it's certainly less than i felt like doing. I wish it was socially acceptable for me to have a wrestling match with him, that sort of language seems to be the only one he understands. I don't generally hit children, but that's really what i wanted to do. maybe i'm overreacting?
I thought you handled the situation well. I'm afraid I don't have any good ideas for you, I have yet to see any bullying solutions that really work.
When my son was in 2nd grade we had a bully situation at the small private Waldorf school he attended and it was never resolved. The kid that was bullying my son was very sneaky, I caught him doing it to other kids and told him to knock it off. The school was very annoying about it, they acted all empathetic when we told them but did nothing about it. The kid and his parents were very popular and the teacher really liked the kid. We decided to leave the school for a variety of reasons but the bullying and how they handled it was certainly a factor. Years later I heard he was asked to leave the school due to his behavior.
In our situation it didn't look like anything we did would change the kid's behavior. My husband tried talking to the Dad and the Dad refused to believe his kid was capable of doing such a thing. We tried talking to the school, that accomplished nothing, except that my son learned that the adults at the school were not there for him. In my son's case fighting back was not an option, the bully was much stronger (he also took martial arts) and my son at the time was very ill, he'd just been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. It still makes me mad to think about it.
For what it's worth, I do think it helps that you let the kid know that you are on to him.
I'm thinking of a combination of basic training methods and how Mom dealt with us. If you see him fairly regularly, maybe you see him often enough to be able to dangle a carrot for him AND threaten a stick?
Mom was really cool most of the time, but when we pissed her off, it could be scary- and I suspect part of that was because it wasn't a normal thing for her. I have no idea how he views you, but if you are cool/fun/interesting when he's being nice, and you do your crazy-eyed Mama Bear thing when he doesn't, the reinforcement comes from both sides. I'm thinking of that rather than being just scary- since it's easier to ignore things that DON'T change than things that do.
From a training standpoint, it encourages him to want to display the requested behavior, but it also sets very firm boundaries that that behavior is not acceptable at all.
I don't have kids and tend to avoid them- but it's a thought for thinking on.
I have sympathy for you, but absolutely no background to pull from to help you. Mom's solution was to ignore it and make us deal with it on our own, including protecting the younglings. Dad was always at work, cooking, or asleep. I have no spawn yet. I'd recommend none of those. Drssg seems to have the right idea, but I think I may not know the right position to take here even if it hopped up and cockslapped me in the face.
Here's hoping you find a solution.
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Urban forager- he's very sneaky. his little sis is too, but she's not quite big enough to bully (she's usually the victim). so then every time he's caught there's this sneaky/lying dynamic, and then punishment. sometimes the parents just blow it off like my kids shouldn't whine about being physically intimidated for disagreeing.
drssgchic- that's a good point. over the years, i've thought about how i could change the dynamic. i have to say, after our little "talk" he was very nice to my baby. At one point i even caught him splaying a sweet little game where he would slide a water balloon down to my babe gently, and then my babe would slide it back to him (on the slip n slide). I was intentional about casually remarking how nicely he was treating my baby. it won't last, he'll be back at it for long. Maybe part of the solution is being very intentional about building a good relationship with him, and i think my husband will need to play a bigger role in this. I've tried in the past, and at times it felt awkward. i don't know how to explain it, maybe i was reading into things.
naiad- lol @ cockslapped. thanks for the sentiment.
I know for the animals that I've met- if they have rules- or better yet, jobs- they feel more secure and are therefore better behaved. I hear this also applies to children.
Hey- speaking of jobs- would you trust the kid enough to "assign" him as your baby's protector at gatherings? Job description including both protecting the baby from others AND setting a good example (ie, behaving himself, you know, for the kid) It sounds like he has potential since he was taking the time to play a baby-safe game- he just hasn't had much encouragement.
It sort of comes down to helping the 'bully' change his own role and how he sees himself by giving him and 'important' lifeguard type job.
You don't tell him that it's HIS behavior that is the problem, you just point out what a huge size difference there is among some of the older and younger kids in general, literally point it out... a baby next to a jumping 5 year old is a great example. You point out that he is biggest of them all... kind of special... and that it would be really helpful if he watched out for the little kids in case the bigger ones got too rough with their play... and give rough play examples. Makes him into "Captain Good-guy" all of a sudden instead of always needing to go "Hey, Don't do that!"
All that internalized self control mumbo jumbo.
Oh... and of course it doesn't always work... depends on the kid and how far down the whole he/she is.
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It sounds like the lifeguard role in your situation could actually work. I would still keep a good eye on him. The bully we were dealing with was a master at manipulating adults into thinking he was innocent. He would often get other kids do stuff for him. We had a neighbor girl who also did that. My friend was her teacher and was wise her tricks; the teacher would often catch other girls doing her dirty work.