Bullying LONG/XP

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Joined: 07/21/02
Posts: 1006
Bullying LONG/XP

Do you step in when you see your kid being bullied? And not physically hurt type bullied, just left out or treated meanly?

So I am having this major dilemma. Our very best friends that we have known forever--before any of us had any kids--have 3 kids, a 6 yo girl, 3 yo boy and 1 yo boy. The 6 yo and 3 yo are both a year older than Kaitlyn and weston, almost to the day. So the girl will be 7 oct 12th and kaitlyn will be 6 on the 13th. same with her boy and weston (mine turning 3, theirs 4 at the end of july/beg of aug).

So when we first had kids and joseph and their daughter emma were toddlers they played really well. then kaitlyn got old enough to play with them, and the girls were best little friends, as they started moving into more "boy" and "girl" interests. So the girls would dress up, dolls, etc. The last little while, every time we get together, emma is just mean to kaitlyn. Her mom has admitted that she does mean things to her brother because she loves the reaction he gives. Which kaitlyn does overreact a bit, though she is getting better now. Joseph still plays more on his own when we get together with them, preferring boy stuff, but still emma is mean.

So last night we went to their house for father's day dinner. There was another family there as well, with a just turned 4 yo girl and a baby. I thought for sure maybe emma would keep the 4 yo out of their play--thinking that usually the youngest in a group is left out. NOPE! One example, Weston was riding a trike on their deck, kaitlyn asked for a turn, so emma RUNS up and lines up behind weston on the bike and tells kaitlyn "no, you have to stand in line", so kaitlyn gets in line behind emma, and the 4 yo got in line behind kaityn. emma took a turn, then after her turn was over, she blocked kaitlyn from getting on the trike and said it was this other girls turn. Kaitlyn was upset, but didn't tantrum or yell or anything, handled it really well considering, and then took a turn after the other girl. Same thing happened with a ball, kaitlyn asked if she could use a ball she was using, she told her no, then went over to joseph and said "do you want to use this ball?", when he said no, she kept it herself. Over and over, I saw this happening, but I felt like maybe kaitlyn needed to know how to deal with kids doing this sort of thing? We did talk about it on the way home and complimented her for how she handled it (we had talked before that emma's behavior was to get a reaction out of kaitlyn, so if she didn't give that to her, then she should eventually stop). During this convo on the way home, Joseph said "yeah, emma gave me 4 pennies and said 'give one to everyone in your family...EXCEPT Kaitlyn'" GRRRR..... Dunno what she had against kaitlyn right now.

Weston also was getting a bit bullied by the brother--he would have a toy, the other kid would try pulling it out of his hand, and cause weston to squeal. I, seeing how it started, would say "weston was playing with that and doesn't want you to take it away", to which he immediately took a pillow and began pushing weston to the ground with it. Later weston was sitting on the bed. the kid came up behind him and smacked him with a shirt or jacket that was on the bed. He didn't know I was in the doorway watching. I said "weston doesn't like to be hit" so the big sister pipes up--Weston was hitting him first! Um, NO I saw what happened.

We just love our friends and think they are wonderful and sweet--but lately their kids are making me crazy! I think its mostly what my friend said, her daughter likes the reaction--but now her brother is picking up on it. Don't know what to do besides just keep close watch on the kids when they are together, but our friends really notice their kids are doing these things. And their kids are classified as "shy"--when they get in a group, especially a larger group, they are very quiet and reserved, and hardly say a word. So for that reason too, I think they just are not picking up on what is happening. *sigh*

Sorry, more of a vent than anything because I really don't know if I'll step in, and unless it gets really bad, I won't say anything to my friend about it.

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

I think you handled everything perfectly. I think you need to intervene with 3 and 4 year olds. When the neighbor boy, who was 4 or 5 at the time, hit my kids, I told him, "You will not be allowed to come here and play if you are going to be hitting my kids." Then I told him to go tell his Dad what he did. If he had done it again, I would have gone and told his dad myself. I think it's also a good idea to let your daughter try and work things out. Talking to her afterward was a very good idea. I had a similar situation with my son being left out by other boys in the neighborhood. I let him deal with it, and he stood up for himself and told them that they were being unfair. I told him later how proud I was of him. The only thing you might try in addition to what you've been doing is to talk to your friends about what you observed (e.g. tell them about the four pennies). If they are truly not seeing these behaviors, they need to be told. I'm guessing they at least have an idea, and maybe even the school has talked to them about her behavior.

ETA: (They might be in denial because they are embarrassed or ashamed, and maybe afraid you might think they are bad parents if they admitted that she is doing these things.)

ashamom27's picture
Joined: 07/06/06
Posts: 1010

Grrrr!! the behavior that Emma displayed always gets me so frustrated! I think you had handled it very well, I think I wouldn't be as calm as you though. I think I would have said something like : " No, it is Kaitlyn's turn now. I am keeping track!" But then again, your DD wouldn't learn how to handle the situation herself...
It always gets me really angry fast b/c I was bullied like that as a child by my 2 cousins that were almost my age and we all lived on one street. My mom never really noticed, or never addressed it though. It was great that you praised your DD and validated her feelings!

It has happened to my kids in almost identical setting! I have this neighbor across the street who has 2 girls. Those girls are 2 little Emmas. I really like my friend, but I don't like how she lets her kids be mean or always win.
One time we went camping, just the moms and the kids. Our now 5 year olds were on the swings and whichever swing my DD picked, Kelly ( the neighbor's DD) demanded to have. The mom was not within earshot, but Kelly was getting so upset that I told my DD : " Chloe, come sit on this swing, if Kelly wants that swing so badly, she can have it. This new one is way better anyway" ( I know it was passive aggressive, but I just couldn't stand the little girl trying to bully the swing from my daughter by threatening to scream for her mom). The mom always thinks her kids are total angels though, even if she witnesses bad behavior. She will say : "Oh, they are tired" or " They didn't eat well today" etc...
If the kids play any game, her kids better be the winners or they scream and throw total tantrums even at 9 years old! She had to pull her oldest out of school ( the 9 y-o) b/c she couldn't handle being just one of many kids, she hated waiting in line or being told what to do by the teacher... They suggested ODD, but I believe it's how the mom is always so permissive. I have cooled down the relationship with her now b/c my kids really don't want to be bullied by hers.
Anyway, not to hijack, just letting you know that it is hard and tricky when it comes to these situations. I think as long as your DD knows that you don't like Emma's behavior either, she will get stronger and will learn how to handle her. Also, girls tend to be like that more often than boys and this will prepare her for the future too. Unfortunately.

turtnjay's picture
Joined: 02/24/09
Posts: 2095

So NOT ok!!!! Those patents really need to step up and start discipling the children. Those behaviors are just going to get worse and I can guarantee the brother and sister treat each other like that when no other kids are around.

I think you handeled it well. I would continue to watch like a hawk and stop it when I see it. I would also get my friend to watch the kids play so she can really 'SEE' it. If she still hides from it you may have to cut playdates with them. It's hard on children and yes, I think they know and understand exactly what's going on.

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

I had a friend with which we had similar problems. Her boys were about 18mo apart, and my son was in the middle of them, and they were mischievous and mean to my son. They were aggressive and would sometimes hit him, and the mom's response was to tell ds to hit her boys back. Tuck is a passive little boy, just not aggressive (well sometimes with his sister lol), and would just stare at her. I didn't like it either, and then when they were coming over and wrecking things in my house and breaking my kids toys, we just started inviting them over less and less. It didn't help that she is a relative of sorts, by marriage. They have since moved out of state, and her boys have thankfully matured and are not like that anymore (still see them a few times a year at family functions), but I always watched them closely and had no problems stepping in if I did not like what I saw, I figure it takes a village, and if the mom is not going to step in, I will. Smile

But I think you are doing a great job of teaching Kaitlyn how to handle it as well. My dd is fairly shy and passive as well, and she has a friend at school that she used to love to play with, but the little girl is aggressive and sometimes mean, like telling Brilee that they should kick another little girl's casted arm. Thankfully Brilee knows better than that, and would never do it, but Brilee and I had to talk about how to handle it when her friend does things that are not okay. I have taught Brilee to tell her, "_____, I do not want to play with you when you are mean, maybe we can play tomorrow." And even though Brilee will not play with her, the little girl still follows her around. But it has taken Brilee until 2nd grade to stand up for herself a bit more. Its awful watching children be mean to your child, but unfortunately it will happen other times when we cannot be there, so teaching her how to deal with it when it happens is a very good thing. Good luck Holly!

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

Asha, I heard it put once that ODD is the medical diagnosis for "bad parenting." In fact, I heard that from a parent of a kid who has the diagnosis, and she agreed with it. She was basically a single, working mom and let her daughter get away with too much because she was just too strained. Her husband was in charge of the daughter when she was at work but never did any real hands-on parenting. Most of the time, ODD comes from parents who don't set clear boundaries for their children and don't provide discipline or reinforce positive behaviors. (Or sometimes they reinforce both positive and negative behaviors, and the kids have a hard time telling the difference.)

ashamom27's picture
Joined: 07/06/06
Posts: 1010

"2sonsplus1" wrote:

Asha, I heard it put once that ODD is the medical diagnosis for "bad parenting." In fact, I heard that from a parent of a kid who has the diagnosis, and she agreed with it. She was basically a single, working mom and let her daughter get away with too much because she was just too strained. Her husband was in charge of the daughter when she was at work but never did any real hands-on parenting. Most of the time, ODD comes from parents who don't set clear boundaries for their children and don't provide discipline or reinforce positive behaviors. (Or sometimes they reinforce both positive and negative behaviors, and the kids have a hard time telling the difference.)

I really suspected that, but wondered if I was wrong, that maybe there was some chemical imbalance causing it. But I think parents who don't have consistent discipline in their house, are setting their kids for a struggle trying to navigate through the rights and wrongs in their life.

Joined: 07/21/02
Posts: 1006

What is ODD? I often think that many of the "disabilities" kids get labeled with are bad parenting or something in their environment. Not that I do not believe that the disabilities are real, but that there are not THAT many children with that disability! If you let your kid watch tv for 4-5 hours every day after school, feed them processed food, koolaid, and sugar cereals and do not follow through with things you have asked them to do, they might just get diagnosed with ADHD! Just a thought! Smile (This is coming from personal family experience from how I have seen a particular child raised. Of course he can't sit still or pay attention, he's pumped full of sugar and preservatives and entertained for hours on end by a flashing box!)

Thanks for you thoughts! We have cut some contact with our friends, mostly because as the kids get bigger and have school, there is less free time. But neither of us have family around and we are like each other's family. So we do still get together, mostly for a weekend dinner about once a month. We do birthdays together often--like small family party. They are coming for a july 4th pizza party with our backyard pizza oven, etc. Funny, because we are such good friends, she basically planned it and invited themselves! LOL Last time we got together, she said "so, um my sister in law and her family will be in town for the 4th--we'd love for you to meet them and we were hoping to get together. Can we invite ourselves for pizza?" Of course we are happy to have them, but I hope it goes better. And I will most definitely be vigilant in watching what happens. And if I see this stuff continuing, I'll see how I can point it out to her. She is so sweet, that I know she will take care of it. I just don't want her to think I'm judging her.

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

I hope it does go better with you. If she is as sweet as you say, maybe she just needs you to sit with her and watch the kids play. Do you have outdoor furniture where you could sit and have coffee after dinner and watch the kids playing together in the yard?

ODD is "Oppositional Defiant Disorder." It is not considered a disability but is a mental health diagnosis. My son Patrick has ADHD, by the way, and I'm pretty sure he did not get it from his environment, or at least not exclusively. He has some sensory and perceptual issues as well, and I'm not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg, so to speak.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"ashamom27" wrote:

. But I think parents who don't have consistent discipline in their house, are setting their kids for a struggle trying to navigate through the rights and wrongs in their life.

I totally agree with this. I went on an end of school field trip with my son's kindergarten class today. Some of those kids :eek: wow! The parents really need to learn this. We try really hard to be consistent with Robbie, with expectations, bed times and discipline. Was talking with some of the other moms are we are proud to be "mean" to our kids. Having rules and consequences... boy we are mean!

Joined: 07/21/02
Posts: 1006

"2sonsplus1" wrote:

I hope it does go better with you. If she is as sweet as you say, maybe she just needs you to sit with her and watch the kids play. Do you have outdoor furniture where you could sit and have coffee after dinner and watch the kids playing together in the yard?

ODD is "Oppositional Defiant Disorder." It is not considered a disability but is a mental health diagnosis. My son Patrick has ADHD, by the way, and I'm pretty sure he did not get it from his environment, or at least not exclusively. He has some sensory and perceptual issues as well, and I'm not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg, so to speak.

I did not mean to say ADHD is not a real disorder--or ONLY from environment. Sorry if it sounded that way--please don't think I meant everyone. But I think it is is often an excuse for poor parenting choices, or becomes a problem as a result of environment/parenting. My sister is one of those I am thinking of. When her oldest was 18 months, they put him in a toddler bed because he climbed out of the crib. Not a bad choice by itself, but then he wouldn't stay in bed. So, they didn't force the issue, just would let him stay up until 11, 12, 1, even 2 am! He would usually fall asleep "wherever" because they wouldn't make him just go to bed. When he was about 7, she said he was sleeping about 7 hours a night--from midnight until 7 am. I told her he really needed more sleep than that, and she said, but he "doesn't fall asleep until we do, and then i get him up for school". She also said he wouldn't stay in bed. I suggested a warning of something he loves taken away "no tv" or something if he gets out again, and if he does it, follow through! I asked the next day...yes he got out of bed. Did you warn? Yes. did he do it again? yes. Did he have no tv today? "Well, not very much....just a little bit after school." Hmm....you realize you just let him know that punishments mean squat?

He has also been pumped full of sugar--they drink nothing but koolaid and soda--caffienated too. They came for a long weekend to stay with us a few years back, and brought a full backpack full of sodas. The kid had a liter soda to drink every day, sometimes 2--of mountain dew. He refused to drink water at our mealtimes saying "I hate water".

And most food is processed--a LOT of mcD's (thats where my bil works maintenance), kraft mac n cheese, hamburger helper, fish sticks, etc.

I just really think in HIS case, that his environment (sleep and food) and parenting really contributed to his ADHD.

Both her kids have actually been in foster care for the last 2 years and I guess his ADHD has significantly improved, as has his sleeping and eating, though he is still classified as having eating and sleeping disorders. But in his case, he was 9 before he was removed from my sister and bil. So a lot of upbringing/learning had already taken place. They also thought he was learning disabled because he couldn't read past Kindergarten level in 4th grade--he was put in foster care and jumped 4 grade reading levels in 7 months because they limited TV and worked with him on homework.

Sorry for the long novel--I just wanted to explain myself. I really didn't mean it the way it sounded.

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

wow Holly. I feel so so bad for your nephew. I am glad he is getting some boundaries and help! I have a brother that was labeled ADHD as a kid, and I think he did have some real problems there, but they were definitely perpetuated by the home environment. Its hard to see kids struggling. Will your sister and her husband be able to get their kids back? Or is it better that they don't?

Joined: 07/21/02
Posts: 1006

They are working on it and might actually get them back this summer. The turning point when they were taken was my sisters severe PPD so the boy was 9 but the baby girl was 2 months. They have taken many classes and counseling still maybe need more, but she is really trying lately and seems to have matured a lot. I hope what happens is for the best. We considered fostering the kids bit didn't--a lot of reasons came into play.

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Well, I am glad to hear that things are going better, and hopefully they can keep it together for their kids, whether their kids are living with them or not.

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

Wow, Holly, I'm glad they're getting help. I wish that there were parenting classes that anybody could take without having some kind of stigma on them. Many parents that I know of think that their job as the parent is to please their children. I think some even have the idea that discipline is mean, when in reality, what children crave most (besides love and attention) is boundaries.

ashamom27's picture
Joined: 07/06/06
Posts: 1010

"2sonsplus1" wrote:

Many parents that I know of think that their job as the parent is to please their children. I think some even have the idea that discipline is mean, when in reality, what children crave most (besides love and attention) is boundaries.

That is the golden truth! So many parents sneer at rules and discipline in front of their kids. They think it's "old fashioned" I actually saw a mom roll her eyes about some rule that a first grade teacher had! Her DD is the one that is unable to cope. The funny thing is ( or the sad thing) that her mom made sure that her DD had all the fun all the time, from the time this girl was little, that now that she is older, she is constantly disappointed with anything she does or experiences- since her mom can't really control everything like she did when her daughter was little. The girl actually said after a vacation to a waterpark:" I always get my hopes up, but something always ruins the fun for me". She was talking about waiting in line.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Asha – I’m with you. I feel that Skyler is in that boat. He expects everything to be catered to him, that everything should be entertaining and fun, that everything should be what he wants. Part of that is being a 12yo boy, but a lot more than I think either of his biological parents want to admit, comes from the fact that he gets what he wants most of the time – especially if he whines, yells, and debates it. UGH!

And then DH wonders why he gets so frustrated dealing with Skyler! I want to shake DH and say “Can’t you see? It’s because you’ve trained him to!”

Funny thing is, DH is right on the consequences with Ivy whining and not listening at 2yo… yet Skyler at 12 can whine and debate every_single_time? UGH!!!

I think there is a lot to be said for discipline, but at the same time there’s a lot to be said for not having rules, and letting the kids learn boundaries for themselves through experience. The trick is getting the balance right. I think that if things are too rule-oriented, it can make a child a lazy thinker – more robot-like and not thinking of consequences. Whereas if you let kids figure things out, that they get to be able to judge for themselves. However, (and I am by no means an expert), it depends on the kid. This is where I think it can be particularly tough in large families. Some kids need more guidance and rules in certain areas than others, and you need the kids to understand that differently does not mean unfairly…

Some kids do great with very few rules (our friends have basically done this – they’ve never made their kids go to school even unless they wanted to), and they have 2 fantastic kids. On the other hand, I don’t think this works for everyone.

ashamom27's picture
Joined: 07/06/06
Posts: 1010

"sarahsunshine" wrote:

Funny thing is, DH is right on the consequences with Ivy whining and not listening at 2yo… yet Skyler at 12 can whine and debate every_single_time? UGH!!!

That must be frustrating but like you said, it made Skyler a harder kid to deal with, so if DH sticks to discipline with Ivy, it will benefit her in the long run. As long as it's a loving kind of discipline.

I think there is a lot to be said for discipline, but at the same time there’s a lot to be said for not having rules, and letting the kids learn boundaries for themselves through experience. The trick is getting the balance right. I think that if things are too rule-oriented, it can make a child a lazy thinker – more robot-like and not thinking of consequences. Whereas if you let kids figure things out, that they get to be able to judge for themselves

Yes, this lets them experience more situations in life that they learn from. Like giving them their own pocket money to spend at a gift store on anything they want...then they buy this useless gimmick that they regret upon opening the package...

Tell us more about that family!

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

he gets what he wants most of the time – especially if he whines, yells, and debates it

Because he had a very rough start in life with medical issues, Skyler's parents tended to focus on spoiling him. Besides, he was very cute and they were delighted he was alive and with them! Then when the divorce came, there were guilt and even some forms of competition, so he got even more than he anticipated in terms of travel, parties and gifts...and little guidance on good eating habits, whining, tantrums, manners, etc.

Much of this has improved greatly in the past 5 years! (I'm not saying there isn't room for more improvement though.) But I have been surprised that his Dad hasn't seen his ploys and helped work on them to guide him in the future. Unfortunately I believe his parents still feel that he is special and different and cannot be like others, that at some level he is not normal and should be catered to.

I think that Skyler is VERY fortunate to have younger siblings whom he adores. They give him a second chance to learn about manners and behavior, selfishness and greed, and to develop manual dexterity with puzzles and drawing that otherwise would seem "babyish" if he were not the teacher and helper for the younger ones.

He can be a great kid but is a little slower at being observant than others because of his medical past and because he is doted upon by his parents. I think his new school in the Fall may be a great help. With more physical exercise, new friends, and some independence I expect we'll see some changes. Of course 13-16 may be very difficult years for him, but he WILL make it through! There may be many girls phoning! Wink

Growing up is harder work for some than others.

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