Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is This the Face of a Bully?

Yes, my friends, apparently this is the face of a bully. I picked James up from school today and got a disturbing report of his daily behavior. His teacher did not say the word "bully" but his actions have it written all over them. It seems that this "angel" child of mine has been playing very rough with his friends, pushing them down (not out of anger, but because it's funny), laying on top of them (pushing his weight around) and taking toys from them. Some of it may be typical "boy" behavior, but he does play very rough and we are working on being "gentle." No, this is not good at all.
What's more disturbing is that I've seen this behavior at home as well. For example, James will come up to me and push me with both hands. When I give him the "What are you thinking?!??" look, he immediately gives me a hug as if to make it all better. Well, a hug that follows a push does not make it all better!
Fellow super moms out there (especially those with little boys) how do I nip this behavior in the bud???

On a side note, James is progressing wonderfully with his swimming lessons! The first couple of lessons were very difficult (for him and for me) but he is getting more comfortable with the instructor and making great gains in his air control and swim form. Another mom who was there with her two older children could not believe how well he was swimming already, at such a young age. Even though each lesson is only 10 minutes, he is working/swimming/kicking the entire time and it totally wears him out! Of course, after a little rest, he is back to his normal, rough-housing self! On Friday, I get to videotape his lesson. I'll be sure to post it for those of you who are skeptical and interested.

Also, I have to mention that my mother is completely AGAINST this type of swim instruction. She was mortified that I didn't immediatly pull him out of the water the first time he started crying and she can't believe that I continue taking him. I assured her that this isn't causing major future trauma (I hope) and that in the end, he will be a capable, confident swimmer (priceless). The lessons have not affected his desire to go swimming in our pool (or any other pool) but they have given him a healthy respect for the water. But, I just had to note my mother's hesitations.......


  1. As you know I have two little boys, and I am still trying to fix this with Alex, and he is almost 6! We use time out, and I also explain that if he was a bigger boy he could go to jail because he is committing a crime called assault and battery. The ex-public defender comes out in me...I don't think this makes a dent with Alex.

  2. Kalani - James's behavior sounds sooo familiar. I've seen Hugh do it many times - with his little brother and his friends. I think it is "natural" little boy behavior, but it does get out of control quickly. I don't have a cure, but we do see improvement when we are completely consistent in punishing it with time out, redirection, or sometimes a swat. If Hugh does that sort of thing in public, I've found that he responds much better if I take him aside and scold him in private, rather than in front of his friends. If I embarrass him, he tends to lash out more. Hope some of that helps...good luck!

  3. I think he gets his bullying from his mom. Just kidding! xoxo

    Really, I know this is probably really hard and I wish you the best of luck! I know that you will find the answers you need from all of the other mommies out there who have gone through similar problems!

    On a happy note: Go James on doing so well at swimming!

  4. Kalani,
    I am so glad that you posted this, not glad that you are going thru with the situation... after all I do have a 15-month old who is sometimes a little rough too. We belong to this playgroup that meets once a week. All of the kids are 24 months and younger, and Alex seems to be one of the few that has shown "rough edges". Needles to say, I have only been to the play dates only a few times. I feel bad that Alex pushes and shoves his way around other kids and does not really understand when I ask him to be gentle. So we are working on that. At home I noticed that he goes thru stages, a few days he's the most loving and caring boy, and some others he just wants his way and to show you that, he pushes or wants to bite... (now that is something that I can't tolerate). So we are working on it... At this age, it's hard to know if they really understand you or not!!!