Has your child ever been on the receiving end of bullying?
Melissa Community Moderator
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I have a follow-up question about bullying. How do you handle it when your child is the bully? My 6 yr old has Asperger's and has recently started being a bully to those people and animals around him. I'm not sure how much is copied behavior from his older brother (also with behavior issues) and how much is him losing sensitivity and empathy he once displayed. Regardless of the "why", how do you handle it A) in the moment if you witness it, and B) at home, in quiet and teachable moments?
Note: They are not seeing abuse in the home anymore. They used to from their dad, but I have sole custody 9 months out of the year and it's a gentle and safe environment. And DS6 is too young to remember much about the abuse in the past, as it was usually at his older brother. I do my best to eliminate TV and movie violence, and there are no video games (anymore) in his environment, inside the house or at others' houses.
He isn't seeing any kind of therapist (yet), other than OT and PT thru school. We're still in the process of a formal autism diagnosis and the emphasis has been on my older son, who is much more violent and high-risk. However, when Nate (6) gets caught bullying others, he often gets a weird look on his face (like he's trying to be a class clown) and doesn't want to listen about what he just did. It's frustrating! If he sees a bad reaction (crying or pain) from the victim, he does get remorseful, but then blames EVERYTHING on himself, rather than taking the situation in perspective.
Both the school and here at home, we've been focusing on good choice vs. poor choice. And he knows when he's made a poor choice. When he does that, after a time-out to cool off, we talk about "hitting Johnny was a poor choice. Johnny is your friend. How can we be nice to our friends? What could you do that is nice to Johnny? What could you do when you're at mad at Johnny instead of hitting him?" It does help, but it hasn't totally stuck yet. He has impulse control issues and very little focus, so conversations with him are very difficult.