I need to begin by saying no, I don’t think my child is perfect. He’s four years old and he has good days and bad days and even awful days. This post isn’t about his behavior, but I’m certainly aware that he can misbehave. He’s a good kid with a good heart. He’s hilarious and witty and sharp as a tac. What he isn’t is terrible and awful.
That being said, he was bullied by another mom for longer than I care to admit. I just couldn’t accept that this was actually happening. I ran her behavior past my parents, friends, husband; I kept getting the same response of run like hell. But I didn’t and it was a mistake. I continued to give her the benefit of the doubt; that there was no way she was unaware of her own behavior to the point of bullying a young child. Kids that bully aren’t as resourceful–they almost always act like jerks. But adult bullies know the name of the game and they are the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So sadly, my son loved his bully, although he also knew that ‘she thinks I’m a bad boy, Mommy’. What a terrible mixed message I allowed from a meanie-disguised-as-my-friend.
If you’ve ever had to put up with the following, you might be dealing with a mom bully, aka Mully, too (note, this Mully also has some Sanctimommy tendencies, but this isn’t always the case):
Everyone Else Notices Too. It’s not just you wondering why she’s always picking out your child’s behavior, or blaming him for things he didn’t do, or making him feel small when he does make a mistake. Most other parents will allow you space to reprimand your child’s behavior, but the adult bully will rudely comment and then continue to remind their child of your child’s bad behavior. Right in front of your face. Since bullies think they are smarter than everyone else, she’ll think she’s safe under the mommy radar, but no one is fooled. She will make crass comments about all children: strangers, yours, her own. You will leave play dates feeling like you should have said something, but equally uncomfortable saying something. Unfortunately, this is how bullies get away with their behavior.
Your Child Can’t Win For Losing. She won’t cut him slack, even if he’s sick with a fever or missing a digit that day. He’s expected to be 100% all of the time and she’ll gladly call him out even when he’s down. She’ll ask you with an attitude “what’s WITH him today” or just shake her head in disapproval, A LOT. Oddly, she won’t keep her own kid from playing with yours, she’ll just comment on what a bad friend your kid is for not wanting to play with hers (but she’ll allow excessive tattling, so your kid might get tired of that). She’ll even tell her own child that yours doesn’t like him, just to perpetuate the notion of her perfection. She’ll literally hurt her own child’s feelings just to prove a point to herself, because no one else is buying what she’s selling.
Your Child Is Apologizing Constantly But Her’s Never Is. Forgive my use of an example, I know it looks like finger-pointing, but it’s hard to make a solid point with loose ideas. She won’t make her child apologize to yours, even when he chokes your son with two hands in an elevator. Not. Even. Then. But your kid will be saying ‘I’m sorry’ each and every time he takes a breath around hers. She’ll make excuses for her child when there’s just no way to blame her kids behavior on yours. Things like ‘I know he STOLE that from you’ and ‘I saw him instigate that’ right before she whispers ever so gently to her offspring ‘but please don’t hit’. It will always be your child’s fault and his place to apologize, no matter what. Your child won’t deserve an apology even when he gets strangled by her child–that’s not how bullies operate. But be prepared to apologize for lightly brushing past her child, because if you don’t, she’ll remind all of your friends that you never make your child apologize.
You Will Google Things Like “What do I do When my Friend Hates My Kid” And hopefully, you’ll find the word bully, like I did (jut maybe faster). I finally had a word for this woman’s behavior. She’s a bully and I let her bully my little son. I’m mostly angry with myself, so do yourself a favor and run like hell. It doesn’t change. I tried SEVERAL approaches, including outright conversation and it never changed a thing. Until I removed my son from her path, we were bullied. Of course, when we weren’t around, some other poor kid got blamed, but my son was her child of choice. Maybe because he’s tall and blonde and smart and well-spoken and sweet and funny and awesome. Maybe that’s why. Either way, we ran the other way and our lives have been a sigh of relief ever since. Never again will I stand make excuses for a jerk disguised as my friend.
Bullying by an adult can happen at home, school–anywhere really. That may sound trite, and it did to me as well, until it happened to us. I fought for a long time to make things work because I wanted it to be untrue. I didn’t want to accept that a friend could treat my child in such an unkind way. If you are questioning the way your friend, teacher, or family members behavior toward your child, something is likely wrong. Children are awesome, little, and learning. They should be treated with respect and courtesy, even when they make mistakes. Your real friends love your children even when they don’t like them.
Have you ever had to deal with a Mully? Or a family member or friend who is unkind to your child?