Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bullying Starts at Home?

I am mother to 4 kids. The ages of our children are 10, 8, 5,2.5. The oldest is a girl and then I have 3 boys. In many ways we think, we strive, and we hope that our kids will learn love, kindness, and sharing at home and take these qualities and be examples to the people they socialise with. I never thought about bullying starting in the home or at least being so present in the home. Lately our daughter has been particularly unkind to one of our sons. This is not really unusual I suppose. There is always sibling rivalry and teasing. It builds them to be strong right? Why I am writing this post is because my daughter was particularly unkind and kept at our son until he cried and was scared to be anywhere near her that day. When I came to her and spoke to her about this, she would not listen (as a 10 year old does), which made me more angry. As I was about to walk away from her bedroom door, I turned back and said to her, " You are being a real bully,if you don't stop your brothers will pick up on this. What kind of a role model are you being to them?" I got a, "Leave me alone!" in return. Naturally, I didn't persue this so she could calm down and hopefully think about what I said. It got me to thinking.

At school our daughter is so nice and would never upset or offend anyone. She would never be a bully to others, just the ones she loves!! If anything she sticks up for those that have been bullied and she even will protect her brothers at school if they are being teased. Why then does she display bullying behaviour at home? My eldest son is already picking up on some of this behaviour and he is a relentless teaser to his brothers and sister. Again, its a form of bullying and he would not do this at school. He also has stuck up for other kids. So why do they do it at home? I would like to think I am not alone here. I've had people say to me I must be an expert on motherhood because I have 4 kids! But heck no, how could I be an expert? Each of my kids have different qualities, and almost everday brings something new. I have no idea on how to address this bullying thing. We have had family discussion on this kind of behaviour. We have pointed out the consquences and we have followed through with the punishments. We have even paid our daughter with money for good behaviour towards her brothers, but this doesn't last for long. We want our kids to be nice to each other, I'm sure I'm not alone here, most of us want this. I know there will always be arguing and teasing, its what makes the family work in a way. But this kind of bullying, I don't like it and I don't want it. Anyone like to share some ideas? Do you think that bullying can start at home or at least why do they only show this behaviour at home?


Madmother said...

Oh, I get this! Except it is the younger to the older of our two sons.

I think it can be personality, hormonal, and it can be temporary. But it is damn hard to deal with and frustrating to watch.

FoodMuster said...

Madmother, yes, I too hope its temporary. I think it will be. Just now, its heart breaking that there can be such nastiness between siblings.

Maria Tedeschi (Mum's Word) said...

I'm like you. 4 kids. Eldest is a girl (10) and then 3 boys.

My daughter at home can be not a bully, but she can be bossy towards her brothers. And when I catch her doing it, I simply tell her that I don't need her to be doing my job. She generally tells her brothers that they're messy or that they need to hurry up, have they done their homework.

But the other thing I tell my kids, if any of them get out of line, is that if they don't know how to behave around people then they don't get to be around people. That's when I send them to their room.

The plus about having 4 kids is that it is quite obvious to the removed child that they are missing out on something.

Love & stuff
Mrs M

Miss Cinders said...

Very much hearing you!

In my house it is a domino effect. And it is sending me crazy.

It wasn't until my oldest was a teenager that it started.

I am still trying to deal with it and have no words of wisdom for you.

Life for me -kid behaviour wise - atm is complete chaos.


momto8 said...

I just wrote about this same sort of thing last week on my blog. We have 8 children and it is a constant battle...but when they need each other in the world they end up being each others best friends...I have found seperating the closest in age is the best way to avoid trouble..nothing really ends it! It gets wonderful after they finish college...hang in there! You won't believe it!

Amy B said...

I think sometimes it's just testing the boundaries of unconditional love. Your daughter knows that no matter what, her brother will still love her in the end, so maybe she feels like she can vent frustration, experiment with new behaviors and be mean to him without losing his friendship forever. Maybe she really wants to be taking it out on someone else- a teacher, school friend etc- but doesn't feel secure enough to do so. Or she could be the victim of this sort of treatment and want to know what it feels like to be on the other end.

Or maybe it's just the 10 year old girl hormones :) we have that at home right now too!

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