Re: bullying behavior
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2020 09:28:59 -0700 (PDT)
On Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 8:40 AM CJ Q <homeschoolvideo [at]> wrote:

> I appreciate your help since some of our children are hurting and all the
> parents are having a hard time getting along right now (and are hurt too)


1. Two grandchildren I was caring for part of each day were in frequent 
conflict. One was (always) the aggressor and the other (always) crying. My 
automatic response was to comfort the crier and scold the aggressor. One day it 
(finally) occurred to me if people act the way they feel, that the aggressor 
was feeling aggressed upon whether I saw it or not. I started responding to her 
as if she was crying instead of misbehaving. It not only worked but she 
confirmed the whole dynamic. She understood it but wasn’t able to change MY 

2. Another child I had spent considerable amounts of time with was having 
difficulty in school. He was very bright and at my house frequently worked in 
workbooks, had drawing projects, and listened to and played music. He played 
well with others. He was focused and happy. When he was of school age, he was 
enrolled in a bilingual Montessori school and placed in a classroom with 
children above his age because he was so smart and knew so much. The school was 
very permissive and the children encouraged to be free spirits. 

Things didn’t go well at all — he disrupted in the classroom by interfering 
with the work of others and didn’t focus on his own projects. This went on for 
several years as his parents supported the bi-lingual, bi-cultural environment. 
He was finally diagnosed as ADHD and enrolled in a more structured private 
school that had experience with such problems. The diagnosis never made sense 
to me. He was not ADHD.

After he had been in the new school for a few months and was happy there, I 
asked him why the new school was better. He said, Because I don’t have to 
decide every morning what I want to do. We have a schedule and we all know 
what’s next. He was now part of a group that did things together. The day was 
predictable and inclusive. He was even better a few years later then they 
entered him in a new school at a lower grade. As one of the older students 
instead of by far the youngest, he suddenly became a social star.


Thus, I think there might be ways to shape the behavior of the bullying and 
abusive kids without telling them how to behave. That just irritates the 
parents who think kids will be better people if they learn all life’s lessons 
the hard way and anti-social behavior means they are expressing their own true 
nature and developing independence and strength.

Explaining behavior, reactions, feelings, etc., to them might work better. 
Schedule some supervised and structured group activities where they learn how 
to enjoy being part of a group. Focus on the feelings of the aggressors and at 
least as much as those of the criers.

Sharon Villines, Historic Takoma Park, Washington DC 
Where all roads lead to Casablanca

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