I got a call from a friend of mine recently who was an emotional mess. While attending her grandson's summer baseball league practice she overheard some of the other parent's talking about her daughter. And what she heard stunned and upset her. Apparently her self- confident, outgoing daughter had transitioned to the dark side, emerging as a Bully Parent. I pulled out this blog and sent it to her so that she could begin discussions with her daughter. What upset grandma the most were the repercussions her little grandson was apparently suffering because of mom.
Worried that you might be a Bully Parent?
- Do you hang out at school or games with the louder, more aggressive parents; regularly voicing negative comments about the abilities of teachers, the principal, teammates, the coach?
- Do your friends shy away from including you in casual conversations for fear of what you will say or how you will react?
- Does your partner sometimes avoid you at games, declaring that they are tired of having to apologize for your embarrassing comments or behaviors? Do they head for the other room when you begin your tirades about teachers or the principal?
- Are you vigilantly on the alert for any potential injustice that might be perpetrated against your child?
- Before you even leave for an event, have you mentally practiced how you will tell off the teacher, a coach or parent of a kid who gets in your kid's way?
- Are you ready and willing, almost anxious, to step in verbally, and maybe even physically, to defend your child?
- Do you often think that you know more than the principal, teacher or coach and want others to know?
- Can your kid do no wrong?
- Do you always recognize your child as the "best" player, stellar student, star jock, or the queen of the competition?
- Conversely, do you see your child as the constant victim?
It can happen all so innocently. Remember when you just wanted to be the best parent in the world; an advocate for your child and the one person who could speak up for them when they couldn't do it for themselves ? Suddenly that parent is gone; replaced by apparent bully!
If this has happened to you, and you want to change, there are three simple steps to follow. Stop, Look and Listen.
- Stop the negative verbal and body language. Just stop; make a commitment to become more sensitive to identifying and ending any inappropriate language and behaviors. Stop looking for a reason to react. Stop trying to fit in with those parents who spew competitive negativity and try seeking out those who display a more balanced approach to home, school and community.
- Look at what is REALLY happening with your child. Is your kid actually demonstrating their talents through good sportsmanship and fair play? Are they being treated unfairly by their teammates and/or coach? Are they causing problems, part of the problem or the recipient of problems? Are your comments and behaviors necessary and appropriate or demeaning and destructive ?
- Listen to what your child is telling you. If they seek your approval while bragging endlessly about their skills, demeaning others along the way, recognize that they are in need of redirection. If your child feels threatened, unhappy or insecure, "hear" what they are telling you and get some help. This may not be the right classroom, team, or activity for your child. Or, this may be the exact place for your child to receive additional instruction and support from a caring adult who partners with you and your child. Listen to the coach, teacher or principal. You may not like or agree with what they have to say. However, they are responsible for the classroom, school or team and have some important and helpful information for you to hear.
Just remember one important fact. Kids copy what they see their parents do. If you act like a bully, so will they. Provide a positive, balanced model of support for your child. Stop, look and listen before venturing onto the field or school yard next time. And if you cannot, do your child a favor and stay home.
Author: Bully Maze Finding A Way Out