wanted to remain friends because DD is very kind hmm DD was the first to get nasty but one on one the victim stood up for herself, telling DD she was being a bitch.

DD at some point initiated a video chat with one of the other girls. She claims nothing was said other than "X won't stop sending me messages" and then a giant pile on happened. The messages and threats went on for a few days before I spotted them, although after the initial pile on, DD was never the instigator. She certainly added to the follow up chats once they got going. The school did not notice any bullying going on inside school, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. They are are spectacularly rubbish at dealing with bullying.

She doesn't seem to feel bad. She is utterly convinced she was in the right, hence the social media ban. If she's not old enough to use it responsibly, she's not old enough to have it.

Oddly, she is very empathetic in all other circumstances. She once invited the local bully to our house for tea on the belief that this girl was bullying people because she had no real friends.

ManzanaVerde Tue 10-Oct-17 20:47:30

No children; I've never wanted them and I don't think motherhood would suit me anyway.

What made you change your ways?

Two parts to it I feel:

One is that adult life is very different from teenage life. Most of our bullying at the time was borne out of boredom and the whole notion of "being the chess master" just feels somewhat childish now. Also helps that I went into my internship feeling lost half the time - as with most interns - and that I realised that I wasn't the "best at everything" anymore.

Two is that a while ago I fell in love with someone who we probably would've "used" back in sixth form. This is still going to sound horrendous but in a way it "humanised" and "equalised" people for me - most will deny this but I think it's honestly a lot easier to empathise when you have a personal connection to someone as opposed to when that someone is just another stranger/acquaintance.

lunar1 Tue 10-Oct-17 20:52:29

The parents of the child who bullied my eldest ds are the cause of their sons behaviour.

They are very high earners, dad takes home over 300k per year. They spoil their son beyond any reason. They tell him constantly that he is better than everyone at everything all of the time. It has been drummed into him that he is far more important than anyone else.

When this theory didn’t pan out he turned really nasty towards my ds, who was actually the only boy who tolerated him. He was incredibly vicious towards my ds.

This went on for months before ds admitted to me what was happening.

Several incidents we seen by teachers and reported to me which is the only reason ds admitted it.

Even with witnesses to the behaviour the parents of the boy denied he had done anything wrong. According to my friend who had her on fb at the time, poor little bully had been taken out toy shopping to make up for the nasty teachers ganging up against him.

That child will have a miserable life, he keeps away from ds now, but had moved on to another child.

browncordchic Tue 10-Oct-17 20:53:51


At school, I was on the precipice of the cool kids. I never fully fit in and on a bad day was downgraded, if you like, to the more vulnerable students.

As such, I feared any kindness I might show them might be interpreted as my being one of them and so I hated them. I am disgusted now that I hid a shoe belonging to a girl I now know must have had a hideous home life. I did it because I had been partnered with her in PE.

I still sometimes wake up horrified at how spiteful I was.

FarFrom Tue 10-Oct-17 21:00:01

the term 'a bully' may be hard here. It can feel almost like asking if you have a 'bad child' and the answer would rightly be no.

children who are troubled can do troubling- and sometimes cruel things. We are not yet very good at realising that just hating and punishing them for it doesn't help.

the same applies to adults. That doesn't mean anything goes.

WhooooAmI24601 Tue 10-Oct-17 21:02:14

They have fucked up on occasion and been unkind to others, but I wouldn't call them bullies. DS1 attends a martial arts class and was unkind to another boy on the mats. I'd no idea until the coach phoned to alert me. DS1 has - to my knowledge - never been unkind to anyone on the mats again.

I think the main thing for DS1 was that we handled it openly and honestly and made him see what an awful thing it really was; so many parents say "oh they're kids, they need to toughen up, boys will be boys" etc and it allows what might me a one-off nasty comment to grow into something bigger, something deeper, something that crosses the line to bullying. DS1 was mortified when he saw how badly he'd behaved and how badly hurt the other boy was. Taking that on the chin as his parents was tough because nobody wants to hear that their child is the one being unkind. But no, I wouldn't say my children are bullies. I'd like to think that if they were we'd deal with it and prevent it continuing.

At my workplace a few years ago a woman there was bullied out of her job. I didn't contribute or join in, but nor did I step in and prevent it. I regret it, horribly. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time I think about it.

knobblykneesandturnedouttoes Tue 10-Oct-17 22:31:54

Why didn't you?

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