T Nation

Law to Punish Parents for Their Kids Bullying

Some people are plain old shitty people… They will be shitty people no matter who or how they are raised.

My son feared punishment (losing access to things he enjoys) and my daughter seems (she’s only 5 and only been in real trouble once that a stern voice didn’t correct) to fear disappointing us and embarrassing herself.

Every kid is different. Don’t paint yourself into a corner committing to one approach. None of us truly have any idea WTF we’re doing, we’re all just trying our best not to raise a murdering fiend.

This. It isn’t so much “punish the bully” as show kids that they are worth more as a human being than the bully makes them feel. If it gets physical, you may have to teach them to defend themselves.

(I’m NOT saying don’t punish the bully, I’m saying focus on the issue from the perspective of the victim.)

It’s not about teaching someone to accept ass beatings as “alright”. It’s teaching them they are worthy human beings who shouldn’t be getting their ass beat, and ensuring they aren’t having lingering trauma from the abuse.

All I think he’s suggesting is a change in focus, not letting bullies be dicks without repercussion.

Trauma from the latter without the ability to process it for whatever reason. Being angry is normal, killing because you’re angry isn’t. But a bullied youth that knows they are worth while human beings will be less likely to throw away the rest of their life in prison to seek revenge on someone who won’t be part of their life in a few years.


Then we need to find a more creative way to talk to our kids than “banning” social media, in order to ensure that they aren’t suffering significant trauma from school age assholes.

Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. When I spoke of banning social media though, I meant on the part of the recipient of trauma rather than the distributor, in case there was confusion.

I got you. We’re certainly not arguing here, lol.

I just firmly believe there is a way we can reach our kids that are being bullied in a way that will mitigate any nonsense other kids can say on social media. Even if it turns into a “gang up” on them. And I think that will do more to “help” the situation than spending time focused on more creative ways to punish the shitty kids.

1 Like

Sure, that’s fair.

My brother and I definitely responded a little differently. I was closer to the latter (more concerned about the prospect of disappointing my parents) while my brother was more the former (afraid of losing access to things he enjoyed).

Anyways, it’s good to have you back here. If the 2A threads raise your blood pressure too much, stay out of those and just drop knowledge bombs on things like parenting and tax law.


No. I think that comes from not teaching kids how to deal with anything. That is an example of the bullied kid having bad parents. I never meant “leave bullies alone” or to feed the kids to the wolves. But like @countingbeans said, you need to teach kids that they have worth. That the bully’s opinion of them doesn’t matter. I think parents should use everything at their disposal to stop it (meetings with teachers/administrators). If I thought my kid was being harmed and the school wouldn’t stop it, I would pull him out of that school and figure something else out.

I got my ass handed to me regularly at school, because I was too stupid to back down from older kids. Eventually I got tough enough to hold my own and by that time it was high school and everybody got girlfriends and jobs and sports and didn’t have time for bullying and fistfighting.

I agree to a point. But that makes it all the more important to help shape your kid’s internal narrative about themselves. I tell my sons every day that they’re awesome. Even when they get in trouble for stuff I tell them “you broke the rules, you’re smarter than this. I know you can do better, you will do better.”

There will always be bully’s and you can’t protect your kids from everything. Kids don’t even have the part of the brain that deals with empathy yet. So they’re mean AF.


Could you elaborate?

Again, I don’t have kids, so I can’t really speak to potential solutions but I would like to know how to approach the situation if I ever have to. I’ve heard terrible stories about how ruthless kids can be on social media. There are apps where they can say things anonymously and people are really mean behind a screen/keyboard.

I also agree with @Basement_Gainz that you can’t protect them from everything, but am interested to see how you can teach them how to react and handle it appropriately. That can be hard if your kid doesn’t fit in and kids are relentless.

While this is a noble gesture, in practice it’s almost always useless.

See above.

Do you subscribe to the theory, that sometimes, meeting with teachers/admin can actually make things much worse?

Do you believe this is a legitimate option for the vast majority of Americans?

Remeber “The Outsiders” or every Steven King movie where the bullies are running around with switch blades?

Was it like for real in the past?

A convenient option? No. An option? Yes. Your kids are your responsibility. Get them in a better situation. If that involves home school, cyber school, charter school, moving… just get it done.

(Not you personally, the hypothetical parent)

Depends. If a kid gets in one minor scrap you call people up and meet. If the pattern of problems persist you take more action.

We’re then left in a world where you’re sending your kid to a tax payer run school so they can be physically assaulted and an option is “get up and move.”

We’ll have to agree to disagree here. I can think of few things that make me more ashamed of this country than that ever ever ever qualifying as an option.

1 Like

Kids can be downright evil little shit heads, even if they will eventually grow out of it and become a healthy normal human being.

I remember how painful and shitty middle and high school was, right up until the day I stopped giving a shit, and started to hang out with kids that accepted me for me. I gave up trying to be “popular” or “a cool kid” and just went about my life. And now, looking back, I laugh at how much of a shit I used to give about people who have no bearing on my life now.

I try to explain this to my daughter.

So we focus on her self respect, ability to process adversity, and understanding that tomorrow is a new day, learn form your mistakes and move forward. We don’t let her blame anyone for anything, or rely on other people’s opinions to form her own. We try to teach her how to see herself, rather than see herself as others see her. (Which makes for some awkward conversations when it comes to proper social behavior. lmao. She’s only 5 and can only pick up so much nuance.)

We also send her to private school, which means anything said on social media can and will get your suspended, first offense if it’s bad enough.

1 Like

I disagree, and I believe there is a significant body of treatment evidence associated with trauma therapy (and other mental health case work) that backs me up.

You just described my two boys to a T.

Spot on. I guess I’ll know if I’m doing it right in about 20 or 30 years. Right now, I have no clue.


Why? So you’d let your kid stay in a dangerous situation? News flash: some public schools really really suck. You can let your kid flounder in one or do something about it.

Good luck taking over the school board and fixing a defunct public school. By the time you do that your kid is 25 years old. It isn’t fair that it might be more effective to move your kid, but life isn’t fair.

1 Like

I wouldn’t pay taxes to a school district that allowed my kid’s ass to be beat and then my option to resolve this was to move. That’s not an option for me. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

I would never attempt to take over the school board. That’s a fools errand. I have much better ways of stopping my children from being bullied.

I’m not talking in a case by case basis. I’m talking conceptually. Conceptually, the thought of "someone is BREAKING THE LAW and ASSAULTING MY CHILD and my options are EVER “might as well move” is a non starter for me.

My father was a pussy when push came to shove, I’m not.

Such as?

I have found that the most effective way to stop bullies is to threaten them. Did it once in HS and once in my adult life by way of threatening the parents. So far, 100% success rate.

Great topic, and one where I strongly feel that we’re on the WRONG path.

We will always have a percentage of normal humans who will show highly competitive, aggressive, or dominant behaviors. Humans develop social hierarchies. And we have kids in every class who will seek negative attention from peers by being annoying or aggressive. It’s not particularly helpful to label all of these, often really young kids BULLIES, as if we have some abnormal situation where we’re going to call someone’s child a loser or treat them like little criminals. Also, we’ve encouraged kids to think that words are violence and so they are victims now instead of the old adage of “sticks and stones.” We need to stop teaching kids that words are so damaging, and teach resilience.

These are both by a colleague in my field, Izzy Kalman. He’s fighting an uphill battle, but I think he’s spot on. I don’t have time to summarize or discuss today, but for anyone who really wants to understand the situation, I’d highly recommend reading this PDF.

Why Psychology is Failing to Solve the Problem of Bullying
_ https://www.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/attachments/2610/why-psychology-is-failing-solve-the-problem-bullying.pdf

A couple of things he’s written about parents suing the schools. This one about a little academically gifted AA girl. All the kids in this scenario are Black. This is a pretty common situation where encouraging the kid to just tell the adults can make it WAY worse.

I think he’s spot on here.

"The ubiquitous anti-bullying education has been profoundly disempowering kids by informing them that verbal insults are unbearably painful and permanently scarring; that others are to blame for the way they feel; that they are incapable of handling words on their own but need everyone else to protect them; and that if they get insulted, they must inform the authorities, who will then make everyone become nice to them."


Agree 1000%.

I think it spawns from parents (who had the best of intentions), but it ALSO spawns from limpwristed, bureaucratic bullshit school administrations.

I have friend and client who has 2 small kids, elder kid is a girl about 8. She got in trouble with the school for defending herself from a bully physically. This should never happen (although in practice “never” isn’t attainable, but you understand the point).

He went in to talk with the school ppl with his daughter. They told him she was fighting, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately for the school, he knew what was going on with this bully and told them to get off her case. Just to drive the point home he asks his daughter in front of the school administrator:

“What happens if you start a fight?”


“What happens if you finish a fight?”

“Ice cream!”

"“When do you stop punching them?”

“When the teacher pulls me off her.”

The look on their faces​:exploding_head: :joy:

I wanted to bro hug him. His little girl is so well behaved but she knows not to take anything from anyone. Sadly not all parents take this approach with their kids OR against the schools. And it’s the schools’ fault as well for being gutless and coming down on kids who are just trying to defend themselves. Once you take away all support for the kid as well as all preparation, you create a situation where either they kill themselves or they kill someone else.