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Are parents more comfortable having a child that bullies than a child that is bullied?

(46 Posts)
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 22:38:26

I'm talking about small children (3ish), so the word bullying is possibly a bit extreme, I guess I mean excluding, bossing and being mean, but for the purposes of the post I'll refer to it as bullying.
I wondered, because it struck me that I haven't read (any) many threads on here from the parent of a dc talking about how dc is mean to their friends or is a bully. I could be completely wrong, there might be loads, but I don't remember seeing them. Is it because parents don't notice that their dc are being mean to other dc, or are their some parents who are relieved that their child is not being bullied or left out and would prefer they were the bully than the bullied.
Not cruising for a row btw, just genuinely interested.
I would NEVER want my child to be bullied, but I find that the parents of the bullying dc can often have a sort of smugness to them as they ask their 'alpha' dc not to be mean or exclude other children.
Just trying to understand.

BoysAreLikeZombies Thu 16-Oct-08 22:45:29

3 year olds are still developing empathy and social skills.

I would be cautious about labelling a small child as a bully whilst they are still acquiring the skills needed to play with their peers.

Monkeyblue Thu 16-Oct-08 22:45:58

I think the parents of bullys are totally oblivious to what their little darling is doing and see them through rose coloured glass angry

A parent in our class was called in over her dd bullying a boy (last week)
She would not accept it and claimed it was made up she was being victimsed by the others WTF angry

I would be distraught if my DC were ever bullies.

childrenofthecornsilk Thu 16-Oct-08 22:46:43

I thinkmost parents would be unhappy about both circumstances.

Anifrangapani Thu 16-Oct-08 22:48:24

I would rather a confident child than a shy one, but part of confidence is not worrying about what others feel about them so they tend not to be bullies. If they were being bullies they would be brought up with a reality check.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 22:50:14

angifrangapani, sorry, being dim, what do you mean when you say: If they were being bullies they would be brought up with a reality check.

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 22:50:21

3 yr olds cannot be bullies, I know you already said this, but they are still learning.

Real bullies do it with intent.

Perhaps a lot of bullies get their behaviour from somewhere?

I'm sure the reason there aren't more threads by parents of bullies might be because they don't exactly want to tell everyone on MN as they are embarassed? I doubt it is because they are smug.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 22:51:20

why would not worrying about what others think of them stop them being bullies? Empathy is very much about caring about how others feel???

PortAndDemon Thu 16-Oct-08 22:52:57

I don't think it is really bullying at 3, most of the time. I'd rather have the DC on the receiving end, though -- there's a boy ("Tom") at DS's nursery who is prone to push, hit and scratch (some other parents have used the term "bully" about him, but I think it's just that he's physically the largest in the class by some distance and doesn't quite grasp acceptable limits or what to do in social situations). It's quite sad because now many of the other children are reluctant to play with him (DS told DH "Tom is bad" and when DH tried suggesting that maybe Tom wasn't actually bad, but... [etc.] DS solemnly insisted "No, Tom is always bad". And whenever DS is talking about his friends and who he likes to play with he adds "but I don't like to play with Tom") but you can see that he's very eager to play with them (when DS arrives at nursery Tom will bound over to him in a clearly-delighted-to-see-him manner).

I feel very sad for Tom, who isn't a bad kid at heart -- in fact I'm trying in a low-key manner to get him and DS together in a more controlled non-nursery situation so that DS can see that Tom isn't "always bad".

I'm not sure that that's quite what you're talking about, though -- there's not so much of the excluding and bossing going on. Anecdotally (and generalising horribly) there seems to be more of that emotional stuff going on with the girls, while the boys (at this age at least) seem to let the emotional stuff wash over them and fight physically if they're going to do it at all.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 22:53:31

OK, I know 3 year olds can not be bullies, it is not done with intent, I know I know, but it doesn't actually make the behaviour any less unpleasant for the child on the recieving end, whether you call it bullying or testing boundaries or ...??? dunno, what shall we call it?

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 22:54:19

I would be deeply upset if DS where a bully.

Some bullies are, in fact, the victims of bullying themselves, they get bullied by older kids/siblings/family members and then in turn bully younger children/siblings etc.

A kind of treat others as you are treated scenario.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 22:56:13

PortandDemon, yes, I'm talking about girls, far more complicated and difficult to understand, and the child in question seems quite advanced.
Poor littlebig Tom.

LadyLaGore Thu 16-Oct-08 22:57:10

wouldnt know as all my children are angels

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 22:57:12

bullies are not usually very happy or self-confident, and seek to gain some kind of control over their environment, hence if they where confident and didn't care what others thought of them they would be unlikely to be bullies.

LadyLaGore Thu 16-Oct-08 22:59:44

indeed omdb
outward boisterousness is no reliable indicator of self esteem

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 23:00:12

Whole new debate I know, but not sure I agree that not caring what others think is less likely to result in bullying behaviour, but I agree that bullying behaviour is likely to be a result of lack of confidence or happiness.

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 23:00:53

Bul;lying is very different to children just being horrible sometimes or not behaving nicely towards their peers.

Bullying is so much more than a child who's a bit physically rough or gets into scraps in the playground.

One is part of learning boundaries and dealing with emotions, the other is maliciousness with the intent to hurt or harm someone else.

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 23:01:46

"Tom" is not a bully.

Monkeyblue Thu 16-Oct-08 23:02:45

I agree OMDB

But some parents of bullies don`t see it like that and blame everybody else

If your kid is a bully you need to look at why unhappy,homelife, parenting,why are they looking for attention like that

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Thu 16-Oct-08 23:02:49

no, he isn't, I agree, he sounds like a too-big puppy!

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 23:05:17

Perhaps 'not caring what others think' is the wrong phrase. What I mean is 'not needing other's approval'. A bully nneds this, even is he/she is going about it in the wrong way.

Anifrangapani Thu 16-Oct-08 23:05:29

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I would explain that being a bully is not big or clever. I would make sure that my children knew that they were behaving very badly indeed.

Overmydeadbody Thu 16-Oct-08 23:06:54

yes you are right Monkeyblu, but most people find it hard to face reality and take the blame (or responsibility) for problems in their lives and issues their children are having. PErhaps that's whay some parents of bullies deny it?

Monkeyblue Thu 16-Oct-08 23:14:27

Oh this parent really pissed me off last week over her dd bulling this lad in our class (held him down then pulled his trousers down)This is`nt the first time she has bullied a child

She is always going on how wonderfull she is bla bla bla hmm

Its all bollocks she does`nt know that we are well aware whats been going on since September

She blames the parents of the lad for overreacting WTF
YET if it had been any of her dc she would gone ape shit

In fact she took her Ds out of one school cos he was getting bullied

PortAndDemon Thu 16-Oct-08 23:20:30

Yes, OMDB, that's what I think, although lots of other parents (mostly of PFBs at DS's nursery, through some demographic quirk) are convinced that he is. That's why I brought it up here -- parents of three-year-olds seem to have very different ideas of what a "bully" is (I'm with your definition).

I do wonder (a thought that's only just occurred to me, really) whether a child "labelled" by adults in this way, and who can't get the approval of his peers in the way he wants, is more likely to turn to bullying in a few years' time? I suppose that's where supportive parenting to build emotional maturity and reinforce self-esteem comes in.

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