Don’t Bully your own children or your partner.

The following is a true story that I just happened to have been a witness to. Recently I saw first hand a father teaching his son how to be a bully. Of course I am sure this was not his intent. But most of us have heard the old saying about, “The road to hell was paved with good intentions.”

A few days ago I had pulled into a Chevron gas station and was standing beside my truck letting the pump run when a car pulled into the stall next to me. At first there was nothing unusual about the situation so I turned back around to face the pump with my back to the car. I heard the driver get out and walk around to the rear of the car to pump the gas. All of a sudden I heard him scream at the top of his lungs in a very menacing tone. “Get back in the car”. He was not merely talking loudly or even just shouting. He was screaming so loud that people completely across the street heard him and turned to look. He screamed “Get back in the car” several times before I was able to see who it was that he was screaming at.

This was not a man that most people would be willing to confront. He was about 6’2″, in his late twenty’s and over two hundred pounds. He seemed to have no hesitation in becoming violent.

As I was saying. At first I could not see who he was screaming at. But about the third time he screamed, “I said get back in the G. D. ca r” I saw who it was that he was screaming at. It appeared to be his son who appeared to be about ten years old. The young boy was walking away from the car. It appeared that he was trying to get away from this man. When the man stopped pumping gas and started around the car toward the boy, the boy stopped and turned around. At this point he started back toward the car. As the man approached the boy he raised his right hand indicating that he was going to hit the boy. I do not know if he ever did because by this time they were on the other side of the car and out of my line of sight. What happened next was even more shocking. I clearly heard the boy say “F. U.” rather loudly to this man. I do not know if this was his father or not. The boy got back into the car. After the man slammed the car door he walked back around to the rear of the car and finished pumping the gas before he got back into the car and left in one hell of a hurry.

I was so surprised that I failed to get the license plate number on the car so I could turn it into the police. I was left completely speechless for just long enough for the car to get out of sight.

I can only imagine the abuse that the boy and his mother probably have to endure at home behind closed doors. But even worse is what that young boy is learning about how to deal with people who disagree with him or do not do what he tells them to do. That is downright frightening. Particularly when he gets older and is physically larger.

The above incident reminds me of the video that was posted on Facebook a couple of days ago of the mother of the 14 year old girl in Florida who has been arrested for bullying another twelve year old girl who eventually committed suicide last year.

In case you have not seen it yet, the mother of the 14 year old female bully was video taped while beating, punching, kicking and cussing a nine year old boy. Like the sheriff said, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” I couldn’t agree more. That little boy that I saw is headed in exactly the same direction.

I hope the above examples are enough to make you realize just how dangerous it can be to bully your own child. This is in addition to the fact that you never know who might be watching.

“DO” Develop a Strong Relationship With Your Child.

You need to develop a strong relationship with your child. I am not saying that you need to be his or her best friend or parent of the year. I am saying that you must be your child’s parent. As her parent you will have a sense of authority that a best friend will not and can not have. There will be times that this sense of authority will be absolutely critical. If you really want them to have a best friend, buy them a dog.

Your relationship with your child is essential, whether your child is the one engaging in bullying behavior or the one who is the victim. True, the way you approach the situation will be different. Do not be close minded about the possibility of your child being a bully.

If your child is the one who is acting like a bully, you will need to be in a more corrective mode, establishing your standards of behavior. It is extremely important that if your child is the one acting like a bully you lay down a firm set of guidelines and then stick to them. Inconsistency on your part only adds to their confusion on what you will and will not tolerate. While doing this, you will need to be understanding. Children act like bullies for many different reasons. They may fear being bullied themselves; they may be getting revenge for being bullied; they may be trying to “fit in”.

Although it is not the only reason, not fitting in is one of the main reasons that bully’s will use to select a victim. You will need to sincerely listen to them, help them identify what they need, and help them to get their needs met without resorting to bullying others.
If your child is the target of bullies, you will lead with more understanding and support. Your child needs to have complete faith in you that you can and will help him and that you will accept what he tells you about the situation. You need to be able to look at his situation critically. This will also help you to determine the best course of action.

One of the worst things that you could do is anything that might embarrass or humiliate him. If he does something that you disapprove of. Call him aside out of earshot from anyone else and take corrective action at that point. But to yell, scream, and berate him in front of other people does far more harm than good. This is one of the things that my father never understood. By the time I was 15 I wanted nothing to do with him. I tried to avoid him any way I could. You will learn later in this book that this is one of the ways most victims will use to try to help themselves deal with anyone that is bullying them. It also makes you look exactly like what you are trying to help him to learn how to deal with. A Bully! Make sure that he understands exactly what it is that he has done that you disapprove of and why.

Again, just saying, “Because I said so” will most likely leave him wondering what it is that he did wrong and why. This can also be very confusing to your child.

What he does not need is for you to be critical of him or his actions in regard to being bullied. He needs your help instead of your condemnation. If anything, you might be able to praise him for actions he has already taken. But do not compliment him just for the purpose of commending him for what he might have already done. If it is not sincere, then don’t do it.

I took the above article from the book that I wrote about the Do’s and Don’t’s for parents who are trying to raise their child to be as Bullyproof as reasonably possible. Hopefully this book will be available sometime in early 2015. Keep checking back to this website because I will announce it’s availability as soon as it is published.

Don’t Ignore Your Child if They Tell You that “They Do Not Fit In.”

Take it from me: If your child says he doesn’t fit in, pay attention. If he doesn’t have friends, participate in extracurricular activities, or have a decent attendance record at school, he’s telling you without telling you that he doesn’t fit it. This is an indication that he is being targeted by bullies. I know. I was there, all of my school life and well into adulthood. Like the old saying goes, “Been there, done that.”
I didn’t make this up. High school students who feel they do not fit in are much less likely to attend college — particularly girls who are gay or obese — according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.
“Because social experiences in high school have such demonstrable effects on academic progress and attending college, the social concerns of teenagers are educational concerns for school,” says sociologist Robert Crosnoe.
Crosnoe has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of the long-term effects on teenagers who say they don’t fit in. He used national statistics from 132 high schools and spent more than a year inside a high school in Texas with 2,200 students, observing and interviewing teenagers. His findings were published in his book Fitting In, Standing Out. ).
“Kids who have social problems — often because they are overweight or gay— are at greater risk of missing out on going to college simply because of the social problems they have and how it affects them emotionally,” said Crosnoe, a sociology  professor and Population Research Center affiliate. “Not because of anything to do with intelligence or academic progress.”
The social problems that teenagers have during high school, whether real or imagined, can mess up the identity development process. According to Dr. Crosnoe, this makes kids doubt who they are, which can cause long term problems such as long term health ( Both physical and emotional. ).
Girls were 57 percent and boys 68 percent less likely than peers of the same race, social class, and academic background to attend college if they had feelings of not fitting in, according to the study. Girls who are obese are 78 percent less likely to attend college than non-obese girls, and those who are gay are 50 percent less likely to attend than girls who are not gay.
Crosnoe found feelings of not fitting in lead to increased depression, marijuana use, and truancy over time. Those coping strategies interrupt the education process — the classes teenagers take, the grades they make — which, in turn, affects their ability to go to college. Because of their lack of college it can affect their health and standard of living.
“Teenagers cope with the discomforts of not fitting in, including being bullied, in ways that are protective in the short term, but disastrous in the long term,” Crosnoe said.
I’m not saying it’s easy to find out of your child “fits in” or not. She may have complained on occasion about not fitting in, but you know that she is good in school, has close friends, and participates in one or two regular extracurricular activities. She may not have a real problem. On the other hand, she may not have said anything, but she is not as active as you think she ought to be. Maybe she doesn’t fit in. My parents did not have a clue as to whether I fit in or not. They thought that as long as I was getting up, getting dressed, and going to school that everything must be okay. This could not have been further from the truth. You may have to do some investigating to determine whether your children feels like they fit in. Based upon my own personal experience, I can say that if a child or teen is being bullied, she is not going to feel like she fits in. The same with guys. I never felt like I fit in, and this was one reason why I ended up dropping out half way through my second time in the eleventh grad. I am extremely fortunate to have the intelligence and the drive to educate myself after I quit. Very few teens would be as lucky as I was. I am referring to the combination of intelligence and persistence that I was born with. I have no idea where my persistence came from. I once had a psychiatrist say to me, “Mark, it is something that you are born with. It’s not a trait that you can develop. You either have it or you don’t, and fortunately, you do.”