It must make you feel so good to have the power to make someone cry, to make them cower, to take treasured items away, or to threaten physical pain. Maybe there’s some truth in the refrain about “hurting the ones you love.”
I was an easy target for years. I took the blame and the brunt of the wrath, along with the angry glares and the hand raised to strike only to stop dramatically in mid-air so that I could be grateful that you didn’t go through with it. But I was a big girl – an adult. I could take it. Until I couldn’t anymore.
Children don’t have that luxury. Parents are supposed to protect, nurture, and educate their children, aren’t they? Is “intimidate” somewhere in that list of parental duties? As our children get older are we supposed to remind them occasionally by threatening or actually inflicting physical punishment that we are still “stronger and tougher”? I don’t think so.
I also don’t think it is right to tell your child “you’re ruining my life” no matter what they muttered under their breath, to themselves. Grounding him to his room, and removing the door to his room, for an indefinite period of time is not the logical consequence for an action that really isn’t a punishable offense in the first place.
It’s already hard enough being part of a blended family. If a child feels like he has no allies in the household, save maybe the dog, it is so much tougher.
It feels awful for me only to be able to provide him with some words of encouragement and advice. I’ve prodded and gently questioned him to see just how bad it is. Sometimes it seems like it’s going to be OK and you’re actually trying to be a good father. And then you regress back into the bully behavior that seems to give you some kind of comfort or confidence. So I’m listening and waiting his call for help, and when that call comes I’ll be there. You will protest and whine and make plenty of hollow, dramatic threats, I’m sure. But if I get my way, you won’t have this child to push around anymore.
A reformed bully target