Have you ever had a child that was aggressive and chose to rule other siblings?
Were you afraid of them?
My child is a 13 year old bully. The signs were not apparent at first but became more and more apparent after an incident with one of my children.
My son has this tremendous temper and he has looked at me in an aggressive way several times in the past two years when I attempt to chastise him. Recently, he has become more and more like his father. In the past he has followed his father’s instruction but his father is out of town for extended periods of time working now.
I fear that my husband has taught him not to respect women. Although I work, my husband controls the money and how it is spent in the household. He has passed these ideas down to my sons, one thirteen and the other five years old.
My husband has taught my boys that a woman should be seen and not heard and that the man is head of the household. That it is a man’s duty to run the home. Now, my son feels that he is the head of the household when my husband is not around and that he should rule even me.
This attitude has caused me to have reservations about confronting my son for fear he may respond in a negative way toward me and I won’t know what to do.
One day while working, my daughter stated that her brother locked her in the closet only to be released when she had to use the bathroom.
When asked about the incident, my son denied the allegations and looked at me as though I had no right to ask him that. As a busy working mother, I simply brushed off the incident and told my daughter to forget about it and that it wouldn’t happen again.
Later while cooking dinner one evening, my daughter had returned home later than she was supposed to. I was concerned that maybe something had happen. My son noticed how concerned I was and waited for her at the door until she arrived. Once she got there, my son did not allow her to come into the house. He told her to stay outside. She called out to me constantly as I simply ignored her as though I never heard her cry.
My son rebuked her and told her not to leave the front yard, and he disallowed her to enter the house.
My daughter stood outside crying stating she was cold and wanted to come into the house. I continued cooking dinner and disregarded what was going on. I was afraid of my son because he had a bad temper and I did not want him to do anything to me. I isolated myself by focusing on the food that I was preparing and not on what my son was doing.
My heart shattered for my daughter and for myself. Darkness set in and my daughter was still outside and not allowed in the house. Finally, I said “she needs to eat and get ready for school tomorrow.” He called her in and punched her as she entered the door saying a “You better get here on time the next time.” She cried and went to wash her hands for dinner. I said nothing and acted as though the incident was over…
The next day I thought, how can I live with myself? What can I do to stop my son from bullying? What can I do as a parent to stop the bullying?
I knew that I had to do something before the bullying behavior of my son escalated. I found this book called “Creating Bully-Proof Children and Bully-Busting in Your Home. (2007). Complete Guide to Understanding, Controlling & Stopping Bullies & Bullying: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Parents (pp. 132-176). Atlantic Publishing Company.”
I learned that by just standing by ideally watching, I was condoning the behavior that my son conveyed. I now have to face my son and let him know that what he has been doing to his sister is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.
Although his sister made poor choices, it was the responsibility of the parents to chastise her not his. I let him know that because his father was not around I understood that he felt he was the man of the house. I expressed to him the importance of his being close to his sister and how it was important for him to be the man of the family by protecting her and not hurting her.
He later began after some time and effort, to correct his behavior, through constant reassurance and guidance from myself and my husband.
Finally, I understood the importance of confronting a bullying child the moment the bullying behavior is exhibited. Bullies have to be redirected and have to acknowledge what they did and why they did it.
Although some of his actions were contributed by my husband because of the way he is being raised, he also had to control his temper and think before acting in any situation.
Parents have to equip themselves so that they can discontinue the behavior before it escalates into a problem that can become more complex if written off or shoved under the rug.
Parents must empower themselves to help eradicate the problem of bullying demonstrated by their children.
I now live in a bully-proof home and feel the importance of helping parents succeed in isolating the bully problem in their homes.