You might notice a mother pressuring the soccer coach into giving her toddler extra playing time, but might not consider her aggressive tactics as bullying. When the mother of your child’s ballet class buddy fights for her child to star in the dance recital, it might seem like normal mother behavior -- maybe even a bit humorous. While there's nothing wrong with advocating for your child, moms need to be careful not to cross the line into bullying. Bullying is defined as repeated use of exclusion, manipulation or control to threaten, attack, humiliate or scare another person into action, according to the website Stopbullying.gov.
1. Bullying Their Children
Mothers who bully their children often have good intentions gone awry, according to a study published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma. Bullying mothers might believe they are building a healthy relationship with their children based on guidance and direction, but they might become overly controlling and overbearing or try to motivate their children through intimidation. They might shame their children into behaving or belittle them for minor missteps. Aggressive or bullying parenting tactics might be traced back to a mother's deep sense of personal responsibility for raising moral, cooperative and respectable little citizens.
2. Teachers or Coaches
While bullying tactics are a problem usually associated with school-aged children, your child’s Little League coach or preschool teacher is probably not immune to bullying mothers. According to a publication on the National Association of Secondary School Principals website, difficult or bullying parents often struggle with feelings of disrespect or might feel that no one is willing to listen to them. These feelings could affect mothers of preschoolers as easily as mothers of older children. Mothers raising preschoolers might feel out of control or inadequate to raise their unruly children. They might engage in personal attacks when they hear their child had to sit in time out or might pressure a teacher into giving their child preferential treatment. While their bullying tactics might come from feelings of frustration, they are no less distressing to the teacher or coach on the receiving end.
3. Other Parents
Sometimes it might seem like moms who spend a lot of time with small children start acting like small children. A small exclusive group of moms might huddle together outside of your daughter’s preschool class, discussing playgroups or birthday parties that you weren’t invited to. A discussion at a parent meeting might turn into a monologue, as one overbearing mom refuses to let anyone else get a word in. Moms who bully other parents might struggle with feelings of jealousy towards another child.
4. Cyber Bullying
A normally timid mother might find discover confidence when behind a computer screen and decide to fight back towards a mother who hurt her child’s feelings or embarrassed her at the playground. The anonymity granted to online encounters might make the perpetrator more difficult to identify, but it could be devastating to victims. The National Science Foundation reports online bullying is a problem plaguing people of all ages. A bullying mom might target a stranger who openly disagreed with her message posted in an online forum about extended breastfeeding or band with several other moms to bully another adult on social media.
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