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!

Kalisi Fri 16-Nov-12 08:36:46

I think that if you are a half decent parent/ human being, it would be just as devastating to have a child labelled a bully than it would to know your child is a victim. I know that I would be crushed if I found that out.
Otoh, I do believe that certain schools have a crap bullying policy that definately puts more pressure and blame on the parents of the bullied child ( as someone mentioned before, they were not even made aware their child had been bullying another) This does seem to be improving though as we slowly move out of the dark age " kids will be kids" way of thinking.

Bumblequeen Fri 16-Nov-12 08:53:06

Victims parents suffer alot more. They watch their dc go through emotional turmoil.

I was badly bullied through secondary school. Nobody intervened. I was left to suffer. I did not inform my mum as I thought it would make matters worse. Mum knew I was miserable but did not push.

I felt ashamed that I could not stand up for myself. I was suicidal but still laughed and joked around. I accepted I was worth nothing which is why nobody rescued me.

20 years later I still go cold when passing a group of school children. I do not like being in large groups. I wonder if people can detect I was bullied. Would they treat me differently if they knew?

It never leaves you.....

OldMumsy Fri 16-Nov-12 09:09:18

One of my DDs suffered bullying by being accused of bullying when she hadn't. That was extremely distressing for her and us. It was a particularly nasty passive aggressive type of bullying that was very hard to counter. That girl was a horrible manipulating person.

MrsBucketxx Fri 16-Nov-12 09:21:26

bumblequeen i know that feeling well.

i was bullied terribly at school, i was punched, egged, stolen from,

i never told anyone at home and have only one or two mates, i was often alone and miserable.

some of the bullied did try and be freindly into adulthood some of the boys wanted to date me and i would laugh. how can someone fo that and expect to be friends after hmm

it would crush me if my dc where bullying and would want to do everything i could to stop them, even if it meant home schooling or moving schools.

Lancelottie Fri 16-Nov-12 09:24:43

'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.'

Yup.

If that's the school's attitude, then you may well be better to move them.

The insidious thing is that it can make you doubt your child. We knew DS was volatile, easily annoyed, prone to explode -- so at first, when the school said he wasn't being bullied but overreacting to 'normal teasing', we assumed they were right. Likewise when he was reporting two kids picking on him constantly, but the school thought it was 'all as bad as each other'; indeed, one of the other boys' parents came to have a go at us over our DS bullying his.

But then we asked around a few friends' kids, who all knew immediately who had been doing the picking and who was on the receiving end.

And we moved DS to a new school. And strangely, though he's still volatile, unreasonable, hot tempered etc etc (he's a teenager now), he never says he's bullied and has never been accused of it. Meanwhile, the boys he left behind apparently moved straight on to a new victim...

Lancelottie Fri 16-Nov-12 09:25:41

never says he's being bullied, that should say.

theworldaccordingtome Fri 16-Nov-12 09:51:56

OldMumsy my sister went through this towards the end of primary school. A very spiteful little girl repeatedly accused her of bullying and several meetings were held at the school to discuss her so-called 'behavior'. My mother was absolutely distraught, how do you prove this is not true.

Special needs and extreme home circumstances aside, the parents of bullies in my experience rarely know or of they do know don't care that their child is a vindictive little nasty who enjoys inflicting pain on others day in day out. Thankfully lots grow out of it, sadly some do not and continue to bully as adults. In such cases, I am sorry but I do blame the parents and I saw how upsetting it was for my mother to be wrongly accused of being a parent who doesn't care enough to teach her child that it is wrong to make someone else's life hell.

Startail Fri 16-Nov-12 09:58:22

My DSIS is now firm friends with the woman who bullied her. She fully acknowledges she was horrible.

In her case she was the one clever one in the class. In my peer group she would have got good results and gone on to collage.

Somehow, in DSIS's less academic class, she got promoted to top dog gang leader instead. Other, I think nastier, but less intelligent class members looked up to her.
Just as in " lord of the flies" gang cohesion needed a fall guy. My poor sister was it.

Having grown up, married a total waster and remarried a lovely man and had DCs she has grown into the considerate intelligent person she should have been 30+ years ago.

As to parents our Dad was her dad's manager, which probably didn't help, but I don't think they got on particularly badly.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Fri 16-Nov-12 10:09:40

I disagree completely.

Children who bully usually have much wider ranging issues that will follow them into adult life. They are often extremely unhappy and troubled and parenting such children is very hard.

Being the parent that everyone blames, that everyone looks down on, having a child who isn't invited to birthday parties and seemingly can't/won't behave no matter what you do is soul-destroying.

dd was badly bullied in primary school. But she and I get on very well, I can communicate with her, she can talk to me about her troubles and lets me help her. That is so much easier than dealing with ds1 who was constantly in trouble in school and ended up being desperately unhappy.

He got no help, just endless punishment that ended up with him being suicidal.

Primrose123 Fri 16-Nov-12 10:23:04

Bullies do not always suffer from low self-esteem. The girl that bullied my DD in primary school was the queen bee of the class, but I suspect that she was so 'popular' because the other girls didn't want to get on the wrong side of her. She may well have been lovely to her friends, but she was awful to a few she didnt like. Her parents were both teachers, and her father was one of the school governors and very friendly with the HT. She was always picked for solos, main parts in plays, reading in church, class monitor etc.

The head made us feel like it was our DD's fault, and the girl's parents were not even informed. I don't think the head even spoke to the girl about it. I know of a few other children who were bullied in the school, and were treated the same way. The parents were told it was basically their own fault, and nothing was done. The school now has a new head, so hopefully things are better. We moved our DD to a secondary school in the next town, and she is much happier. The bully hasn't changed from what I hear, but most teachers think she is lovely, because she is clever about what she does and when she does it.

shesariver Fri 16-Nov-12 10:31:52

I think most kids take their turn at being bully and victim.

Crap. My DS is a nice polite gentle boy who can misbehave as hes no angel, just a normal boy - but hes very kind and thoughtful of others, has lots of friends and wouldnt dream of bullying any other kid. Unfortunately the same cant be said for the 10 year old psychopath who bullied him relentlessly for 9 months. He just happened to be our next door neighbour so my DS couldnt go into the street without fear of verbal and physical assualt.

Unless you have been the parent living with this day in day out no-one can understand how it consumes you and slowly destroys you seeing your happy go lucky child eroded and destroyed psychologically in front of you - you feel so helpless. He goes to dancing classes so the milder end of the verbal abuse was to be continously called "gay". The bully got clever and used to physically assualt him when no-one was watching - only 1 assualt could we get him charged for and it went to the childrens panel and because he was only 10 and already had a social worker not much changed.

Approaching his Mum was useless - she alternated between sticking up for him "hes had a hard life" type thing that I got SICK of listening to even from professionals and also being scared of him so let him do what he likes. He nearly strangled a fellow bully and put him in hospital with suspected broken ribs and when I contacted the school to express my concern that this boy was still being allowed access to my son at school was told by a teacher "but he got out of hospital he didnt get kept in" - oh thats allright then eh!

Eventually we had to move house so have lost our home and what was a friendly street through it - we nearly lost our marriage through it to because of the streess and my DH whos a childminder nearly lost his business because the bully was verbally assualting the mindees when they were out in our back garden and chucking stones at them over the fence. My DH would have lost his registration if we didnt move. So now everything has settled down but Im still so angry that all the attention and support seemed to be on the bully because of his dysfunctional background - and my poor DS got nothing. So dont dare say that chidlren take turns being bully and victim angry

shesariver Fri 16-Nov-12 10:33:57

And yes initially I had a lot of sympathy for him - but when its your child he singles out for relentless bullying Im afraid any sympathy I had dried up!

OldMumsy Fri 16-Nov-12 10:54:03

theworldaccordingtome I am sorry for your sister and mother. It's a horrible situation to find yourself in. I have not come across anyone else this has happened to before. I think bullies adapt the tools that they are given, for instance an accusation of racism can be very damaging to a child or adult these days and there's not much you can do about it. Worrying times.

OldMumsy Fri 16-Nov-12 10:55:46

And theworldaccordingtome the parents of my DDs accuser were committed Christians who forgave my daughter confused

I have not forgiven them.

DozyDuck Fri 16-Nov-12 10:56:23

Well let's balance this out a bit (as a parent with severe autism who hits out)

The parent of the victim only really heard their child's version of events, the school doesn't go into details really. The parents don't know what's going on, what's being done to help. All they know is that their child is suffering. This is worsened when the bully has SN. The parents feel bad for the bully having SN, know the child can't help it but they also don't want their child hurt, so they have no one to be angry at, don't know what's being done to stop it, and probably feel just as helpless as the victim.

Ok now for the parents of the bully (SN or emotionally scarred children)

They know all the details of what is going on, have meetings, think of strategies, try hard to stop it, they do have some power.

However, they also have massive worries, are all the parents judging them? Will their child grow out of it or end up in care being restrained because of violence. Why are none of the strategies working? Is it something they've done? What about the poor child being hurt? Are they ok? Is my child's SN impacting so much on other children emotionally that they will end up with special needs too? Will my child be excluded? Need a special school?

It's a horrible situation for both sets of parents. Horrible. I wouldn't wish either on anyone

BUT and here's the biggy... Some children's parents don't care. Their kid isn't unhappy and the other kid should just stop being so weak. If that's the parents attitude then yes, they do have it easier.

It's pretty easy to tell the difference between these parents, go and talk to them in the playground. Not to attack them but just talk to them.

The parents at DSs mainstream school were never angry at me, or DS, they were angry at the school after I told them they weren't putting in place the recommended strategies so this is why things were never getting better. They complained a lot, not about DS (although the head teacher tried to make me believe this but every parent who complained came to me first and had my full support and I told them the type of things they could say in the hope that DS would get the support on the back of other parental complaints) but about the lack of action by the school.

So, to sum it up, it all depends on whether or not the parent of the bully cares. If they care, it's just as hard. If they don't it's easy for them to bury their head in the sand as their kids aren't being hurt. smile

DozyDuck Fri 16-Nov-12 11:04:08

That said I am extremely glad DS can't be bullied. He's in a special school now, and a lot of kids have emotional problems and will pick on each other. But DS doesn't care. He came home yesterday singing ginger ninja (he's ginger) and laughing. He also doesn't feel pain so can't be hurt.

I would hate him to be affected by bullying that would be horrendous too sad

It's a sad situation that mainstream schools need to find ways of making better.

When DS was in mainstream school he was invited to a lot of parties. One little boy said to his mum (when in reception) DS was in the other reception class to him.

'I am inviting everyone in my class to my party, and dozys DS, because he does hurt me sometimes but he has special needs and he doesn't understand'

I miss the parents at that school so much. The children just weren't bothered about DS at all and looked after him smile

McChristmasPants2012 Fri 16-Nov-12 11:06:19

My next step would be taking parental leave an watching him at break times.

I take bullying rather serious, I don't want my son hitting, biting and hurting other children. I am ashamed of it.

Not all parents of bullies don't care, and I resent the fact that many parents assume we are doing nothing.

And I apologies for the spelling dig it was a very low thing to do.

theworldaccordingtome Fri 16-Nov-12 11:21:24

OldMumsy I hope your DD is doing well now and this hasn't affected her as she grew/grows up. My sister is a confident and happy 22 year old now with a good job that she loves. I hope the same can be said for your daughter (not knowing how old she is).

OldMumsy Fri 16-Nov-12 11:27:14

theworldaccordingtome good news about your sister. My DD is 21 now and at med school, she is fine and has lots of friends, plays rugby and rows for the university so all is good.

It was a horrible time though looking back, I felt so powerless to help her, anything you did or said would make it worse. For her though it was a valuable life lesson and it hasn't held her back thank goodness.

I don't know how you would cope with a long term problem though.

Fortunately the accusing girl moved on to accuse others and her credibility became nil.

Bumblequeen Fri 16-Nov-12 11:57:39

Mrs Bucket I was never physically bullied just verbally. How awful for you. So strange when bullies want to then befriend you.

I have bumped into my bullies. I say hi if they do and act cool so as not to show them anything they did affected me. They always comment on how good I now look.

I have at times pretended not to know a bully and it felt so good as they stood trying to 'make' me remember them!

PickledFanjoCat Fri 16-Nov-12 12:03:26

I disagree a caring parent of a bully or bullied child will be devastated.

On the other side of the coin there are parents who won't care if their child has been bullied or is a bully. Sad.

Doodlez Sun 18-Nov-12 12:58:36

DozyDuck - brilliant. Everything I wanted to say on this thread but didn't know where to start <applauds>

ErrorError Sun 18-Nov-12 14:00:10

I was horrendously bullied in secondary school, one boy in particular was the ringleader. I was angry at the time that I had to go through hell to justify and prove what was happening to me, whereas he seemed to shrug it off laughing and I didn't even know if his parents were bothered.

We had gone to different primary schools and someone who knew him told me that when he was little he was hit by a car, and got bullied at school for having a limp and having to wear 'special shoes'. I only felt marginally sorry for him as in my mind he was still the devil incarnate, but it did help me to understand that he was probably overcompensating from his own experience. Didn't want to be bullied again in a new school, so became a bully instead.

I met him years later by chance, he apologised for his behaviour and said he was a stupid kid. He has a young family of his own now. I told him that I appreciated the apology and that's all that needed said, and we parted ways. We're not at all friends but acknowledge each other if we pass in the street.

I really only know what goes on from the bullied side, but I do think in most cases it's true that there is some underlying issue with the bully, SN or not. Now I pity them, I feel worse for the victim, but think "what has happened to make you so angry" about the bully.

Not much practical advice here, just think it was a nice-ish story to show that bullies don't always turn out bad. Parental input/attitude in this situation is a minefield though. I was desperate not to involve my own parents, and sometimes wondered if his were too ashamed to speak up either. Could have definitely been handled better, but I don't think parents of bullies raise them that way. How the school deals with it is a massive factor regardless of how caring parents on both sides may be.

BeatTheClock Sun 18-Nov-12 14:20:46

OldMumsy One of my DDs suffered bullying by being accused of bullying when she hadn't. That was extremely distressing for her and us. It was a particularly nasty passive aggressive type of bullying that was very hard to counter. That girl was a horrible manipulating person.

Omg my dd has a 'friend' who is like this. It's the most difficult behaviour to counter. She is remarkaly clever at it and is very quick to appear to be a victim when the appalling behaviour is actually hershmm. Dd is very unsure how to deal with this. The girl is quite controlling and uses crying or saying dd has said things when she certainly hasn't as a way of getting her way and undermining dd. This is yr9 too so not infants.

miserablemoo Sun 18-Nov-12 14:28:47

I find this thread very interesting.

My happy confident 4 year old that has been going to nursery for nearly a year happily, has over night become very clingy. He wakes crying every morning. He can't eat breakfast for crying. Has to walk to nursery (previously he would happily run down) holding my hand, whilst sobbing. He keeps telling me how much he loves me and misses me but couldn't explain what is making him sad. Having to leave him upset has broke my heart. He does eventually settle down at nursery but now will stay very close to the teachers and tells me how happy he is to be home and how much he misses me.

The teacher thinks it's because one boy is being mean to him. In her own words she has said this boy has two older brothers who she thinks is mean to him and he is then doing it at nursery. He spends most of the time on a chair in time out. I do not know if the parents are aware of his behaviour but I have heard the mother mention her son has adhd I think.

My son is by nature very happy go lucky and does not know how to respond to other children being mean to him. We have told him to walk away but he tells us that this child follows him and pushes him and says mean things. He is scared to go to nursery now and I feel I am failing him by sending him.

I am so upset that my son is experiencing this at 4 years old. I would love some advise from other mum's that have been in this position on what to do?

I can move him to go to nursery in the afternoon but he does have a couple of good friends in the class he is in now. I also feel like why should I move my son when he is doing nothing wrong. Also he will more than likely meet this boy again when he starts reception and I worry it will be worse then if it is not sorted now.

Do I ask for the head teacher to get involved hoping that he would talk to this boys parents as like I said, I am unsure if they know what is going on.

This is effecting all of us. My boy is sad, unhappy and starting to be mean to his younger sibling. Me and my husband don't really know how to tackle it. Do will tell him to push this boy away? Shout at him, ignore him. He always tells the teacher but this class is very busy and my boy is one of the oldest so he is left to get on with it more whilst they concentrate on getting the younger children settled in.

I am dreading tomorrow. Any advise would really mean alot to me and my family. Thank you for reading if you got this far. Sorry to hijack the thread.

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