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mrsw0519
mrsw0519 asks:
Q:

What can i do to help my step-son stop bullying?

What can i do to help my step-son stop bullying? In my opinion his mother is not taking proper action to help resolve this problem. This summer he was attending camp, and he was suspended for one day for attacking another child. We asked him why he would do such a thing, his responce was because he just felt like it. He's only 5 years old. His mother thought that making him clean the house for 3 hours was the proper punishment. That weekend he came to visit and his father and I talked to him about it. Of course we let him know that we were very upset and disappointed. And how that kind of behavior is wrong. We let him know that there would be consequences if it happened again. The following week he attacked another boy. That resulted in him getting kicked out of camp. His mother feels that punishing him isn't working and would like to put him in martial arts. We feel this could be very dangerous. She is not willing to put him in counceling, but we feel that he needs it immediatly. i guess my question is, what can we do? Is this grounds enough to get department of children and families involved? I'm really worried about him, and other children too. hope to get a responce soon, jennifer
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Blended families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jul 1, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for your recent parenting question.

I certainly understand your concern regarding your 5 year old stepson's aggression. The behaviors he is learning and engaging in now are the foundation for his entire future. He must learn appropriate, pro social ways of interacting with other children and adults in order to live a productive, meaningful life.

From what you have described, I do not think that it would be appropriate to involve the Department of Children and Family Services at this time. I agree that your stepson is need of help however it does not sounds as if he is being abused or neglected. While, therapy is a good solution to some discipline problems, your stepson would clearly benefit from additional social skills instruction focusing on getting along with others and following rules. You, your husband and his mother could probably provide that instruction yourselves.

It is not unusual for co parenting parents to disagree upon discipline strategies, however, the three of you must begin to function as a team. It might be beneficial for you to check out the information on social skills instruction on the Boys Town sponsored www.parenting.org website. Because it may be difficult for your stepson's mother to receive information directly from you or your husband, I would encourage you to check out the information published on our site first. If you feel that this type of social skills instruction would be helpful, you could then simply encourage her to read through the website on her own rather than trying to describe the methods and teaching strategies.

The Boys Town method of teaching social skills to children would allow all three of you to learn proactive strategies to deal with the problem behaviors your stepson is exhibiting including the process of preteaching appropriate behavior and implementing corrective teaching. The information is very straightforward and easy to understand. It is imperative that you, your husband and your stepson's mother work together to get this situation under control as soon as possible. Consistency is so important. Finding a parenting strategy or method that all three of you can agree upon will allow your stepson to experience success more quickly.


The Boys Town National Hotline is a resource for parents and teens. If you would be interested in speaking to a counselor, please don't hesitate to phone 1-800-448-3000. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you work through tough parenting problems.

Your stepson is lucky to have you in his life. Thanks, again for contacting www.education.com with your parenting dilemma.

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
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Additional Answers (3)

rkaiulani
rkaiulani writes:
Hi Jennifer,
I'm sorry to hear about your step-son's problem. I think that there is more behind the solution than stronger discipline. Here is a specific article about bullying at camp that may be useful: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Bullying_Within/
Also, there are a lot of articles which may be of help in this bullying information center: http://www.education.com/reference/topic/TeenYears_MiddleYears_Bullying/.
Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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Boys Town National Hotline
It sounds like your step-son is having a very difficult time right now and that you are very concerned about his behavior.  Is this something that has just started or has he had problems with anger and aggression prior to his going to camp this summer? You talked about wanting to get him involved in counseling you might want to start with his pediatrician about your concerns.  There may be some underlying issues that your step- son needs help with in order to help him with his anger and aggression.  I am not sure how much time he spends at your home but you may want to watch what things set him off.  Are there times when he is happy and things are running smoothly?  Is it certain people that he has problems with, or things he is asked to do?  Is he eating healthy food, sleeping well, getting exercise?  Consistent schedules at home, spending positive time together, positive messages (praise, hugs, etc.) are all important for a 5 year old.  
Consistent consequences for inappropriate behavior, rewards for positive behavior, along with careful observation of what sets off his negative behaviors might help you to gain control over his behavior.  It€˜s great that you are reaching out to get him help, talking to pediatrician may be the first step in getting him help!

Boys Town National Hotline an Education.com partner
€“ 1-800-448-3000 / www.boystown.org


> 60 days ago

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Boys Town National Hotline
I hear your concern for your step-son and the frustration that you feel with the situation.  Divorce, parenting and step-parenting all present their own challenges.  The important part in all of this is your step-son and making sure that he is getting the help and support that he needs from everyone involved.  Either way parenting to your values and style, consistently, will benefit your step-son even if his mother does not cooperate with a common set of rules and expectations.  It can be reassuring to think about we have control over and make sure that we are doing the very best that we can to teach to the negative behaviors and provide a loving supportive environment when he is spending time in your home.  If we become overly frustrated with what someone else is doing, the greatest loss is that we no longer give what is ours to give to this child.  It also sounds like you are very aware that your step-son has definitely been affected by the divorce and his acting out with anger is probably directly related to this.  It is going to be important that dad spends quality time with him when he is there and encourages him to talk about his feelings and frustrations.  I do think that you are on the right track with getting him to see a counselor, I would continue to address this with his mother in hopes that she will see that it is for the good of her son. It is obvious that you are concerned about step-son and want to help him in anyway that you can!


Boys Town National Hotline an Education.com partner
€“ 1-800-448-3000 / www.boystown.org


> 60 days ago

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