Bullies and Victims
By Guest Blogger, Dr. Fran Walfish, The Self-Aware Parent (Palgrave)
There was a news story out of Florida yesterday about a man, James Jones, who stormed a bus of children and threatened the bullies who were terrorizing his daughter who has cerebral palsy. Classmates had put an open condom on his daughter’s head, taunted her, and hurt her by twisting her ear. This father is now in a heap of trouble. When school officials did nothing in response to Mr. Jones’s complaints, he took matters into his own hands.
Who wouldn’t understand a father’s or mother’s anguish, pain, and wish to retaliate? What can be done about this growing problem?
As a leading child and family psychotherapist and author I find problems exist for both the bully and the victim.
BULLIES generally hold the shameful secret that within their own family they are the target of mistreatment, mishandling, or bullying. Usually the aggressor is their father, mother, or older sibling. When a child is mistreated their anger must go somewhere. Either it gets directed inward and the child sinks into depression and even sometimes hopelessness, or the anger gets displaced onto a weaker person – the victim.
VICTIMS have often not fully separated from their mothers and fathers and have been overprotected. They lack self-reliance and self-advocating skills. They are seen as defenseless targets within their peer group.
PARENTING TIPS (STEPS)
Frances Walfish, Psy.D. is a leading child and family therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. Her caring approach, exuberant style, humor, and incisive insights have earned her a sterling reputation in the field. Given her stature, she receives referrals from doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, U.C.L.A. Medical Center, and from top private schools and physicians on the West Coast.