Parents should never show anger or scorn towards their child upon learning that he or she is the victim of a bully. Nevertheless, there are parents who blame the victim of bullying.
“Many parents think that bullying is just a rite of passage, or that their child is to blame,” says Carleen Wray, executive director of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), which equips youth with information to take action to prevent and solve bullying issues.
This reminds me of a woman I babysat for when I was 15. When I arrived for the babysitting appointment (the boys were about 11 and 8), the mother was fiercely scolding the older boy. I thought he’d done something really bad to deserve the tongue lashing.
She then informed me that some kid was harassing her son at school. How can any parent scold their child who’s a victim of bullying?
This mother was just downright mean. I must add that she was always very nice to me, and in my “employee” position and 15-year-old mind, I did not know how to challenge her about her highly inappropriate behavior.
I just accepted it. Sometime after the boys’ parents left, the bully came over to the house: a slightly older, obese kid, asking for the 11-year-old. I told him to go home and he left.
“Parents often do not understand why their child was a victim and assume it must have been his fault,” says Wray. “They may say he should have had more backbone; he should have stood up to the bully; he shouldn’t be such a book worm or he should act more manly, etc.”
Parents need to understand, says Wray, that bullying is intentional aggressive behavior: There is an aggressor, and there is a VICTIM.
“This is similar to the crime of rape, where the victim is often subjected to blame and judgment and may hear accusatory comments regarding their choice of suggestive clothing or behavior,” explains Wray. “Any student who is bullied is a victim, period.”
If you find yourself reading the riot act to your child because he or she is being bullied, you may want to fast-forward several decades and imagine how eager your child, now grown, would be to assist you in your recovery from total knee replacement surgery.
Will he/she be there for you in YOUR time of need? Do whatever it takes to stop blaming your child for being bullied!