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How do I deal with my son bullying other children

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Maisie

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I am so sad to be writing this. I can''t believe that my son is bullying another boy in his class.

Around a month ago I was called into the school to talk about an incident with my 10 yr old son. He had attacked another child and kicked him between the legs so hard that the child was bruised and had to stay off school. My son had formed a club where he and other boys would go around fighting with other children in the playground.

My son Sam lied to me about the club and tried to deflect the blame onto the other boy. We punished him by grounding him for a month. He wasn''t allowed to play on the play station or with his collecter cards etc. I talked the whole thing through with him to find out why he was behaving this way. He said he didn''t know. I told him that he can talk to me about anything and I love him and want to help.

He behaved very well at school till the months grounding was up. On the very next day he attacked the boy again in the playground. One of the other parents had to stop him and two other boys from hitting the boy. I got a letter today... 3 days after the incident. Sam had not mentioned anything about being in trouble at school.

So here we are now, wondering what to do. Where we have gone wrong. He is a lovely happy funny little boy. He has been bullied before a few years ago and he knows how it feels. We have been wracking our brains to try and work out whats going on with him.

The only thing that I can think of is that his real dad has stopped seeing him. He lives an hour away from us yet its too much time or trouble to drive up and see them. He said its easier for him to see them during school holidays... which he also doesn''t do. This has been going on almost a year now. His new wife isn''t very nice and I think she is a bit controlling. I couldn''t imagine not seeing my children. I would do anything I needed to.

If Sam is reacting to this thing with his Dad then I don''t think its obvious to him. Maybe its subconcious thing.

My husband Gary and I love the kids and do everything for them. In an ideal world we would much rather my ex would let Gary adopt them and let us be a family. But I know the kids need a relationship with their Dad. I just wish he would make more of an effort. It does hurt the kids to be rejected like this.

But would something like that cause my son to become a bully?

I would appreciate any advice anyone can offer me. I am so worried just now.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Masie, I''m so sorry you''re dealing with this. I don''t have children and I''m not a child psychologist so I can''t really give you advice. Have you considered taking your son to talk to a psychologist? It sounds like he''s having some personal issues and he might not totally understand where they''re coming from or be able to verbalize his feelings to you (as your his mom and he''s afraid of punishment).
 

lyra

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I don't know much about this, but given the circumstances it would be reasonable to assume that your son has some unresolved anger issues about his biological dad. Perhaps there is some family or individual counselling you could try. Perhaps something dealing with anger management? It might be a place to start. Take care.

ETA: maybe enrolling him in a class like martial arts would be a good idea. Something that would be a stress reliever, physical and would teach some self control. It may seem counterintuitive, but it actually might be good for him. Or other sports?
 

Lauren8211

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Like the others, I''m not a child psychologist or trained in this area at all, but I have lived it.

My dad left us when my brother and I were young. We each took it out on ourselves in different ways. My brother definitely acted out as a child, and became self-destructive and extremely angry as a teenager. These things effect kids, and they honestly don''t even know why. I didn''t realize how much I was affected until I was in my 20s. My brother, at 31, is just starting therapy to deal with our dad leaving us.

The best advice that I can give is to get him help. Divorce effects kids. Even the most amicable divorces effect kids, whether they or you realize it or not.

Your love and support help more than you can imagine, but he obviously has some other things to work on, and I think talking to someone could help him significantly.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Yes, that would make him a bully. He possibly feels if that he starts getting in trouble at school, that his dad will be called and come and visit and talk to him. If the dad doesn''t want to drive to visit his son, then you should take the initiative and drive your son to see the dad.

I would also take him in for counseling.
 

Irishgrrrl

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Aw, Mais . . . I''m so sorry. I can imagine how upset you must be about all of this!


I don''t have any human kids (only the four-legged variety), so I probably won''t be much help. I just wanted to ditto everyone else''s advice to get him into counseling. The counselor might be able to get to the bottom of this. Sam can only tell you what he knows, and it sounds like he doesn''t know WHY he''s doing this. Good luck, and keep us posted! ((((HUGS))))
 

Aloros

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Get him into counseling. We were having similar problems with my stepson-to-be a while back - just purposeful misbehaving to the extreme. His bio-mom is not much in his life (her choices, not much we can do about it). I think talking to a counselor really helped.

And it may sound bad, but consistency is important. His bio-dad needs to figure out when and how often he will be seeing his son, and stick to it. If he is not going to be there at all, then he needs to own up to that. The in and out of a child''s life is so disruptive, as are the false promises.
 

Steel

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((hugs))

I am sorry Maisie. Like IrishGrrl I can''t help you here but I do think the other posters have great advice.

Good luck.

P.S. Sorry to be over protective, but I would remove the names from your post - just in case, you never know who is lurking.

Afterthought: If the child your son bullied (and his parents) agree, is there any chance you could arrange for both children to meet after school in a fun environment (supervised, of course). If he sees the other boy as a real person he might regret his actions. Just a thought.
 

Maisie

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Thank you everyone. I really appreciate the advice.

Sams Dad just doesn''t want to see him, or his sister. He wouldn''t let me drive them down to his house. I have offered so many times. He just says he is busy or has plans that he can''t change. I honestly don''t think they are a priority in his life. He complained to the Child Support Agency a little while back that he can''t afford the support payments for the children. I argued that he earns a lot more than he did 5 years ago when he was first assessed for payments. I also said I can''t see how he can''t afford the payments considering his wife is working too. He asked for his travel costs to be taken into consideration. He tried to tell them that he sees the children every week!!


I asked the CSA to re-assess his payments based on his income now and his payments ended up increasing by £90 a month. He was furious with me. He threatened to stop payments. He is in the Army and they wouldn''t cancel the direct payment from his wages so I am still being paid. Its like everything is a battle with him. He just wants his money and nothing to do with the children.

It seems that no matter what he does wrong the kids still think he is great. I hide a lot of what happens from them. They don''t need to know all the bad stuff. That wouldn''t be fair on them.

Its not so easy for us to see a psychologist in this country. Its not something we can just ask for. If anything he might be referred to a counsellor but that will take a few months. There are usually big waiting lists.

I will do anything I can to help him. We are committed as a family to do whatever we need to while giving him love and support.

Thank you for listening to me. I really appreciate it.
 

Steel

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I know all about the stupid wait-lists
.

Go to your GP and get a referral; get the ball rolling and an appointment will come up when it comes up.

The sooner you go the sooner he will be seen.
 

Steel

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I am sorry to be posting this because I saw it on Super nanny but here goes...

She set up a suggestion box in the house, where the kids could write to you or your husband (or his bio dad) expressing his feelings or saying anything he wants to say but can''t or won''t say to you directly. You open the box at the end of the day and give him an opportunity to talk to you if he wants to.

You can also post in the box if something come up during the day so you can bring it up later with him.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Some schools have child psychologists/counselors on staff. I think anything would be better than nothing at this point...
 

Maisie

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Thanks for your suggestions Steel. I think the box is a great idea. I am going to give it a try!

Hudson, my son is in a first school. They don''t have any kind of counselling service there. I wish they did. It would make things quicker. I had another thought. In the last few months my family cut me off too. My sister and my mother over me reporting a child abuser to the police. I think that would have had an effect on my son too. What a mess.
 

swingirl

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http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/adult/indexAdult.asp?Area=childrenwhobully

Here is a website with a lot of downloadable information and pdf files about bullying and what to do about it. What you'll find is that the reasons kids bully is complicated, some ids bully to feel stronger and some kids bully to prevent themselves from being bullied. So it would be impossible for a 10 year old to know themselves well enough to be able to tell you why. But there are strategies to help him change the behavior.

I wish you luck in getting your son help. It sounds like the relationship with his father is hopeless and probably not a good one to pursue. A kid will pick up on not being wanted. His best role models are you and your husband and you guys are doing great!
 

Maisie

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I looked at that website Swingirl. Its really strange but my son doesn''t fit any of the typical criteria for bullies. I am really hoping that this is going to be the end of the bullying. I am really taking this seriously and hope he will go back to being the lovely boy he was before this started.
 

akmiss

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A Lot of times, bullying stems from low self-esteem/self-worth issues. My ten year old stepson is a bully and a lot of his behavior echoed your sons. We have tried many things including counseling with little help. The counseling mainly focused on parenting and behavior modification. We are now trying to get him involved in community organizations and volunteering. Hopefully helping others will make him feel better about himself and in turn stop the bullying behavior. It is scary because our three year old is beginning to copy his older brother''s behavior. Good luck and let me know what you find out.
 

swingirl

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Date: 3/6/2009 2:05:37 PM
Author: Maisie
I looked at that website Swingirl. Its really strange but my son doesn''t fit any of the typical criteria for bullies. I am really hoping that this is going to be the end of the bullying. I am really taking this seriously and hope he will go back to being the lovely boy he was before this started.
Did you click on the Tips and Resources link? That''s where they have pdf files with tips for parents. There are a lot of things that don''t work and in case your school doesn''t know what to do or does the wrong thing, you might want to be prepared with some information. A few incidents don''t necessarily indicate that it will grow into a worse problem but you are wise to stay on top of it.

Just to let you know my darling son put his 6 year old hands around a little girl''s neck because she wouldn''t play with him. It was an isolated incident and he''s a fine young man today. Kids get out of control sometimes and misbehave. Luckily your son''s behavior has been brought to your attention early.
 

strmrdr

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This sometimes works if it is an anger issue.
Get him a punching bag and gloves and give him an outlet for his anger.
Or sign him up to gym that has one.
I recommend a heavy bag if you have a place to hang it.
If not a speed bag can work.

Then explain that the bag is the only acceptable outlet other than talking.
If he starts using it and you notice that on a particular day he uses it more than normal then you know it is a day to approach him and ask what is going on.
But don't nag him if he doesn't want to talk.
Eventually he will open up.
 

JulieN

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I'm surprised he wasn't expelled.

I think it would be helpful to see a psychologist for some talk therapy.
 

Deelight

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Maisie I have no advice I just wanted to say I am sorry that you are going through this and all the other issues
it is such a tough situation to deal with.
 

Skippy123

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Maisie, I am so sorry; I will keep you and your family in my prayers. huge hugs ((())))
 

bee*

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I''m really sorry to hear that Maisie. Sending hugs.
 

Ellen

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Date: 3/6/2009 7:30:28 PM
Author: strmrdr
This sometimes works if it is an anger issue.
Get him a punching bag and gloves and give him an outlet for his anger.
Or sign him up to gym that has one.
I recommend a heavy bag if you have a place to hang it.
If not a speed bag can work.

Then explain that the bag is the only acceptable outlet other than talking.
If he starts using it and you notice that on a particular day he uses it more than normal then you know it is a day to approach him and ask what is going on.
But don''t nag him if he doesn''t want to talk.
Eventually he will open up.
This is a great suggestion. We had one for our boys. We didn''t initially by it for venting, but they all ended up using it for that on occasion. And I also agree not to push him on talking. Boys talk on their own time/terms, not their mothers, no matter how much we are wanting to help. (which can be incredibly frustrating!)


Although I never had this problem with my guys, my gut instinct is that he is hurting. He may possibly feel unloved/"less than". As others have suggested and I have always felt, kids (and big people too) bully to make themselves feel better/bigger.

If it were my child, I think I might try explaining that to him, and let him know that if that is how he feels and that is what he is trying to do, it will actually work in the opposite. That kids (and adults) look up to those that treat people well, not those who bully.

I feel for ya Maise, and for him too.
 

Maisie

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I don''t think he deserves to be expelled. I think that wouldn''t help him at all. He needs support and we are working with the school to make sure he knows what he did was wrong and it cannot be allowed to go on. He understands that. I have warned him that he may have to change schools if his behaviour doesn''t change though. I feel bad for the boy that he was picking on. Nobody should have to go through that.

I asked him why he does it. He said he doesn''t know. He did say that one of the other boys who was bullying with him used to hit him. Maybe he thinks he has to be part of the bad crowd to stop himself being victimised too? He was very subdued when we were talking.

My husband and I show him love. I think he wants it from his real dad who just isn''t interested. Why is the absent parent always the good guy? Probably because on the few occasions he does see the children he takes them exciting places.
 

JulieN

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Maisie, sorry if I came off as harsh! I certainly didn't mean that; expulsion doesn't help your son get better. It's just the standard action in the schools I went to as a child: you fight, you get expelled, and that's it. I mean, how is the little kid that he bullied ever going to feel safe with your son at the same school?

The absent parent isn't the good guy. I'm sure you and your husband are good parents. It's just that being denied something...makes it bigger. You know? Like, a girl who is sprung for an old ex who never really treated her that well to begin with, but now he ignores her and won't take her calls, and she's as loyal to him as ever/
 

MichelleCarmen

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Maisie,

Does you husband and your son go out and do fun guy things together, just the two of them? Would that help any? Just the guys, where Gary is the male role model, but at the same time, providing a bit of that excitement your son craves. Going and doing something like go-cart racing, where they hang out and disipline is abandoned for the day.

Also, as Strm mentioned, an activity where your son can release his anger will help him! I think everyone needs something like that. Stress release. Maybe contact other moms and find a class that kids from the school participate in, so that your son can meet new friends he can socialize with???
 

Maisie

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Date: 3/7/2009 6:18:58 PM
Author: JulieN
Maisie, sorry if I came off as harsh! I certainly didn''t mean that; expulsion doesn''t help your son get better. It''s just the standard action in the schools I went to as a child: you fight, you get expelled, and that''s it. I mean, how is the little kid that he bullied ever going to feel safe with your son at the same school?

The absent parent isn''t the good guy. I''m sure you and your husband are good parents. It''s just that being denied something...makes it bigger. You know? Like, a girl who is sprung for an old ex who never really treated her that well to begin with, but now he ignores her and won''t take her calls, and she''s as loyal to him as ever/
I don''t think you were being harsh. I know you are trying to help and I appreciate it. I know how it used to be. In my school as a child expulsion was quite quick in situations like this.

Its so hard to class my child as a bully. If you could see him at home. Its like he is a different child. I was literally speechless when I found out he was bullying. I would never have seen this coming. He is a bright popular child. He has a great sense of humour and he is extremely loving towards me. I am saddened and confused. I want to make him stop but I know its going to takek more than me just wanting it.
 

Maisie

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Date: 3/7/2009 6:31:09 PM
Author: MC
Maisie,

Does you husband and your son go out and do fun guy things together, just the two of them? Would that help any? Just the guys, where Gary is the male role model, but at the same time, providing a bit of that excitement your son craves. Going and doing something like go-cart racing, where they hang out and disipline is abandoned for the day.

Also, as Strm mentioned, an activity where your son can release his anger will help him! I think everyone needs something like that. Stress release. Maybe contact other moms and find a class that kids from the school participate in, so that your son can meet new friends he can socialize with???
I think thats a great idea. Gary has been working long hours lately but he starts a new job in a few weeks. I think it would be great for them to go out just the two of them. I will mention it to Gary and get him to set something up. Thank you.
 

rainydaze

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Maisie, first i want to say that i am sorry you are faced with this, and kudos to you for the way you and your husband are handling it. your son is fortunate to have such a dedicated, involved and loving mom!

i have a young son, and a woman who i respect offered me the following advice (her son is in his early 20s and appears to be a wonderful young man): boys tend to talk and open up when they are doing something with you vs. when you sit them down and ask them directly to talk. it''s kind of the ''men are from mars, women are from venus'' thing. she said she couldn''t get her son to talk about school or his day or anything on the ride home or at the dinner table or if she made a point to sit at the table and chat. he clammed up and looked away if she asked him questions, no matter how benign they were. then, quite by accident, she discovered he wouldn''t STOP talking when they shot hoops together. she said after that, it never failed. if she thought something was going on with him, she looked for an activity to do together such as basketball, golf, preparing a meal, etc. and the flood gates opened. so, i thought i would share her insight with you in case it helps you with your son.

also, and i am not a psychologist nor do i have first-hand experience with this, but i agree that it could be hurt and/or anger... and a sense of powerlessness over that which is hurting him and causing his anger (his biological father certainly sounds to me like hitting the nail on the head). he has no control over the situation/person that is causing him great pain, and possibly he is exercising power/pain over someone else that is weaker than him (i.e. reinacting the scenario he finds himself in, someone with power over him hurting him). i think storm''s suggestion sounds great. to elaborate on this, he is also still a child and is still learning how to deal appropriately with the bad stuff life sometimes dishes out.... he has chosen an inappropriate outlet for this pain/anger himself, so i think that teaching him alternative, appropriate outlets for that pain/anger could really help him out.

best wishes to you, and strength too!
 

chrono

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Maisie,
I''m so sorry...I have no experience with this issue and thus feel unqualified to comment or offer any advice. I just want to offer my support and hugs to your family though this difficult times.
 
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