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We’ve all witnessed children or teenagers disrespecting their parents: They yell at them, curse at them, and even hit them. You may shake your head, cancel playdates, or forbid your children from hanging out with such a terror, but the problem is bigger than you think: Kids who bully their parents are everywhere.
When I wrote When Kids Call the Shots, I thought I was writing about a small group of children and teens I was seeing in my psychotherapy practice. Since the book was published, I’ve received hundreds of calls, emails, and letters from parents. My workshops about undoing bullying behaviors at home are in demand, and the book has been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Russian.
Sean Grover, is a psychotherapist, author, and public speaker with more than 20 years experience working with adults and children. A skilled and inspiring speaker, Grover leads hundreds of therapy groups in his practice, in addition to monthly workshops in clinics, medical centers, youth organizations, and schools.Grover began his clinical career as a school social worker in some of the most notorious and gang-ridden areas of New York City.
Editor: Arman Ahmed
I’ve written at length here about bullying behaviors in children that occur at home (3 Types of Children Who Bully Their Parents; 3 Errors Parents Make When Their Own Kids Bully Them; 3 Reasons Why Parents Let Their Kids Bully Them). And I’ve explored the complex reasons that result in parents failing to provide structure, set limits, and teach boundaries.
Now I want to examine what happens when these bullying behaviors in childhood go unchecked, look at who pays the price, and discuss what to do about them.
The Consequences of Unaddressed Bullying at Home
When parents fail to resolve bullying behaviors at home, the negative consequences spill out into the world. A child who bullies his or her parents brings these negative traits into all of their relationships:
- An excessive hunger for instant gratification.
- Poor frustration tolerance.
- Lack of impulse control.
- Ingrained narcissism.
- Little empathy or compassion for others.
- No interest in altruistic or charitable activities.
- Impaired social relationships.
- Potentially violent and abusive behaviors toward peers.