Do the parents of the bully know their child is a bully?
A father was telling us a story about a friend of his that said to him “Why didn’t you tell me my child was a bully?” This question came up after the father addressed the issue of not wanting to vacation with the family of the child that was doing the bullying. The father replied “how did you not know?”
We are often asked the question if the parent’s of the bully know their child is a bully. Early on in our search for solutions to bullying we asked a leading child psychologist and bullying expert this question and his answer was “yes – they know”. They know their child has behavior issues that should be addressed more frequently but for whatever reason they do not. Maybe it is too uncomfortable, maybe they are afraid of their child, maybe it is easier not to address it and pretend the problem does not exist, maybe if they address the issue it will be a negative reflection on the child and the parents….
So what do we do when we are in a similar situation? In our book we talk about addressing the issue with the other parents. If is done in a professional, non-threatening manner the issue is out on the table for what is hopefully a healthy, constructive conversation that will generate a solution.
It is an uncomfortable position to be in but with a little mental rehearsing, just like we do with our children when we discuss with them on how to stand up for themselves, it could have a very positive outcome. The issue is addressed, the parents of the bully know your concerns as it relates to the treatment of your child and hopefully positive steps are taken to resolve the problem. Be warned that it sometimes takes a few conversations with the other parents to make this stick.
Together we can find a solution!