BULLIES AND THEIR PARENTS

I am struggling to keep caught up with all the posts that have been sent in. I am so very grateful for all the contributions. When I started this project I was worried I would not have enough participation to fill the month.

I WAS WRONG

My guest today, Rachna Parmar, received so many emails from me with tentative dates that I kept missing… but finally HERE is her wonderful post and I hope you give her and her blog some bloggy love. My husband hates the word blog so he really hates the word bloggy. *insert silly sly smile here*

Recently, I was advised NOT to approach the parents of a bully and this post is an example of one reason why.  I am not entirely convinced it is a good OR bad idea and I think it is very heavily dependent on the situation but, as in all situations, do your research and have all your facts in hand before you do confront a parent.  Also, and this is a hard one – always calm down and let some time go by before you confront anyone.

I love Rachna’s post because she did the same thing I would have done and even though the end result was frustration she IS her child’s advocate and THAT is everything.

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BULLIES AND THEIR PARENTS by Rachna Parmar

This incident happened about a week back and frustrated me immensely. I waited to cool down substantially before penning it down. Let me give a little background first. The community where I live has boys and girls of all ages. Most of the elder boys play games like football and cricket. This motley group has older teens, tweens and some younger children who form a mixed group. Abuses fly thick and fast, as older kids find them cool and hip. Since I usually take my evening walks around that time, I can hear the choicest of cuss words flying between these boys who look tall and menacing. They have an attitude that says, “Don’t mess with me!” Call me old fashioned, but I prefer my children not to pepper their sentences with cuss words when they are speaking to me.

So, my younger son all of 8 often plays in this group tagging along with his elder brother. Last week, a boy aged 14 found a word that was used by him offensive. No, it was not a cuss word just a female variation of his own name (like Manisha instead of Manish). This boy was so angered that he beat up my son while restraining his hands so that he could not protect himself. Leaving the child scared and whimpering, he got into verbal duel with my elder son who had rushed to his rescue. My younger son came crying to me. I have a rule in my home. I don’t let my children beat anyone, and I don’t tolerate it when someone raises a hand on my kids. Otherwise, I never interfere in their daily tiffs with other children. I know that parents turn a blind eye to their children cussing and ill-treating other kids. I don’t.

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So, I approached this boy’s parents by going to their home. I spoke very calmly explaining to his mother what had transpired. This boy then came and started speaking to me in harsh tones. He was rude and overbearing and even to me he seemed very intimidating. Either he was making it up or he had delusions of a perceived provocation that did not exist to cover up his own act of cowardice. He justified to his mother that the younger boy (my son) who is at least a feet shorter and 20 kilos lighter had ‘bullied’ him by calling him a name (not abuse but a name which is a female equivalent of his name). His mother took up his side saying that my son should not have done that. Wow! Okay, I said. What about him raising his hand on a younger boy? If he had found the word offensive, he could have reached out to me and I would have pulled up my child? He had no answer to that, but he was extremely cocky. I told him firmly that he had no right to touch a younger child and hit him. He could have hurt him. The boy had no iota of shame or contrition (even manufactured). He was somehow trying to justify his aggressive behavior of hitting. His mother was a mute spectator. His father also came intermittently and did not speak a word.

His mother never admonished him or showed any sign of remorse. I wondered what kind of people I was speaking with. No wonder their son was such a bully! His parents supported his behavior no matter what. Frustrated, I went away expressing my disgust at the way the parents were reacting (not reacting). I later found out that he had tried to strangle a friend’s younger son for some perceived insult.

All I could say to my children is to stay away from that boy. How he turns out is his parents’ prerogative. But, I felt frustrated that such bullies cross the path of others and make them victims of their aggression. Sadly, parents are so caught up with “my laadla” syndrome that they end up doing immense harm to their own children but also to the society at large.

What do you make of this behavior? Do you think his parents should have reacted differently? How do you react when your child is beaten up by other children?


rachna2Rachna Parmar is an award-winning blogger, an enthusiastic cook, wife, fitness freak, Yoga enthusiast and mother to two naughty sons and a Labrador. She is also a freelance Content Writer and an entrepreneur. She counts reading, writing, cooking, fitness, Yoga and social causes among her passions. She writes for HuffingtonPost India and Elephant Journal among others. You can follow her on her blogTwitter, Facebook and on Pinterest.
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13 thoughts on “BULLIES AND THEIR PARENTS

  1. I’m an older guy and grew up in a neighborhood where there were older guys that we idolized–they messed with us some, but a bit of hazing was a small price to pay just to be around them. They were a lot like I’d imagine older brothers would be–minor bad influences but they wouldn’t have done anything to intentionally hurt the younger kids. Not badly, at least–they taught me to ride a bike without training wheels by taking me to the top of a pretty steep hill and gave me a push, without much instruction on how the old coaster brakes worked. There was some blood.

    I’d go so far to say that a fair fight is within the realm of reasonable conflict resolution, but absolutely not a beat down, which is what happened to your kid. There’s a code that delineates between typical alpha/omega struggles and bullying–and beating the hell out of a defenseless victim is well past that line. I would have gone further than you did–I would have threatened with The Law. Once the parents proved to be helpless I would have said it simply, “Look, either you get your kid under control or I’m going to get the law involved.” And because I despise bullies I would have probably looked right at the kid and said, “And a little boy as pretty as your son isn’t going to have a real good time in the juvy.”

    That kid isn’t just a bully, he’s a sadist. As an older kid, he should be looking out for the little guys. I know for a fact that even the worst tormentors in my neighborhood would have punished someone who put that kind of hurt on me–and when I got older, I would have done the same for the younger kids coming up after me.

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    • Thank you, JunkChuck. Your comment validates my view too. Kids, they are in your face but the older ones do keep an eye out for the younger ones. This kind of restraining, beating up and then being even more cocky when confronted reflects on a child gone wrong, I am sorry to say. I am happy that I confronted him and his parents even though it was quite a futile exercise in the end.

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  2. I read this already…I’m sure I did. On your blog, Rachna? Anyway, teaching our kids how to advocate for themselves is a very important skill. Unfortunately, as much as we advocate for our kids and try to teach them how to handle things, sometimes the bully’s side does the same thing, even if it’s not OK to support bullying. Not holding the bully responsible for his/her actions is not doing them any favors later in life.

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  3. What Lisa said.

    Rachna I definitely think you did the right thing to advise your sons to stay away from this kid in future.

    I wonder if what you see is the result of bully parents producing a bully child – it’s often a cycle, after all 😦

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    • It could be, Lizzi. I don’t know the parents at all, so I wouldn’t know. But just the other day, another older boy almost 18 years was using this incident to heckle my other son. He actually said, “Do you want to be beaten just like your brother was?” It is just too sad. How many such boys and their bullying do we have to fight?

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  4. I have no problems talking to parents if another kid has done something to mine, even if I know that the parents will do nothing. See, when I talked to a policeman about a situation the first words out of his mouth were to ask if I had tried talking with the kid’s parents. The school my children attend encourages mediation and act as a go-between for parents if need be. I think you did the right thing, and you supported your sons’ position instead of letting the kid, and his parents, bully you. In the long run I think your boys will remember that.

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    • Thank you, Jessica. I guess I will always stand up for them. In one of the really lovely building from bullying posts, I recall reading that standing up and being overprotective is better than being uncaring.

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