How can you support your teenager if they're accused of bullying?
01-22-2017 10:37 AM - edited 01-23-2017 09:54 AM
When we used to talk about bullying behaviour we would usually talk in terms of victims and perpetrators. And that still happens a lot today. But many experts now know that this black and white way of seeing things doesn't help anyone.
I experienced this first hand when my daughter was accused of bullying by another parent. Our daughters were both 12. My instinct told me there had to be more to the story than their daughter being a victim and my daughter being a perpetrator. We were very lucky that both girls attended After School Care with a very astute and 'tuned-in' co-ordinator who was able to shed light on the specific dynamics of their friendship. much more so than their teachers were.
But during the event, including the resolution which uncovered that BOTH girls were responsible for some very poor behaviour, I was required to add to the many aspects of my daughter a facet that I was not completely comfortable with. That my daughter, in certain situations, will exert power over another in a mean spirited way. She's not a bad person, by a long shot. But she can behave badly.
Which leads me to ask if you experienced something like this? Have you had a child accused of being a 'bully' or 'the ring leader' or 'a bad influence' or something like that? And how did you deal with it?
Click here for an article that looks at bullying types of behaviour a little differently.
N.B. The ages are a little younger than teenagers but I think the findings are relevant.
Re: How can you support your teenager if they're accused of bullying?
01-23-2017 01:25 PM
I can relate to this heaps. My son was accused of bullying a smaller boy in his year. The Principal called me at work and told me my son had torn this boy's shirt and sworn at him. The whole experience was surreal. I honestly felt like two people hearing it. For example when I asked what he said to the other boy she replied "I can hardly even say the words." And then had to take a deep breath first. She told me he'd said "suck my d**k". Which is absolutely not ok. But an example of the two people is, one part of me was thinking 'lady, if that's the worse you've ever heard you need to get out more.' and the other part of me wanted to go down to his school and drag him home by his ear and wash his mouth out with soap!! Which I have never done, of course. But that's how intense the feelings were.
And the shame was so overwhelming. I was so devestated that he'd scared another kid. I honestly started wondering if my son was a psychopath or something and he would go about the world standing over little people and being exactly the kind of man I detest.
Which, is a far cry from the young man who lets his sisters put make up on him and looks after animals like they're his children. And loves holding babies and never, ever says no to a cuddle.
I'm very lucky that it was an isolated incident and nothing of the sort has happened again. I encouraged him to give this boy a special Xmas present and they're mates now. But, in retrospect, and after reading the article above, I wonder why the school never thought to present it as less black and white than they did. Because certaninly my son said it didn't go down the way they described.
I have seen bullying. It happened to my eldest. It's different. It's drawn out, and persistent, and insidious. And it seems to be aimed at making the person feel as bad as possible. And I don't think I'll ever understand why ANYONE does it, adults included. It's clearly to do with a massive deficit on the side of the bully.