Raising Sons-Is He Bully or Bullied?
When a parent makes the decision it’s time to get a professional opinion; when their son exhibits signs of trouble, it’s critical they be open to the feedback of the professional and keep an open mind!
Let me give an example.
Dealing with A Bully
As a parent you are very concerned, as you should be, if your son tells you he’s being bullied. During the assessment with a qualified professional, you discover your son IS the bully. Now you’re faced with a situation that you weren’t prepared for.
How would/could that happen? After all, that was not what your son had confided to you. What happens now is crucial.
Sometimes, certainly not every time, if a kid is being bullied they will power up and decide to become a protector for other kids they perceive as being bullied. They in essence become a bully themselves by taking matters into their own hands; and to be blunt that’s “way out of their pay grade!”
The message parents want to convey to their child is to report those situations to a teacher or coach, versus supporting or being “proud of them” for interfering or taking the matter in their own hands. That’s a recipe for disaster.
This isn’t to be confused with showing empathy and helping others, this is a serious situation that requires adult attention and intervention. By reporting what they’ve seen to an adult is how they can help.
When it feels it isn’t doing any good, keep reporting, keep bringing it to an adult’s attention; going up the “chain of command” if necessary. You as the parent should do the same thing on your child’s behalf. It’s your responsibility not his!
In this example the parent was unknowingly supporting their son bullying others. The parents response was, “I encourage my kids to do the right thing.” I couldn’t agree more, generally that’s an expectation of parenting. However, as children grow, and more and more circumstances are presented we must have conversations and teach boundaries. In this example, it’s out of their sons control and potentially dangerous.
A Word of Caution
As an advocate for children for the past 20+ years, there’s nothing more disturbing than dealing with a boy that’s being bullied. It can cause years of pain and destroy confidence. I’ve met parents that struggled to get the attention of school administration; they didn’t give up, they just kept trying until someone listened. The caution here is not to put the burden on your son; he’ll either get hurt or hurt someone else and either way it would be a tragedy.