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What the difference between a Child Bully and Bossy Adult?

What’s the difference between a child bully and a bossy adult?  Not much.  Childhood bullies often become bossy adults.  It’s a form of domination based on insecurities.

If we can understand bossy adults, maybe it’ll be easier to understand childhood bullies.

So, what builds a bossy adult?  There are a few key ingredients, some may seem contradicting:

  1. They were spoiled children who always got their way.
  2. They were neglected children who never got their way.
  3. They were not popular at all, almost meek at school.
  4. They were very popular at school, loud and outgoing.
  5.  They were all insecure growing up.  Either about their appearance, their intelligence,  their ability to be interesting, their fashion/finances, their popularity, etc.
Notice the only thing they all had/have in common is insecurities.  They also tend to have high stress levels, are the ones who hold grudges, fester and stew over things when they don’t get their own way.  It’s their way or the highway.  They know everything, even when they’re wrong.
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They are prone to being envious of others, complaining about what they don’t have, seeking control that they didn’t feel they had growing up and they’re in a constant spinning cycle of the need to be the authority on everything.  They often search out jobs which enable them to boss people around.
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So how can you prevent your children from growing up like this?  It’s quite easy, you make them accountable, unspoiled and give them chores!!!  Also give them a healthy amount of control over their lives.  Make them part of the process of how they’re raised.  Ask them what they like, don’t like, how they feel, etc.  You’re still in charge of the discipline, but they can certainly have a say in family matters.
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Don’t forget to sign up for your FREE disciplining system.  
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Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

 

My Child is the School Bully! What do I do?

It’s a horrifying realization to find out your child is a bully, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

I’ve worked with a lot of bullies and they’re usually in pain in some way.  Although, I went to elementary school with a little girl who was so sweetsie around adults but would threaten to kill any kid who beat her at a game, race, etc.   She had the nicest family and wasn’t in any pain, was just spoiled and used to getting her own way.

Let’s assume your child isn’t spoiled and go from there.  So, what do you do?

Step 1:  Acceptance.  Don’t go into denial and/or get defensive.  Just accept that your child needs a lesson in empathy.

Step 2:  The Confession.  Talk to your child about the bullying.  Don’t wriggle around the subject, ask if he/she has been mean to other children.  If they deny it then say you’re going to have to talk to the school, other parents, kids, etc.  They’ll usually fess up at this point.  They’ll also usually say they were just defending themselves which is sometimes true but not usually if they’ve been labelled the school bully.

Step 3:  Stop the Bullying.  Schools often talk about zero tolerance but that’s ridiculous as kids just get sneakier and bully behind staff’s back.  But at home you have so much more control.  Don’t bother getting them to apologize to their victims as this does little, it’s usually just empty words to kids.  Instead, attach consequences to their bullying.  Tell the school you want a report every single time your child is caught bullying.  Then you use screen time as a reward for every good day they have.

Step 4:  Forgive Them.  Do not remind your child about the bullying, just quietly deal with it by withholding screen time if necessary.  In that time, play games with them, talk to them, have fun with them, bond with them.  When kids are in trouble parents often punish them 24/7.  That is, they’re angry with them all the time.  That’s parent to child bullying.  Then the child gets worse and the parents can’t figure out why … “I’m punishing them like you told me to do!”  No, I said to hand out consequences then forgive and bond with them.  If you continually look at your child as a problem, that’s what they’ll become and they’ll stay that way.

To help you get organized with consequences, sign up for my FREE accountability system (3 Step Parenting Plan).

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

 

How to Bully Proof Kids using Role Play

The best defence against bullies is confidence and high self-esteem.  That’s what I did with my own kids but when I was mentoring other people’s kids I didn’t have the time to build them up.  I had to figure out another way to arm them against bullies.  So we used role playing.    

Why is role playing so effective?  Because kids learn best by doing.

Here’s what you do:  You set up a bullying scenario, write it out like a script with your child.  Then you take turns being the bully and victim.  Keep the bullying non-personal as even when acting things out meanness hurts.

Make it fun.  When I’d play the bully I’d say things like, “Do you use that thumb growing out of your forehead to push elevator buttons?”  Kinda embarrassing writing such ridiculous stuff here, but kids gobble that stuff up.

The victim role is one of calm indifference.  Not ignoring as that’s antagonistic.  Use indifference, then diversion.

Role play could go something like this:

Bully:  Does your whole family have green hair or is it just you?
Victim:  Yup, all green tops.  What are you doing this weekend?

Humour can work also but it has to come naturally to the child.  My son used humour but my daughter used indifference and diversion.

I had my first bullying incident when I was in Grade 2.  A much older student came up to my face and made fun of my last name.  I laughed right along and came up with an even funnier play-on-words with my name.  The bully was completely defeated and walked away.  Bullies are quick to move on when they don’t get the desired reactions:  fear, crying, etc.  

Were you ever approached by a bully?  How did you handle it?

For more information and FREE disciplining system, sign up for my Newsletter.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Bullying is a Parenting Issue, not a School Issue

 

Schools have a lot of control over bullying that occurs at school but what about when it happens at the park, the mall or online?

Parents, on the other hand, have control over what goes on everywhere, even school.  Parents of bullies have to own up and be accountable.  They have to understand that their child has low self-esteem and has no sense of accountability for how he/she affects others.

I guarantee if there are consequences for bullying it would almost cease to exist.  

If being mean to others means no TV, video games, or cell phones could you imagine how quickly kids would learn to be nice?  

I worked with bullies right in the classroom.  I sat beside them mentoring them and was such a fixture in the schools that the kids forgot I was there so I saw what was really going on.   Bullying isn’t about hurting others, it’s about making themselves feel better.  All bullies have low self-esteem.

Whenever I’d ask a kid/teen why they were mean to someone, the reply would always be the same, “Huh?”  As if they didn’t even realize they’d done something mean.  It was all about them.  They had zero empathy, compassion or even acknowledgement of what they put the victim through.

Yes it’s important to raise the bully’s self-esteem but that will happen naturally once he learns to stop being mean.  The quickest way to do this is making him accountable by imposing consequences.

Don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter for your free disciplining system which is all about accountability.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

 

How to STOP School Morning Battles

One of the most common problems parents come to me with is School Morning Battles.  It’s also one of the easiest problems to fix.  

1.  Write out a list of everything that needs to be done every school morning:  make bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, etc.
2.  Put it on the wall for everyone to see and make sure the kids follow through.   

That’s it.  Oh yeah, there is one final detail that sort of makes it all work:  INCENTIVE.

Incentive can be anything from watching TV before school to playing video games after school.

Too many privileges are treated as rights.  My kids could never have watched TV, gone on computer or anything like that if their bed wasn’t made, their dirty laundry wasn’t in the hamper, etc.  They never questioned the rules as never knew any different.

But if you are setting a new set of rules, it’s going to take a bit of time.  The challenge for you is to not cave in and turn on the TV in the morning before the list is completed, or to not nag, even be willing to let them go to school in their pj’s if necessary.

My son was running late one morning so I grabbed his uniform and said, “Let’s go”.  You’ve never seen a kid change so fast while wearing a seatbelt.  We were all laughing hysterically by the time we got to school and he was never late again.

Trust that this advice is sound which makes it easier to follow through.  It’s when you start to question yourself that you get into trouble.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with expecting kids to get ready for school on time to earn privileges.  

Have fair expectations and follow through.  Don’t expect a 7 year old to wash your car at 7:30 in the morning but he’s quite capable of putting on the clothes you laid out for him, eating his breakfast and brushing his teeth.  It’s amazing how quickly kids can move when they have incentive. 

Funny Story:  My then teenage son was laying around the house like a slug all day.  I suggested he get out and do some yard work.  He said, “I’m so tired Mom.  I honestly don’t even think my legs could hold me up at this point.”  Five minutes later he gets a call from a friend to go out and he sprang up off the couch and out the door quicker than I could blink.  Yup … incentive is amazing fuel.  

Happy Parenting,

Lisa.

More reading on incentives:  Chores & Money Management