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What would you do if....

Posted by on May. 1, 2012 at 8:21 AM
  • 49 Replies

one of your friends said your child was showing early signs of being a bully?

Here's the background - 

My boys are twins, 5.5 yrs old.  Charlie has ALWAYS been the dominant twin.  Zach has had some "issues" since he was about 15 mos old (thought autism, then that diagnosis was "recinded" and we now have a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder along w/ ADD).  Zach does whatever Charlie tells him to do.  I've told him he doesn't need to do this, I've even told him to hit Charlie back when Char hits him - but he doesn't.  He just takes it.  We've told and tried many things to get Charlie to stop.  I really feel that bc Zach just lets him do it, he's not "getting it".  I almost wish he'd attempt it w/ another of his friends and they'd sock him one.  Thankfully tho, he doesn't ever do this w/ his friends....just his brother....until this weekend.  When at my best friend's son's soccer game, he started hitting their 9 yr old son (in a flailing flapping sort ofway - not punching and kicking, but laughing and doing this.....he doesn't do this to HURT someone - i know thats not an excuse tho)  The 9 yr old just let him hit him!  I was like WTF?  Why would a 9 yr old just put up w/ that?  We broke it up.  I've started to talk to Charlie about being a bully and all.  My friend thinks I should have him see a pyschologist to nip this behavior in the bud.  Esp w/ all the anti bullying stuff.  

I'm hurt, but yet I don't want my son seen as a bully.  I don't want people to not want my kid around.  I'm unsure of where to start.  

by on May. 1, 2012 at 8:21 AM
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by on May. 1, 2012 at 8:54 AM
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I don't see it as a bully from what you've said. As far as his brother, there is always the dominant sibling/twin from what I've seen. You say he's never hit anyone else until he hit your friend's child. If he hasn't hit anyone before 5 yrs old and it's only this one person, it's not being a bully.

HOWEVER, I would try to stop the behavior right now. Show him hitting will NOT be tolerated. I don't think he needs a shrink for it. Just some consequences.

by on May. 1, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I agree with the above comment.

by on May. 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Sounds like family dynamics rather than bullying to me.  Does your friend have an only child at this point?  Maybe she's afraid Charlie will "bully" her child.  

by on May. 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM

See Bets, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I had to giggle at the first comment too though I hadn't thought of that. If thats the first time he's hit someone else and they are 5 you should consider yourself blessed and lucky! Thats just standard little kid dynamics more often than not, but still hitting isn't right, etc etc, but it happens with little kids. The point of the matter was what you said about the manner he was "hitting" in the first place and the fact that he was laughing. Without regard to how the other kid reacted, that alone in itself isn't a malicious act. Not the way you described it anyway, it sounds more like a scene out of a girly movie and they are doing that play fighting or sisters bickering and they bat at eachother. He just didn't have someone doing it back to him lol.

by on May. 1, 2012 at 3:25 PM
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I also think the fact you are so open minded to constructive criticism and willing to talk to and work with your child is an excellent sign that He WONT turn out to be a bully. It is really good and healthy that you are talking to him about it and trying to nip any aggressive or hurtful behavior/words/actions in the bud. Consistency is key and also catch him behaving and talking and handling conflict the way you want to see more of and make a really big positive deal about it when you do and then you will keep getting more of it.

Even as a mom who had 2 of my 5 children who ended up being horrifically bullied I DO NOT think your child needs to see a psychocologist from your description anyway. If he gets worse and worse and doesnt respond to your working with and talking to him, then I would consider it only in that case.

Good for you for caring and trying HUGS


by on May. 1, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Thank you everyone.  I don't really think he's being a bully as much I guess.  Typical 5 yr old stuff.  My mom is concerned about his "anger" but he never hits in anger (maybe once or so when Daddy or I said no - but more like a tap like Hey, I wanted that sorta thing...) but he never tries to hurt someone.  

by on May. 1, 2012 at 7:38 PM

i woudn't worry. :)

by on May. 1, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Maybe you can find an age appropriate childrens book about hitting or bullying and read it to them,it sounds pretty normal to me though.

by on May. 1, 2012 at 9:17 PM
Sounds like a typical 5 year old to me. Most kids go through a hitting phase... just keep telling him hitting hands aren't nice.
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by on May. 2, 2012 at 4:02 AM
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I wouldn't say a psychologist is in order, but it definitely sounds like discipline is in order. This is not abnormal behavior for kids his age; it doesn't mean you're a bad parent, or he's a bad person.

But if you think it's hard to control now, how will you ever stop it in the future if it gets worse? There's no turn-off switch. We all know how hard it is to break bad habits, it's hard for kids too. That's why nipping it in the bud is good advice. But it doesn't sound that extreme that you need to seek medical help.

Discipline doesn't always just come naturally; instead of a psychologist, why not just stop by the library. Pick up some books that give you techniques or ideas to aid behavior modification. They give you a model of how to handle the situation when you feel at a loss for what to do.

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