Adult on child bullying can be devastating.

All of us have been exposed to adult on child bullying at one time or another. Most of it occurs in elementary school as our child tries to establish their place in a positive way.

adult on child bullying

Adult on child bullying can be devastating.

Bullying in general is a pattern of repeated, negative, antagonistic, and aggressive behavior against another.  Adult on child bullying takes on a different and possibly more damaging dynamic because of the differences in power an influence.

Bullying is no longer just child on child, or adult on adult. This increasingly disturbing trend of adults bullying children happens with parents bullying their own children, seen as child abuse in varying degrees, or perpetrated by an unrelated adult on a child.

This type of bullying typically occurs in competitive situations. One child is perceived to be successful while the other child may not be performing as well or struggling. The bullying is nothing more than an attempt by the adult to belittle the other child and therefore make their own child look and feel superior.

As is the case with most parents, we teach our children to respect adults. Adults are the authority. When an adult makes a request children are expected to obey and be respectful.

We also teach them to stand up to bullies, so when an adult begins to bully the child, it results in an internal conflict. The bullying adult thrives on this dilemma, taking advantage of their position of power and authority.

It’s important to understand the psychological dynamics of the bully. Boys and girls differ in their bullying techniques.

Boys tend to use more overt or physical aggressions such as pushing, shoving and name calling; while girls tend to use more subtle, insidious techniques of social exclusion and ridicule.

Bullies will often perceive provocation where it doesn’t exist, using using this supposed provocation as justification for their aggressive behaviors.

Bullies also believe that violence or aggression is the only way to solve their problems. They have a desire to dominate others, and gain satisfaction in the injuring of others. The bully sees no other way to gain success, other than to bully the other party.

A rather odd characteristic is that bullies are often perceived to be positive by those not affected by the bullying.

So what does a parent need to do when an adult is jealous of your child’s successes and begins to bully your child?

  • Teach your child that they are still in control of their situation. Build up their confidence in the knowledge that a bully, whether an adult or not, still has no impact on their performance.
  • You, the parent, no matter how much you would like to retaliate against such an immature adult, must remain in control. Part of the thrill the bully gets from bullying, is from the irrational reactions they can draw as a result.
  • File complaints with the proper authorities as the need arises. If the problem is at school, you need to make school administration aware of the situation. They may do nothing about it, but they need to be aware of it. If its at other events, event organizers need to be aware of it.
  • Encourage your child to stand up to the adult in a calm, respectful manner. They should be aware that if their attempts are unsuccessful, they should seek help from another adult. Rehearse a response with them, a response that lets the bully know that your child will not allow them power and control over them.

Its unfortunate that things like this occur. But they happen in many aspects of life. The more success you experience, the more detractors you will face. Use it as an opportunity to teach your children that if they work hard, they won’t have to be a bully. The bully is looking for short cuts to the success others have experienced.

photo credit: seaternity via photopin cc

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