Journey of Parenting a Bullied Child

Parenting a bullied child can be traumatizing and make a parent eventually feel like a victim themselves. I found a research article that was recently released describing the journey of 11 parents who had bullied children. Each of these parents went through a similar journey.

Discovery
The process of discovering that the child was bullied happened in different ways. Sometimes the child told the parents directly that they were having serious problems a school. Other times it was discovered through unusual behaviour. For example, one little girl started kicking her cat that she loved. This was a big red flag for the parents.

Advice
The normal next step was to give the child advice about how to manage the situation. Some of the advice given was to be nice to the bully, to avoid the bully, or confront the bully. None of the parents advised a physical altercation. Unfortunately, for the parents in this sample the advice did not work. This is not to say that advice doesn’t work for all parents. I would expect that if advice had worked these parents wouldn’t have been part of this study.

Reporting
As bullying continued or escalated these parents began to report their concern to the school officials. The parents generally first called the school receptionist who directed them to the school counsellor. Unfortunately, these parents found that the school counsellor, while sometimes appearing very concerned, was not effective. Normally the parents did not get a call back and later found out that the higher administration had not been informed and no action had been taken. When they pushed farther, the general experience was that school officials indicated that their “hands were tied.”

One parent in the study actually had a good response. The principal investigated the case by interviewing the children involved and then took action by having the children apologize. The principal also informed the teacher who also intervened by explaining why the behaviour was wrong and asking the children to report any further misbehaviour. The parents in this case felt that the action was appropriate and well done. They did not have further problems. Unfortunately, this was not the experience of most of the parents in the study.

Aftermath
Most of the parents, in the end, were left to manage the situation on their own. They found that the more they complained the more their child was thought of as a “problem”. Some of the parents found that moving their child to an out-of-district school was the best solution. Some others began home-schooling. Unfortunately, some of the parents didn’t have the financial or personal resources to take action and had to watch their children suffer years of abuse. These parents described themselves as feeling victimized themselves. One parent described their experience as being a “living hell.” The researchers were surprised by the amount of emotion that was expressed during interviews. One parent, who was surprised by how strong her emotions still were, cut off contact with the researchers after the first interview. Although it was not part of the research, it is likely that these kinds of stressors can make it difficult for other parts of the parents lives like work and their marriage.

The researchers from this study recommended that parents take action when their children were being bullied. They encouraged parents to continue to go to higher authorities, like the superintendent or school board, until action is taken.

This study aimed to deeply describe the experience of 11 parents. This may not be your experience or even be representative of most parents who have a child who is bullied. However, these experiences have lessons to teach all of us on the difficulty parents can face when their children are bullied and the importance of parents being vigilant, because sometimes schools aren’t there when our children need them.

REFERENCE:
Brown, J. R., Aalsma, M. C., Ott, M. A. (2013). The experience of parents who report youth bullying victimization to school officials. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28, 494-518.

About the author:
Oakville Wellness Center, A group of therapists who serve in the Winnipeg region.
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How To Tell If A Guy Likes You

Because men and women have different ways of flirting, one can easily misinterpret the signals a person is sending and think he or she likes them back. It can make it very difficult for people to actually find each other and form couples. This is how you end up obsessing over someone for weeks and wondering when they’ll do the first step.

To put an end to this ordeal, you pluck up your heart and give them a clear hint of your interest. But if the person is really not into you, they politely turn down and as a result, you feel covered in shame.

Women may have more difficulties determining correctly if someone is interested in them because they flirt in a more discreet manner and expect men to do the same. This is how a random glance from a guy can set you on fire for days and make you think he’s Mr. Right.

But, if things don’t eventually move on, he’s either a shy guy or he’s not interested into you. Here are some signs he doesn’t like you back:

He’s never around
Men may have dozens of different ways of showing they like you, from teasing to making compliments; when they like you they always act somewhere around you. But if he never seems to be close to you and you need to chase him to have a conversation together, then you should forget about it.

He doesn’t make eye contact
A guy who doesn’t like you may intentionally stare at you for a moment, just out of curiosity, but he’ll blink his eye away soon. On the other hand, women who stare shortly at a guy may like him, and for this reason you could think that a short blink from a man has the same meaning. Unless he looks into your eyes for seconds in a row, it’s better to get over it.

He’s never enthusiastic
Some other ways to know he is not interested: he doesn’t laugh at your jokes, he never initiates conversation, he doesn’t notice when you wear makeup and fragrance, and he never seems to feel your absence.

Woman in White Crop Top Besides Man in White and Black Stripes Shirt Beside Body Of Water

He’s not interested in your safety
A sure sign that he likes you is his efforts to protect you. For instance, someone harasses you in front of him and he reacts back, or he’s interested in your whereabouts and whether or not you’re safe. But if you leave a place late at night and alone and he doesn’t care, then he doesn’t care about you at all.

He is friendly with you as well as with anyone else
A friendly behavior will make you think he might like you, but he may actually be just a very sociable and outgoing guy who doesn’t have a special interest in your person. Take a look at the way he behaves when he’s around other women and if everyone gets the same treatment, this means you’re not the one for him.

He’s always busy
A guy who is interested in a woman will do anything to be prepared for a date and not miss it. Some bad signs: he sets a date last minute, cancels dates or says he’ll call you back and he doesn’t. If he likes you, he’ll make time for you and never let you down.

Although it is important for you to find ways to let him know you’re interested, most men still consider they should make the first step. When they don’t, the disappointing truth you need to accept is that they probably don’t like you back.

Conclusion
It can be easy to misinterpret men’s signals. It is important to know yourself so you can get your own emotions out of the way when you are evaluating whether a man is interested. It is easy to dismiss a man’s advances if you feel that no one could be interested in you. It is also easy to believe that a man is in love because you are so hopeful and in need of a relationship. It is good to talk to friends, and potentially a therapist, to help evaluate situations and your emotional responses.

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About the author:

By the Oakville Wellness Center, a company of Winnipeg therapists (www.oakvillewellnesscenter.com).

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