Is my 7yo a bully?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2008
Is my 7yo a bully?
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 8:27am

When my 7yo has friends around, he seems to have to always be the one on charge. He tells the other kids what they can play with. He will take their toys, and not given them back. Or in some instances he just says rude things. For example, the other day he told his frind that he ws going to use yellow finger paint, abnd his friend said he was going to use red, and my son looked at him and said so what!

We have tried to talk to him and explain to him that his behavior isn't nice. That eventually his friends won't want to play with him. I have seen evidence of this, boys that he played with last summer won't even talk to him this summer. I am not sure what happened there, but I know they won't play with him.

I am really unsure on what to do. Everytime we see evidence of this, we talk to him and explain that he needs to be polite and share. That he needs

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 12:26pm

It does sound like he's developing some bully tendancies. I don't really have any advice but to say bullies tend to be very insecure with themselves. They mask their insecurities by trying to take charge of situations or deflect attention to their own weaknesses by teasing others about theirs. If you don't think he's insecure, he may just be naturally insensitive. Some kids just aren't as compassionate by nature. You may try getting him involved in some community service projects... volunteering at the food back, collecting cans for a food drive, decorating lunch bags for meals on wheels. Both my kids do this kind stuff and they get a lot out of it.

You may have to really come down hard on him for a while when you see it. He says or does something rude, he's physically pulled out of the situation. If you make it embarrassing to BE a bully maybe he'll decide it's not a good choice.

It's tough. I have a friend who's son is the same age as mine. She always wants us to get together "with the boys" but I won't do it any longer. I make a lot of excuses because their son is callous and a bully and my child who is VERY social just doesn't want to be around him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2007
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 6:43pm

I believe there are only 2 types of kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2008
Sat, 08-09-2008 - 10:37am

I had a long talk with him again this morning, and explained how his behavior can hurt others and that he will eventually have nobody to play with. He seems to understand, but lets see if he can put it into practice.

Thank you for all the suggestions!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2008
Sat, 08-09-2008 - 1:14pm

In addition to the other good ideas that people are suggesting, mine would be this: find out where he's learning behavior like that and eliminate the source.

Not knowing at all about your life, one of my first guesses (which might certainly be wrong) is that he's learning the behavior you're describing from television, videos, and movies. Obviously, not every single children's movie or television program features characters who act like bullies, of course, but many do -- or many have characters who engage in what amounts to bullying or diva-ish behavior. Video games, even the "good" (non-shooting) kind decrease a child's involvement in the real people and real things around him -- real people who tend to have real feelings and real reactions to bullying behavior but who can't be "reset."

Now, hey -- that might not be the problem at all. You may have a totally media-free household, for all I know. In that case, the problem may be elsewhere. Just a thought.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Mon, 08-11-2008 - 11:45am

Oh, I don't agree with this. Only 2 types of kids? Are you saying all behavioral issues are caused by learning disabilties?

My DS (7) is twice exceptional... intellectually gifted and dyslexic. He's extremely social and well-behaved. He

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2004
Mon, 08-11-2008 - 3:13pm
My DD was doing this for a while too & I told her the same things.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2001
Mon, 08-11-2008 - 11:45pm

I have not read the other responses ... but, to me it sounds like he is pretty normal. He is trying to be assertive, for sure, but I can remember acting like that at his age too. Especially the "i'm going to take your toys and never give them back" and adding "if you don't ____". I have read that children (and adults) will tend to pick out those things they don't like in themselves in others. Maybe he is insecure? But, what 7 year old isn't. They aren't little kids anymore ... but not yet big ones ...

I have a 7 year old too ... he's starting to grow in to his own and be more assertive with friends (and us).

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2008
Thu, 08-14-2008 - 9:33am

It is hard to see your child doing things that could hurt other people. Instead of telling your son what he is doing wrong try to find ways of letting him discover how he may not be walking down the best path for himelf. For example if your son has a friend over and you notice some bossiness going on, talk to your son after the friend leaves. "You and Sam seemed to have a lot of fun today" (Space for your son to talk) "I did notice that you did a lot of the planning of activities" ( Leave room for your son to talk) " How did Sam feel about all of your decisions? How do you think that Sam felt?......" Try to lead your son into a discussion. Support him and let him know that he has great ideas and plans ( if he feels good he will open up more) and it is also fun to let others come up with or add to ideas. Lecturing about loosing friends will only make him angry and feel bad about himself. Open ended supportive questions will allow for discussion. If you really want to give advice ask your sons permission "Can I tell you a story? Do you mind if I add something?...."

Lastly, remember that you as parents are the ultimate models. How do you speak to your son? How do you speak to each other? How do you speak to the world?

I would love to hear how it all went.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2008
Sat, 08-16-2008 - 8:53am

These are all really great ideas!

My husband and I have been trying to teach him that he needs to treat people the way he wants to be treated. I know almost all kids at one time or another will do someting mean just to see the reaction. He is not a mean boy. He is actually really sweet and mostly well behaved. I think a lot of the problem is that he is just beggining to develop social skills. We adopted him from foster care, and until he came here almost all of his interaction were with his 4 sibs. And I know that sibs generally thrive on who can be king of the hill so to speak.

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