siblings arguing

Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT, Counselor’s Corner – When we think of bullying, we think of a big kid beating up on a smaller one or kids harassing one another online.

Sadly, it also happens within our own homes; however, we may be so used to it that we consider it of no consequence. Who bullies children in their own homes?  Siblings can, as well as even their own parents.  In my private counseling practice, children of all ages often confide that their parents get in their face and yell at them sometimes telling them they are worthless or just like your sister or even wish I’d never had you.  Granted the child did something wrong and probably needed a consequence, but the consequence can be given in a fairly normal tone of voice and without humiliating or demeaning the child.  Making a child feel worthless will only worsen the situation and cause them to act worthless!

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By Sharon Scott, LPC LMFT
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Sharon is the author of eight award-winning books including four on the topic of peer pressure.

The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.

 

Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and co-authored with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun. Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.

I recall these statements by some of the clients in my private counseling practice:

A 19 year old said that he was often compared with his older sister who got into serious trouble using drugs (He said, I’ve never used drugs. The comparison hurt him deeply.)

A 15 year girl said that her father had got right in her face and yelled at her that she’s ruined his life due to some poor choices she made An 11 year old who says his older brother regularly told him he’s stupid and gay. This boy is neither and doesn’t understand why the brother would say this’he’s actually a gentle soul who’s been really hurt by this badgering.

Children should be taught to be respectful by our examples. This includes treating waiters, other drivers, neighbors, etc. with kindness and respect. Also we don’t have to yell at children to get them to act responsibly. Often we yell/fuss/remind/fume/lecture/reprimand/nag to no avail,and we wonder why it doesn’t work. A 1-sentence consequence stated firmly, Since you did (misbehavior) , then your consequence is (loss of privilege) for (days), and followed through will help children to learn to act more responsibly and follow rules.

Talk and more talk just doesn’t work. And should you notice your children calling each other bad names” regularly or hitting one another or other bullying behavior, you should stop it with the same discipline sentence. Loss of privileges could be many things: TV, computer, video games, riding bike, coloring, swimming, use of telephone, free time, driving the car, visiting friends, etc.  Make sure you use a consequence that matches with the severity of the misbehavior,don’t overkill with the loss of the most important privilege for small misbehaviors. And consistency is the key!

(Editor’s Note: Sharon Scott has some excellent award-winning books for children and teens’they would make excellent summer reading. They include How to Say No and Keep Your Friends and When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends for teens. And for elementary-age children there are five books that each teach a valuable living skill including Too Smart for Trouble, Life’s Not Always Fair: Managing Emotions and Nicholas” Values: A Child’s Guide to Character Education. Her books are very readable for kids! See www.hrdpress.com/sharonscott )

Copyright © 2010, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.

P.S. Please see my other column SmileNotes.

 

 

Sharon Scott

Sharon Scott

Sharon is the author of eight award-winning books including four on the topic of peer to peer pressure.

The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.

Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!

A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.

Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.
Sharon Scott

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