Many of my articles are based on personal experience or wonderings. This article is no exception.
The Voice of Experience
This article on bullying is different in two specific ways. First of all, it’s written from the vantage point of a parent who has a child that has been bullied pretty much all his life and another child who is just starting kindergarten, but has already earned the reputation as a bully (since starting day care).
The one son is mildly autistic which offers just enough bullying fodder to make life even more difficult for him.
The other son is being assessed for a learning disability which explains why it has always been difficult for him to understand how his behavior hurts other children, and for him to control his actions and words.
The only consolation is that he doesn’t do any of these behaviors with the intention of being mean or hurting someone else. Perhaps being consistent will eventually teach him self-regulation, but until then, the reality remains.
What You May Not Know About the Parents of a Bully
Secondly, this article is not about helping bullied kids deal with the bully. It is about helping victims’ parents recognize the parental reality that parents of a bully are going through — in a way that only another parent could possibly understand.
From the moment my child with the perfectly angelic face was placed in my arms, I never dreamed, in all the dreams I had for him, that he would be a bully. I don’t think any mom does.
That’s the other side of this issue. While I’m sure we can all come up with examples of parents who deny their child does anything wrong, there are a whole bunch of other parents that really do care and wish they could make things different and really don’t know what to do to make things different.
I had the privilege of meeting one of those parents when my older son was a victim of bullying last year. I went into a parent/ teacher/ student conference (which I initiated) to try to reconcile the situation expecting a gruff, rough-and-tumble, devil-may-care bully and accompanying parent.