29 answers

My Nephew Is a bully...any Suggestion Please

my 10 year old nephew that I am raising has had a rough life, but the last two years has lived with my husband, kids and me. he has always been very rude and hateful with everyone. I had lunch at school the other day and walked into him screaming at another kid. he bully's my 3 year old. (ie. shuts doors in his face, jurks his arms and very mouthy) this is just some of the things. I really need help with this. has anyone had to experience this with their kids or family. I don't know where to begin to get him to be a different person than what he is use to being, or to stop being a bully. I have threatened to whip him and have punished him numerous times over this...Any help will be appreciated....thanks,

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So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone who responded to my request. My nephew lived with my mom until she passed in December 2007 and then he lived with his natural mother then he was taken by CPS and placed with me. So far my husband has had a talk with him and all is calm for now. I have started counseling and went to two sections so far. If all stays the same as it is right now. we will be doing great. I just have to put my faith in GOD and let him guide me with my decisions for my family and what is best for us. Thank you all who have responded, I appreciate it! 8<)

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My friend took on her husband's niece. One thing that helped her with dealing with living with another family where she all of a sudden had two "siblings" was counseling. She still struggles and wants to see her mom, but knows that Aunt and Uncle are doing what is best for her.

Something else that might help is giving him consequences that are not whoopin's but removal of priviledges.

I would first set down with yoru husband and make a list of behavior that he has that you like and behavior that you don't like. I would then have an appropriate discipline to go with it. For example if he has a video game he likes if he is mouth to you give no warning, take the video game away for a week. Let him know up front that bullying is unexceptable and will not be tolerated anymore. Second-you have to stick with the punishment! Everyone has to stick with the punishment. Also, tell him he can be removed from the school for bullying. Most schools now have a no tolerance rule for bullying.

Hi D.,

I agree with the others. It sounds like some counseling would help. Also, you might try setting some time aside when things are good (like not in the middle of a flare up) and talk to him. He's a big boy. Ask him questions. Ask him why he does it. Ask what he would think of some one who treated him the way he treats others. Ask him how he would like it if he was treated that way. Really take time to listen and hear what he says. Try to validate his feelings even if it's only to say some thing like "Let's see if we can find someone to help you communicate better and you to feel safe here." It sounds to me like some of the classic, "Will you still love me if I do this?" behavior.

Good luck!!

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D., If you can, try to get some help for your nephew. Someone for him to talk to. If you can't afford it, there may be free services. You or your husband may not be the one who can get through to him. He may have heard or seen a lot before he came to be with you, I am not sure. But if he did, this may be in his system and he just needs to learn it is not acceptable. I am not a professional, so I won't even begin to tell you what you should do on your own. I have a nephew with ADHD and some other problems that add to the mix. You can't believe a word he says and to him NO means Maybe. This I will say is my sisters fault. Instead of dealing with his temper tantrums when she told him no, she would evetually give in. She had little money, but if he wanted a $200 baseball bat, he got it, even if it meant not paying for something else. He is now 21 and is NOT a functional adult. I can't count on 2 hands the number of jobs he has had. If I would have had to take him in and raise him at age 9, I don't think I could have with his behavior. I wish you luck and hope things work out for you.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like your nephew has been traumatized. Anger is a symptom of the problem. Anger/rage always surrounds trauma. Behind the anger lies the wound or hurt. Being a Christian who has been emotionally healed from hurts, I know personally that turning to Jesus and letting him in is the only way to true healing and getting to the source of the trauma which is usually locked away. I don't know your or his spiritual state, but that's the best place to start. Asking Jesus for help. He promises to heal all hurts. Outside of the that, regular counseling may help locate the pain, but healing is not a given. Healing happens through acknowledgement of the pain and forgiveness/letting go. And it's usually hard to forgive without the Lord's help.

If you are a Christian pray and ask God for wisdom. If not, practically speaking, try to have your nephew open up about his past in order to locate the hurts. There are ways to do that by asking questions. But without Jesus you're walking blindly.

In any case you'll have to watch him carefully, since he acts out against others in the family.

I hope this helps. God bless you. \
S.

Do you really want to raise your child with a bully or someone that harrasses and taunts your child leaving your 2 boys with no self esteem or confidence in themselves. I had a nephew like that and the best thing I ever did was to get away from that. I don't know why you have custody of your nephew but I would think really hard about putting him somewhere else in my own boys best interest.
I don't know what to do. Sometimes I think it is just in the genes. But if he doesn't settle down and learn his lesson now, he will get kicked out of school and/or sent to a correctional school because there is a "no bullying" policy in the school system now. I don't know that they really regulate that 100%, don't know how they could, BUT I know that if he was yelling or bullying my child I would be at that school every day raising 'you know what' till they did something about it and if it were really bad and I couldn't get anything done about it, I would seek higher help, maybe even an attorney.
It sounds like he may need some kind of medication to zonk him out if he can't behave. I think that I would seek a psychiatrist and get him on some kind of medication. I don't normally like that but if I had a bully around my kids, especially one that I would get into trouble for and wasn't sain enough to understand, I wouldn't hesitate.....along with working on how to get him out of my house and away from my kids.
Good luck.....

Have you sought counseling for him? This doesn't sound like your typical behavior problem. It sounds a little like Attachment Disorder.(look it up online) Obvioulsy he is living with you because he was neglected. Poor thing. Also that you put you were stressed in a little about me kinda makes me worry about you. That stress can wear you down. I feel for you. Big hug and good luck.

if regular punishment isn't having a response maybe you need to stop focusing on the bad behavior and start rewarding good behavior. Any time he's being good, playing quietly, not being mean to the younger kids (even if its just a moment), draw his attention to it. Tell him how good he is or how proud you are of him. Even thing he does right, reward him either with praise, extra tv time, an outing somewhere just for him. Devise a system that works for you.It'll be hard to catch him being good at first but hopefully it will soon get easier. He may feel like he's being yelled at all the time or that he's not as loved as your real kids. Positive reinforcement, while sometimes harder, can have much better results than negative reinforcement. Besides that, for some kids any kind of attention, even yelling and punishment, is better than no attention.

Find him an outlet..kick boxing is great.Talk to the school couselor.He maybe lashing out for some reason also.Talk to your local police about bullying and see if they would talk to your nephew.Sounds like you need to use tough love on this boy.Tell him if things dont changed and you cant handle it then he will have to go into foster care because your kids need protection from him.

As the mother of a bullying victim you need to stops this NOW before he does do harm to your children or to someone else...good luck

You can get the school counselor to look at him, talk to him, sometimes that helps. But there are a few things that it could be. It could be food related, food allergies, it could be ADD, Aspergers. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications if he feels he needs it so I would take him there. It may be his rough life welling up and coming out in ways even he can't control or understand. And the stress it puts on your family is not healthy either.

So have him tested for food allergies & then seek a psychiatrist that can evaluate him. Best of luck to you. You are wonderful to take him in.

You didn't mention this in your post, but if you know he has had a rough life, have you provided him with any form of counseling? Children are resilient, but there are still things that your nephew may not know how to work through, especially since it appears that his parents are not in the picture. I know that children whose parents have failed them in some way tend to have a tremendous amount of anger. They will direct either at themselves or at everyone around them or both. Even if you and your family have provided him with everything he needs to be happy, he probably needs to have a professional work with him to overcome whatever is at the root of his anger. You and your husband may also want to attend counseling to find effective ways of working with your nephew so you can help teach him to control himself and trust others. This is not to say that you guys are doing anything wrong, and I think it's wonderful that you are able to take him into your family like you have, but sometimes we all need a little extra hand. Best of luck to you all!

I am guessing that this child has had a hard life this far. The first thing ( iwould do) is get he into counsoling
he needs help to learn why he is feeling like he needs to push everyone around. It may have something to do with his past that he needs to learn how to deal with in a better way. You have got the look out for the younger ones, you can't make there childhood be turned upside down because of the older childs behavior. They deserve to have a good loving childhood like you and your husband had planed. You really need to get outside help so that you all can live in a happy family. I bet if you don't get the older boy under control in a little while the other two will follow right along. I have seen it with my two youngest. The 10 yr. Old is mouthy and hateful. Yet very loveing when not having a fit. Now his 8 yr. Old sister has decided to give it a try. Not gonna happen i i can help it, i am looking for a good therypist for him. We fight a lot. Holler and scream at each other. I am not going to let him continue to disrupt everyone else. Good luck. Mom of seven, R.

Dear D.,
I am so sorry to hear of the problems you are having with your nephew. It is most important that you get some outside, professional help. A good therapist can help your nephew find more productive ways of coping with his hurt and anger. He more than likely feels abandoned by his own parents and knows he doesn't really fit in with your family. He craves positive attention but doesn't know how to get it so he will take negative attention. This situation will get worse as he gets older and bigger if he doesn't get help now. If he had a broken arm you would take him to a doctor. He has a broken spirit and needs a professional to help him. He is not mentally ill but he does have a condition that can be treated. I recommend either the Psychology Today website or therapistlocater.net to find a qualified practioner in your area. Ask if the therapist specializes in working with children and adolescents.
Good luck,
L. M.

I would first set down with yoru husband and make a list of behavior that he has that you like and behavior that you don't like. I would then have an appropriate discipline to go with it. For example if he has a video game he likes if he is mouth to you give no warning, take the video game away for a week. Let him know up front that bullying is unexceptable and will not be tolerated anymore. Second-you have to stick with the punishment! Everyone has to stick with the punishment. Also, tell him he can be removed from the school for bullying. Most schools now have a no tolerance rule for bullying.

I am guessing since you have custody of him something stressful has happened in his life. I agree that the bullying has to stop. I would talk to his teachers and counselors about the behaviors. He may need to go to a therapist to be able to work through things. The other thing that comes to mind is when my sons were younger we were having a really rough run of days with not listening, doing things that they were told not to do, etc... I finally got to the end of my patience and spanked both of my little boys, 6 and 2, and sent them to thier room. After a while I went to check on them and they told me I was a MEAN BULLY! I was shocked to have been called a bully since I am a very easy going and usually nice person. At first I just chalked it up to the boys being mad that I spanked them. But it just bothered me that they thought I was a bully. When my husband came home I told him about what happened. He said if another child had behaved in the same way what would you say? I thought about that and sadly had to agree that I had behaved as a bully, using force to get what I wanted. I am not saying that you should not discipline your children, but sometimes using physical force won't achieve desired results. We have personally found that taking away objects or priveleges does more to achieve the desired behavior.

Your school system may have counselors in place to help you. The other thing is to have rules and consequences in place and stick to them. Good Luck

You may need to have him see a therapist and do some anger management classes as well.

get him in to visit a therapist soon. ask your ped about some in your area good luck to you

Hi D.,

I agree with the others. It sounds like some counseling would help. Also, you might try setting some time aside when things are good (like not in the middle of a flare up) and talk to him. He's a big boy. Ask him questions. Ask him why he does it. Ask what he would think of some one who treated him the way he treats others. Ask him how he would like it if he was treated that way. Really take time to listen and hear what he says. Try to validate his feelings even if it's only to say some thing like "Let's see if we can find someone to help you communicate better and you to feel safe here." It sounds to me like some of the classic, "Will you still love me if I do this?" behavior.

Good luck!!

Maybe try some counseling. He must have some deep issues and needs to vent them to someone other then family. It helped my son very much. He had some issues after living with his Dad for a year. Took some time but it all worked out in the end and he is now 24 years old and in the Army National Guard and doing very well. My prayers are with your family.

You need to get a game plan. Make a list of all of the behaviors that you want to stop. Pick one behavior at a time and start working on it. For the first behavior pick the one that bothers you the most. Sit him down and have a face to face talk. This behavior (the first behavior you choose) is going to stop right now. Decide ahead of time your consequences and rewards. This is going to be the consequence the first time you do it. This is going to be the consequence the second time you do it. This is going to be the consequence if you continue to do it. This is going to be your reward on Saturday if you can stop doing it for one week. This is going to be your reward if you stop doing it for two weeks. This is going to be your reward for not doing it for a month. At the end of the month pick another behavior that you want to stop and repeat. Keep doing it until you no longer have a bully living in your home.

I would not say one word to the school. There are a lot of bullies in the school and he may not be bad enough yet to be on their radar. Once you label your nephew as a bully it will be in his school record and it will follow him forever. If the school contacts YOU about it then I would utilize the school counselor. Your nephew has lived in your home for two years. This is your problem to address.

If he came to live with you there must have been a problem where he was living. He may have issues that he needs to discuss with a therapist. Talk to your pediatrician about a therapist for your nephew. Or call your local Child Advocacy Center for names. Ask the pediatrician or the Child Advocacy Center for the names of 3 of the best children's therapists in town. Go to check them out without your nephew and decide which one you think would be good fit for your nephew.

he might be doing this for attenion . if he has had a hard life to this point may be if possbile take time for one on one time with him maybe this will help a lot of kidds do this because it is the only way that they think you will notice them

Many schools have adopted zero tolerance to bullying rules, you may want to speak to the school counselor about the issue. The counselor should help you find a therapist/counselor within the school system or resources department to talk with him as it sounds he could use some therapy. It would also help having the teachers reinforce the "no bullying" rule. He needs help, and I think the school should be able to help you.

I would start with the school counselor.
It is free.

P

Read this:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/fcs505.pdf
And also do some family regrouping and redefining. THink about what you value and what you want your family to stand for...write a family mission statement together. Call family meeting. See:http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/Benke/fcs-521-03_web.pdf
and
http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/parenting/family_miss...

Regroup and redefine! GOod luck

You need professional help---get to a family therapist or child psychologist ASAP. You will have to learn to be different to help him be different, and different isn't easy. Anybody can tell you how to be different, but you will need help and support over time in the process of being different. He apparently needs counselling too--to learn different ways to deal with his understandable anger at what has happened to him. But don't go this alone. Get support from everyone you can, but get a professional coach (therapist) to help you through this. GOOD LUCK,and God bless you for trying to help you nephew.

My friend took on her husband's niece. One thing that helped her with dealing with living with another family where she all of a sudden had two "siblings" was counseling. She still struggles and wants to see her mom, but knows that Aunt and Uncle are doing what is best for her.

Something else that might help is giving him consequences that are not whoopin's but removal of priviledges.

Leslie D. has some wonderful suggestions that I hope you are able to implement. My husband is a school counselor at an elementary school, and while he is not able to the kind of in-depth counseling that your nephew and family need to help him, he is able to help children cope better with issues at school, whether they're struggling with shyness or divorcing parents. Don't hesitate to use all the resources available to you. The school counselor may have some good recommendations for counselors in your area.

I saw that medication was recommended as a possibility by someone. That would be a misguided attempt at making the problem go away instead of getting to the root of the problem and helping your nephew. If he truly needs medication it can be used, but even so I would recommend extreme caution as many cases of children reacting violently on antidepressants have been documented. Medicating a child (or anyone for that matter) to make them more manageable will just contribute to arrested development with an inability to cope with life challenges and make them more anti-social and dangerous in the future.

It's wonderful to see a family willing to take a child who hasn't had a good family life into a loving home. I'm sure there will be lots of times when punishment of some form is needed, but please remember that any chance you get to give positive reinforcement and affection will be what really bring about change. A good counselor will be able to help you learn how to do that :)

My daughter went through something like this. She spent the summer with her dad and step-mom about three years ago and when she came home it is awful!
I actually put her into counseling and found out that some days she would just wake up MAD because that is how everyone in that house was all the time.
Her counselor taught her about stress and some good ways of dealing with it. We also explained that she would never have to be in the situation to live like that (in a constant angry environment).
It was a day and night difference.

I hope this helps and good luck.

It seems that threatening him may not be the solution. You might try to find someone to councel him or if possible maybe a therapist to try to find out why he is so angry. I wish you all the best in finding a solution to this problem. God Bless you and your family.

Carol

Sounds like he may feel abandoned and unwanted. See if you can get him in for counseling. Ask your school for referrals.

I googled and found this place that says it is affordable Putnam Counseling Center
3430 Teays Valley Rd
Hurricane, WV 25526
###-###-####

I also found a Church Angel Christian Counselors Directory for West Virginia and they had a listing for NEW HOPE CHRISTIAN COUNSELING ###-###-####
1208 6TH AVENUE, HUNTINGTON WV 25701

Spanking or whipping doesn't seem like a good idea, although I totally understand the frustration leading to it, because it tries to stop the behavior with the same exact type of behavior.

Also, it might be a good idea for you and your husband to each spend some time alone with each of your 3 children. Maybe at least once a month, you could spend time alone with each of your children and your husband could also. With your nephew, since he is older, maybe you could ask him what he would like to do. You and your husband could also take him to do something with you and the 3 yr old.

I hope things improve for you soon.

A few possible considerations:
1. The child does not understand his behavior any more than you do. It is a waste of your time and an additonal frustration for him if you ask him why he is behaving like this.
2. Do some background investigation to get the whole story. Is he like this at school? If so whom does he pick on and when? Take notes as you talk to the teacher. Do the same for teachers he has had in the past.
3. Ask around, including the school personnel, for good counselors that work with the entire family. This is not to say that the family is a fault, but all of the family members may have to alter their behavior to help the child.
4. Bring the notes from the school counselor and meet with several outside counselors to find the one you like the best. This is time well invested. This will have to be done outside of school. School counselors do not have the time nor training to conduct family counseling.
5. Consider seriously signing papers that will allow the outside counselor to talk with the school counselor and the teacher. You have to trust that the outside counselor and school personnel will handle this information exchange with a professional attitude. Allowing these folks to talk to each other will speed up the process of this young man getting better. It will give him the solid message that all of the adults that know & love him are on the same page, and that they will control & direct what happens.
6. Do not overlook the value of taking notes yourself about what happens at home. The child should not know that you are doing this. Create a simple chart and include: date, time of day, location, people involved, what happened immediately before the bullying, reaction of each of the people involved. THis will feel like a waste of time and a pain to do; however, it will open your eyes to exactly what is going on. IT will also give you a baseline of the behavior. Once you begin to implement interventions suggested by the counselor you will want to monitor results of the intervention. You need a baseline to do this. (This baseline is kind of like making yourself get on the scales before you start the diet and then to step on the scales as you diet. It gives you feedback.) Don't be suprised if the behavior gets worse before it gets better. The child that is the bully will not like the idea that he is losing his ability to control and to bully and will resist by acting worse. Stay the course with the intervention while the child works through this.
7. Give yourself a break. You are doing a wonderful thing for this young man. In the process you are facing adversity and perhaps losing the support of friends and family members. Give yourself credit for what you are attempting to do......Effort counts, even if the results are frustrating.
8. I am a Christain. I always combine my problem solutions with prayer. Have a nice holiday. L.

My nephew went through the same thing. His parents went through a divorce. He and his sisters were bounced around and to him it seemed like no one wanted him. With counseling, love and a lot of time. He's gotten better. He lives with my parents along with his sisters. It's hard on kids to deal with grown-up problems. Talk to him maybe he feels like you might not want him either. Let him know no matter what happens your not going anywhere. Start making him apologize to everyone he hurts even at school. Have the teacher work with you. It's a hard road but with counseling and work it will get easier. Good luck your in my thoughts and prayers.

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