When Your Kid Is the Bully: 9 Parents Confess What It's Like

Tanvier Peart | Feb 17, 2017 Big Kid
When Your Kid Is the Bully: 9 Parents Confess What It's Like
Image: Lopolo/Shutterstock

kids bullying
Lopolo/Shutterstock

Each year, an estimated 3.2 million students become victims of bullying. It's not an understatement to say we have a serious problem. Whether these hurtful acts happen face-to-face or online, this kind of torment and intimidation can have lasting effects. While many of us sympathize with the victims, others look to the parents of bullies for answers.

Moms and dads recently took to Reddit to share how they found out their child was bullying or mistreating another kid -- and what they did about it.

And as you can imagine, most were shocked -- horrified -- when they discovered their son or daughter was demonstrating bullying behavior, and they wanted to get to the root of the problem ... fast.

Kids bullying another child
Lopolo/iStock

  • Bullying Can Happen at Any Age -- Even Preschool

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    Chairs, table and toys. Interior of kindergarten.
    Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock

    "I had a problem with my daughter beating up kids in preschool, of all things. I guess it can happen at any age. We had some major changes at home at the time and she was acting out. The teachers brought it to my attention and it was handled right away.

    "Thankfully this was years ago and we haven't had problems since. I will tell you that I was strangely grateful my daughter was the bully and not the victim -- but probably for a different reason than you would expect. Because she was the bully, I could correct the issue. I can't control someone else's kid when I'm not around." -- peaceloveandbacon

    More from CafeMom: Are You Raising a Bully? (Quiz)

  • Lashing Out Can Be a Sign of a Bigger Issue

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    family, parenthood, fatherhood, adoption and people concept - happy father and little girl walking in summer park
    Syda Productions/Shutterstock

    "In kindergarten, my daughter's teacher approached me after school one day when I was picking her up. She said how normally my kid was helpful and fun, etc., but that today she seemed distant and kicked another child during a coloring activity. I told the teacher that her mom and I had just separated and that I was thankful for her telling me. On our walk home, my daughter and I had a really long chat about things at home, her mom, me ... life in general. She had lots of questions and we hashed everything out. Next day, she got her little gold stars for good behavior and we haven't looked back." -- The WizardofEws

  • Some Kids Bully to Protect Themselves

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    A young boy is sitting on a swing set and looking at a shadow figure of a man or bully at a playground. Use it for a kidnap, defense or safety concept.
    Haywire Media/Shutterstock

    "[My 6-year-old] son got in trouble a few [days] in a row on the bus home from school to daycare. He was acting up a bit, and the teacher said he was being aggressive and screaming at a kid. She said it was out of character though and [he] got a timeout and was all good.

    "Next day, he pinched a girl hard -- made her cry. I sat him down; he blamed this other kid, saying he made him do it ... same kid he was screaming at the day before. I was upset with him, took away all his Star Wars toys, said he'd get one toy back every day he was good. Also made him apologize to the girl. 

    "I come to find out the other little sh*t who told him to pinch the girl had been bullying him pretty bad and gave him a bloody lip. He didn't tell me or the teacher or [try to] defend himself because he was afraid of getting into trouble and not getting a toy back that day.

    "I found out the other boy -- who is two years older and always getting in trouble -- would pinch him, call him ugly and stupid on the playground, and say he was going to kill him all the time. I felt like a walking piece of sh*t who wouldn't protect my own son or let him protect himself. I know there are a lot of sh*tty kids out there who do bully, but maybe don't rush in before hearing the kid out, especially if you've never had problems with them before." -- Doodoointhepeepants

  • Parents Might Be Able to Curb Bullying Habits If They Pay Attention

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    Father parenting his son
    pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock

    "In my experience (I have 8 kids), kids who bully -- and I don't mean were mean to another kid once, but are true bullies -- do so because a) one or both of the parents are bullies, or b.) the parents don't care or pay attention to their kids. Kids who have attentive and well-adjusted parents who take an interest in their kids typically don't end up a kid who bullies. There are exceptions, of course, because kids are people too and even if raised right they can still turn out to be terrible people .... Yes, my kids have been mean to other people and kind of bullied other people, but when we found out we put a stop to it. We corrected it and they've stopped. That's how it should be." -- ginger260

    More from CafeMom: 12 Teenagers Tell Us Straight Up What We Need to Do to Prevent Teen Suicide

  • Social Media Can Expose Bullies -- Possibly Your Child

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    Facebook signup web page on pc personal computer laptop with user sign up/ in registration screen using social networking from anywhere office or home workplace.
    Chinnapong/Shutterstock

    "My teenage boys were driving past an apartment complex yelling at kids. They were being d*cks. I would not have known if someone hadn't posted about it on the town's Facebook page. I privately messaged the mom [of] the kid they were yelling at. I then drove them to the apartment complex and made them apologize to the kid, in front of his parents and grandmother. 

    "They were unable to go to town without adult supervision for a few weeks. I was not amused." -- Not_So_Super_Mom

  • Some Schools Are on Alert

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    Dancers on stage during a recital in bright costumes. Noise reduction was applied on the floor and the dancers in the background but not the foreground dancers.
    planet5D LLC

    "My daughter has attended a very small Episcopal school since she was 4 (it's pre-K through 12). When she was in first grade they were practicing for the yearly dance show for parents -- apparently her partner didn't sit down as quickly as she wanted him to, so she grabbed his hand and yanked him down to his seat. She got in trouble with the teacher, who told me 'That's bullying behavior and we don't tolerate it.' This teacher happened to be a bit of a whack job (seriously -- I have stories) and I knew my kid wasn't a bully, just bossy as hell -- but I was very impressed and relieved to know the school took it so seriously and addressed it so quickly. Had a talk with my girl about it; it didn't happen again." -- Kinsey H.

  • Kids Might Bully From Hanging With the 'Wrong Crowd'

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    Group of children bullying an isolated child
    Luis Louro

    "My eldest daughter, a few years ago (she was 9), decided to hang around with the 'wrong crowd.' After a week or so, her mother and I got a call to come in for a chat, and we learned that she'd been joining in the bullying of another girl in the same class and how the other girl had ended up breaking down in tears at the thought of going to school. 

    "When we got her home that afternoon, my daughter and I had a brief discussion about respect and morality (read: I asked her if she'd enjoy receiving the same treatment she'd been giving, elaborating somewhat on the details). After crying herself to sleep that night, she woke up early and spent two hours making an apology card. That was the last time we had a call about her and bullying ... until she kicked her little brother's bully in the head a year later. She got to choose what we had for dinner that night." -- Ishmael1983

  • 'Bullying' Can Be the Result of Encouraging Kids Not to Tattle

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    Female elementary school pupil being bullied
    Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

    "My daughter is 4 and a half. Last week, her teacher talked to her in front of me about spitting on a little girl. We have been having a lot of discussions about respect lately, so I was really disappointed and upset. Her side of the story was that the girl took my daughter's shovel and spit on her first.

    "We still continued the discussion because it still wasn't appropriate -- and she had to color the other girl a picture apologizing. I also had to tell her that if someone is being mean or bullying her, she needed to tell a teacher and not to just react. Because at the end of the day, the other girl told and nothing happened to her for what she did.

    "All of this totally sucked considering at home when her friends are over I teach her to handle her problems and not to tattle." -- MissTotesMaGoats

    More from CafeMom: Our Kids Don't Feel Safe at School Right Now: How Parents Can Change That

  • 'Whatever He Does to Them, I'll Do to Him'

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    Mother scolding a naughty child at play.
    BNMK0819/Shutterstock

    "My kid is big for his age, and probably will be until high school (if he takes after me). He's hit kids a couple times, and I told him that whatever he does to them, I'll do to him. I haven't made good on that yet, but he gets the idea. I'm hoping to get him to be the kid that steps in to help the victims. We'll see how it goes." -- cowtung

  • Parents Might Encourage the Behavior

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    Mom and daughter are high-fiving each other.
    YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

    Sadly, there are some parents who encourage their children to be aggressive toward others.

    "I worked at a children's mental health clinic for over a year. We got lots of bullies, but one girl told us that her mom 'makes' her bully other kids. We talked to [her] mom and she claimed that if her daughter was hurting kids first, then she wouldn't get bullied herself." -- linatrinch

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