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Do you think some parents are just completely oblivious to the fact that their kid is a bully?

This mom in our playgroup gushes about her little boy like he's the sweetest boy ever. He's two and a half. But there have been incidents when her "sweet" kid has either bitten, knocked down, or otherwise terrorized other kids in the group. One time, I witnessed her son hitting a random kid in the playground (because he wanted to take the other kid's tricycle), and after the other mom confronted her about it, I was shocked that she actually said to me that maybe the other kid wouldn't be so sensitive if his mom didn't baby him so much. She acts apologetic to your face, but nothing has changed with her kid's behavior.

Is the mom just oblivious or in denial that her kid is a bully??

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:58 PM on Mar. 31, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (17)
  • Perhaps both, but I'm sure there are moms who know and either just don't care or even are proud of the fact. Most likely they were bullies too and "take pride" in their offspring doing the same.

    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 12:00 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • It is very possible, no one wants to think their child is the bad guy. They're all 'perfect' in our eyes.

    Answer by EdwinsMommy at 12:02 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • both.. a lot of parents see their child as perfect and wont see it any other way no matter what he/she doing.

    my sil is like that with my neice she is 5 and no matter what she does he 4 year old sister gets in trouble for it even tho the 4 year old was no where near her.. i even confronted about that and she just made up some excuse (the 4 year old is adopted)

    Answer by 3HappylKidds at 12:02 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • First of all...a 2 year old can not be a bully IMO. I DO think however, that more could be done. I happen to have a child who is very highly spirited and physical ...with a natural predisposition toward hitting, biting and physical behavior regardless of what he is exposed to (known as a Choleric temperament). There are a bunch of things a parent can do to help redirect that energy in her child, but a 2 year old pushing is not a bully...that is normal behavior...just not desirable behavior.
    It DOES sound though that this mother is not pro-active enough...certainly.
    My son has bitten, pushed, pulled hair...and all of that...but NEVER ONCE in a way that could be perceived as "bullying" by anyone paying attention to him or his personality. Sometimes, children are just seeing what happens...and seeking power. It IS the parents job to give him other more constructive ways to do that.

    Answer by boomamma at 12:06 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • Boom, "Seeking power" is exactly what bullying is. Sorry disagree a 2 yr old can certainly be a bully. But the behavior is developing now and needs to be addressed pronto!

    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 12:08 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • ...just to add specifically...I am often shocked how many people expect the same level of control and behavior from a 2-3 year old as they would from a 6 year old. Basic, neurological impulse control doesn't set in until age how can we expect a child younger than 4 to be able to control the impulse to wack somebody when they want something? They can only be taught alternative behavior and helicopter parented to keep them on track...which is what I have to do. It's a harder child to mother for sure, but it is just how some children are. Believe me, my son (at age 3) eats all natural foods, watches minimal TV and is loved by everyone in his life...he also pushes his best friends...but will just as soon give them a big hug and say "I love you" because he is not a bad person...just learning!
    I believe to be a "bully" one needs to have intent...and even a strategy of some kind.

    Answer by boomamma at 12:12 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • "seeking power" is human nature. How WE deal with their impulses makes all the difference. Some parents would beat that child, thinking it's going to teach them to "not hit". That makes ZERO sense to me...and the entire scientific/child development world...but I still see people thinking they need to dominate and control their children to "teach" them things.
    CLEARLY from the mother in questions comment (which was deflecting to the other parent/child) she is not taking any responsibility either...which I do not agree with...BUT...I think it's ridiculous to expect every 2 year old to act like yours. TRUST me, my son (with similar behaviors) is NOT a bully, by any stretch...and that came from the mouth of the mother of a child who was bitten by him numerous times. But, I also work tirelessly to help, prevent and redirect his behavior...and it has worked, because he no longer bites.

    Answer by boomamma at 12:18 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • You just described my sister! The problem now is that her oldest is 14 and a bigger bully. She ignored his behavior and made excuses too many time. We do not see them much anymore because I know she will not hold her kids accountable for his actions. Never has, never will. Very sad.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 12:20 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • Well, even if 2 is too young to be a bully as the others say, then he is well on his way to becoming one if his mother continues to condone his behavior. When my son was 2 I did not allow him to be mean to other children and I did not over look it when he hurt another child. I do believe parents over look it when their child acts out like this and they should address it rather than over look it because it is only making things worse in the long run. My neice will do things to my son like boss him around and hit him and her mother will over look it and it makes me so angry but if my son hits her I will sit him down and explain to him that it isn't nice and why and make him apologize. I think it's best to start early when it comes to teaching them right from wrong.

    Answer by kayaiden8907 at 12:23 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

  • I also do not agree that "2 year olds cannot be bullies" because I knew one! Her family stayed at my place, and any time my youngest would get even any where NEAR the 2 year old, that 2 year old would hit, pinch, w/e she could to my youngest. All her mother would ever say was "well, if your daughter would fight back, mine wouldn't do that. She knows when someone is 'weaker' than her, and she will take advantage of that."

    Answer by hopeandglory53 at 1:20 AM on Apr. 1, 2011

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