If you are like me, you probably like to avoid confrontation as much as possible. This is especially true among the parents of your kid’s friends, and in particular, if you, yourself, happen to be friends with the other mom or dad.
But, sometimes words cannot be avoided, as in the case when you know that your friend’s kid, may be bullying your own. Confronting a friend, in this case, requires delicacy and thoughtfulness – particularly if you would like to maintain your adult friendship, even if you know that your children may never be able to rectify theirs.
Empathy will be your key to a successful outcome. Think about how your friend may respond, and under what circumstances to tell them that their child is a bully. Try to understand the situation from your friend’s perspective, and work together to figure out solutions.
Start by saying something along the lines of, “I don’t want to fall out about this, but I need to talk to you about a situation with our girls and I think we should deal with it together.”
Always try to put yourself in their shoes. It’s hard to hear your child’s a bully, and like you, your friend’s first reaction may be defensive, but also, like you, if it were your child doing the bullying, you would want to put a stop to it.
True, you may run into those parents who put up the “no, not my kid,” brick wall, and who would rather ignore it or refuse to believe their child is capable of being a bully, but, hopefully, if you have a good friendship with the other mom, you’ll be able to talk to her honestly and she’ll listen.
Sometimes it could be a good idea to sit down the four of you together, with your daughters and ask how this has come about. Often when parents are brought into it, that’s when things change.
In any case, here are some suggestions to keep in mind before you confront your friend about bullying.
- Make sure you are sure about the circumstances. Be cautious when your child says that the other person was a bully and they themselves didn’t do anything. The more information you have and understand, the better informed you’ll be when talking with your friend.
- Be thoughtful about what you do. Think before you act.
- Avoid confronting your friend when you’re very upset. For delicate matters about bullying, you need to be calm and level-headed.
- You may want to work with a close friend or family member to help you develop your strategy. Just make sure not to do this publicly, such as on social media, and do not engage in gossip.
- Avoid focusing on blame and punishment. Bullying is unacceptable, regardless of whose child it is that’s doing the bullying. But it’s important to make your friend feel that the conversation isn’t about assigning blame and punishment. The discussion should be about how to move forward in a healthy way.
- If your friend is open to your help and advice, find ways to collaborate and support one another. Parenting is tough, and sometimes parents with mean or unruly children are the sweetest people themselves. Help to show them alternative parenting methods without criticizing them.
Have you ever had to speak to a friend about their kid bullying your kid? How did you handle it?