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197: Bullying and Badgering Behavior – Back-to-School Series

By August 16, 2022November 7th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
Bullying and Badgering Behavior - Back-to-School Series

Our theme for the rest of the month is Bullies, Boundaries, and Back-to-School and I have something kind of fun in store. I’m going to feature social media posts from my Strong-Willed Kids group, which are parents of strong-willed kids. And there’s maybe 5,000 people in this group, and sometimes I’ll into the group, and I’ll just read posts by the parents. Because I just want to see what people are struggling with currently. I’ve read scenarios here before, and for the next several episodes I’ll be reading more, unpacking them, and sharing some tips.

We’re starting off the series with a huge topic, one we hear a lot about, especially as kids go back to school. Bullying and Badgering. So, in this episode I’m going to feature some posts, help define bullying and badgering, and then I’ll talk about how to approach the behaviors when they show up in our kids. So much of Mastermind Parenting is digging into the core reasons why these behaviors are appearing, understanding why, then using strategies to help encourage different behaviors. It’s important to get to the root first, then we can clean and bandage things appropriately.

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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My name’s Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 97. Well, hi guys, welcome to August this month, our theme is Bullies Boundaries and Back to School and I have something kind of fun in store. So I’m going to feature posts, social media posts by a mom that will call Marie.

So there’s a, a strong Willed Kids group, parents of strong willed kids. And there’s like, I don’t know, maybe 5,000 people in this group. And sometimes I I’ll go on social media and I’ll just read posts by the parents. Cause I just wanna see what people are struggling with. I’ve read scenarios here before, and there’s this one mom that we’re gonna call Marie that I’ve been noticing over the last several months and her post. I, I chimed in on one of the posts. She’s not really, she’s not interested in, in, in truly getting help.

(1m 29s):
She thinks she is, but she’s really not. And so I just find her kind of fascinating. I guess I’m studying her because I know she’s in pain and I know her life sort of feels terrible. It sounds terrible. I have to say it sounds terrible. I think it feels terrible. There are a lot of people just generous. People who show up and they comment. There are some people who comment who are just saying extremely unhelpful things. And then there’s a lot of people who are just like, you know, showing up in solidarity like me too. It’s like that in my house too, to send Marie the message.

(2m 11s):
And those seem like those are the messages that make her feel better the most like, like you’re not the only one kind of thing. Like I like let’s commiserate in the terribleness of both of our households. So it seems like that not alone message seems to make Marie feel better. Anyone chiming in with tools or tips to clear the chaos of her household. She has, she always has a yeah, but yeah, but I work. Yeah. But my partner does this, this and this.

(2m 51s):
Yeah. But my kid has this diagnosis. Yeah. But so all the, yeah. Buts tell me that she’s just not in a mindset or in a place where she can receive, she can receive honest feedback or she’s open to trying something new. She’s just in too dark, a place. And so I saved a lot of her posts and I I’m gonna break them up into our segments for this month. And I just thought this is a good way. I think, to kind of dissect Marie’s situation and, and, and really what’s going on, not from a place of Marie is a mess and we can feel better about ourselves from a place of isn’t it interesting.

(3m 43s):
And haven’t so many of us been in, you know, in, in some, I don’t know, like we’re all more like than we’re different. And I wanna kind of point out that what Marie is going through. I think many of us have gone through aspects of this same situation. She’s just kind of the extreme version. Okay. So let me read some of Marie’s posts for our episode today. Okay. Here’s one, OMG, does the incessant nagging and demanding ever end, like literally if my children want something or want me to do something, they literally will not stop until it’s done no matter how long it takes.

(4m 30s):
And I, and if I don’t do it, they constantly demand it. So then they miss out. So then the nagging and demanding literally never stops until I’m literally about to scream because I can’t take it anymore. Okay. Next post. Anyone know of any games that I can play with a four and an eight year old to teach them how to wait. Both expect everything. Now in all caps, neither can wait even a minute. Neither can wait their term for a toy or to talk, etcetera. Either. I’ve been trying for years to teach them to wait with no luck.

(5m 12s):
Next post. Clearly I failed at teaching my eight year old to respect other people’s personal Boundaries. When he was younger, sad face, I thought I had, I mean, it’s something we’ve always talked about, et cetera. He has never all caps been good at stopping when the other person tells him though, I’ve tried to address this over the years, but didn’t really know how everyone I asked said, oh, it’s just consistency and repetition, which I did, but that hasn’t stopped the behavior. Anyway. Now he’s eight. How do I fix this example? If he’s climbing on me and I tell him to stop because it’s hurting me or I’ve had enough, how do I get him to stop the first time?

(5m 55s):
As opposed to having to be told numerous times and him just continuing next post. Any tips on getting my possible ADHD child who’s eight and his brother who has now copied him. Who’s four to stop interrupting people. My eldest has done it for years with no end in sight. I tried a talking stick, but it didn’t really work as the four year old didn’t understand what he was meant to do. Plus how does the person with the talking stick, know who wants to talk next? I’ve tried getting them to touch my arm. If they wanna talk, when I’m talking, it doesn’t really work because it’s like he doesn’t even hear that someone else is already talking.

(6m 38s):
I’m repeatedly saying my son’s name. Another person was talking, please wait. But I, but I have been doing this consistently for years and nothing has changed. I’m really sick of constantly being interrupted and talked over the top of my husband. And I have literally resorted to texting each other from the same room, because be before, because we can barely have a conversation. It also shows me that he’s not listening for an example tonight. I asked him to look at me. I said his name and I began to give him an instruction halfway through my sentence. He said, mom.

(7m 18s):
And he started trying to tell me something completely unrelated to the instruction. I was in the middle of giving him the four year old has copied. So now generally I have two children talking over me and each other all the time. Okay. Here’s another one. My husband just lets our children demand things over and over and over and over again. And he reacts every single time. He gets more and more and more frustrated until he ends up yelling. And then he gives them what they were demanding just to make them stop. He literally cannot ignore the demands. The constant demanding is continuing and getting worse. My husband doesn’t listen to me.

(7m 60s):
So he’ll just continue to do what he’s doing. So do I start doing the same thing? So at least we’re consistent, even though it’s just making it worse. Okay. There’s, there’s a couple more, any tips on getting my four year old to play in his room. When he wakes up at 5:00 AM on the weekends, as opposed to waking up the rest of the house, he comes into our room demanding to watch TV. Then he goes into his brother’s room and wakes him up during the week. Neither child will get up and we have to wake them both and then have a battle to leave the house on time. But on the weekends, the four year old is back up at the crack of Dawn sad face. Baby gate doesn’t work. He just kicks it until it rips off the wall and falls down.

(8m 44s):
Okay, here’s the last post? Why is nothing ever good enough? For example, we told the kids we’re going scootering, but no, instead they demanded bikes. I don’t have have a bike carrier on my car. So I explained that and said, we would do bikes another time and scooters today, but they would not stop on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on whining, demanding, screaming for what they wanted until I was about to scream. So now we’re sitting at home all day instead dealing with the tantrums, et cetera. And their behavior always gets worse when they don’t get enough exercise. If they don’t get exactly what they want when they want that, it’s the rest of the day.

(9m 28s):
And the rest of the day is ruined. They all caps will not let it go. The eight year old explodes and now the four year old copies him, but I don’t want to pander to their every demand. Okay. So what is the theme? The theme, all that demanding and demanding and demanding and demanding is what I refer to as Badgering behavior. Okay. So here’s the definition. According to Webster’s dictionary, Badgering to Badgering, to harass or annoy persistently, okay.

(10m 11s):
To harass or annoy persistently. So kids that Badgering to harass and annoy consistently, it’s actually a form of Bullying. And I explained to parents all the time when you’re breaking the pattern of this Badgering demanding behavior, we have to number one, get to the root of the Badgering behavior. Okay. You know how we’ve all heard that the Bullies are actually the people in the most pain.

(10m 53s):
It’s just hard to have compassion and empathy for people that harass and annoy you or people who are mean, you know, children who are mean to other children or disrespectful who are constantly invading other people’s space by Badgering and annoying and harassing them. It can be so hard to have compassion for them and to truly want to get to the bottom of that behavior to find out what’s at the root, what need are they actually trying to meet? Like what’s underneath this behavior because we gotta get curious before we can help them and Bullying.

(11m 43s):
Okay. Bullying is the use of force coercion, hurtful, teasing, or threat to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. The behaviors often repeated and habitual. It’s one essential prerequisite is the perception of an imbalance of physical or social power. This imbalance distinguishes Bullying from conflict. So why I think that the Badgering behavior is a form of Bullying. And we end up explaining this to our kids. I mean, most kids know that you know that from, from the different programs that schools run like no place for hate Bullying is a, is a hot word.

(12m 30s):
And, and people know that the word Bullying is taken very seriously. So I always tell parents, you know, we gotta get to the root of what this behavior is really all about. Like what’s going on for the kid. And then when we start to set Boundaries to, to disrupt this pattern, to end this behavior, we explain when you, when you Badgering me like that, you’re invading my space. You’re harassing and purposely trying to annoy me. That is a form of Bullying. And in this family, we have a no Bullying policy inside or outside the home.

(13m 12s):
So it would never be okay for you to do this to other people or for anyone to do this to you. And our home has to be a safe zone for everyone. And therefore this Badgering Bullying behavior will not be tolerated anymore. And here’s, what’s going to happen when this behavior is on the scene, but most people wanna start there. Okay. And the problem is, you know, everybody comes to me like when they do one of my programs and they’re like, what do I do when?

(13m 52s):
And it’s really what is the appropriate consequence? And I I’m like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. If we just start there, then we, we never get to the root of the behavior. So it’s really kind of like we’re, we’re, we’re attempting to put a bandaid on like a gaping wound. We have to like get to the, get to the root. And we have to really like with, to clean the wound and we have to suture the wound and we have to like really properly care for the wound so that it can heal. And then we can put the bandage over it. But most of us just wanna slap a bandage on it by stopping the behavior and stopping the behavior.

(14m 33s):
These kids are Badgering, Marie who’s so exasperated. And in this state of fight or flight, they’re, they’re showing up with all this demanding behavior because ultimately they do not feel safe in the world. They know there is a power imbalance and they have the power in the family because eventually they push and they push and they test and they push and they demand. I mean, they’re demanding bikes instead of scooters. Like she’s, she’s taking them on this fun outing, but it’s like, nothing is ever enough.

(15m 14s):
And what these little boys are really saying, if they could talk, if they knew what was underneath, you know, what was underneath this behavior, what they would say is this mom, I get it. That you are female. And you receive some faulty conditioning in your life that you were taught probably when you were a little tiny kid that you weren’t allowed to want what you want. And you weren’t allowed to truly make sure that your voice was heard. And when you were a little kid, you probably wanted something.

(15m 56s):
And you were a little kid, mom that lived in your emotional brain and you just wanted your grownups to hear you. And then let you know, no that’s not gonna happen or yes, that’s gonna happen. But instead your grownups probably didn’t know how to do Boundaries either. And so they overpowered you, they shut you down. They shamed you. And they conditioned you mom to think that you weren’t allowed to want what you want wanted. And there was something wrong with you or that you were a bad girl for wanting that extra cookie or wanting that toy that somebody else played with because your adults didn’t know how to help resolve that conflict as the grounded grownups in your life.

(16m 46s):
And because they shamed you and told you, you were a bad girl. Now you have no clue how to have Boundaries, how to want what you want and let people, other people know what’s okay with you. What’s not okay with you and hold those other people accountable. You have no clue how to do that mom. And so, because you’re, you’re not constantly overpowering us the way maybe you’re grown ups overpowered you, but you also still don’t know how to have Boundaries. Mom, we’re going to let you know that we need you. We need you to hold us accountable. We need you to do things like, Hey guys, when you speak to me in this way, it’s not okay.

(17m 37s):
And so therefore it tells me that you’re having a hard time remembering the rules of the family. What are the rules of the family? The rules of the family are absolutely zero violence, no violent words, no violent hands. And absolutely no Bullying. If somebody else tells you that the answer is no. Or, or you can’t, you know, you can’t touch their things or you can’t climb on them or whatever it is. And you ignore, you, ignore their Boundaries. Then just know it means that maybe you’re just not able to show up responsibly in our family that day.

(18m 20s):
It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I love you. No matter what it just means. You’re gonna get some extra rest. You’re gonna give your body some extra rest. You’ll be in your bed 30 minutes early tonight. And, and we’re gonna have a screen free day because you know, whatever the currency is because it’s too important for everyone in this family to follow the rules. And for this family to run smoothly. I love this family too much not to do that. And this is how we learn. Look, we all have, oops, stays. We all make mistakes. It’s okay. And we’ll have a better day tomorrow. So these are our rules and this is the way we’re gonna operate.

(19m 5s):
And you know, we have a no Bullying policy in this family. So just know if it’s oops, day rules and you beg, but please, but please, but please that’s Badgering behavior and you push and you push and you demand and you refuse to follow. The rules. Just know that is against our family rules. That’s a biggie. You beg and Badgering and bully. It will be oops, day rules until further notice. We, I, I love this family too much. This is a very serious situation. So because mom doesn’t know how to do that.

(19m 47s):
The kids know she ultimately bends. They’re pushing and they’re pushing and they’re pushing because what they really want, they’re saying, mom, we don’t feel safe in the world. If you are not the one really in charge. And if you freak out it, you know, and you’re because underneath all anger is fear. The kids sense that fear. Do you think that makes them feel safe in the world? All kids want is to know that their grownups are here to keep themselves safe and healthy. They don’t know that they want that, but that’s what helps them to feel safe in the world. And then that grounds their nervous system.

(20m 37s):
Hey, podcast, listeners. I’m super excited to tell you about something new that I’m doing called the weekend warmup. It’s gonna be on the third, Friday of every month. And I I’m gonna coach you live. I this, because I know a lot of you guys feel like you know me, but I wanna know you too. So you’re gonna come. You’re gonna get on zoom with me. I’m gonna coach you and we’re gonna get you warmed up for your weekend. What do I mean by that? We’re gonna hunt gather parent our weekends together. If you don’t know what hung gather, parent I’ve turned it into a verb. Just so you’ll know. Hung gather. Parent is a book that came out not long ago. I’ve had the author on the podcast.

(21m 17s):
I make it required reading for anyone that comes and works with me. And it’s just about the fact that many of us, especially those of us who come and listen to things like this. Our weekends are just filled with too many kid activities. And there’s no adult time. You know, maybe you’re going from birthday parties to just nonstop, nonstop, fun, nonstop memories. And you’re finding yourself depleted and exhausted. Maybe even more so on Sunday night than you were on Friday. And it’s just not supposed to be that way. So we’re gonna hunt gather parent our weekends together. I’m gonna coach you live. I’m so excited to meet you guys.

(21m 59s):
And I want you to sign up. It’s free. I’m offering it for free. So just go to Mastermind, Parenting dot com slash weekend Mastermind, Parenting dot com slash weekend, sign up, sign up. So all the Bullies out there are kids in pain And what they just want. They just like, look, I’m just learning how to be alive. And I need my grownups to send me the message. My job is to keep you safe and healthy. And when you’re not able to follow the rules, which we’ve established ahead of time and we’ve gone over and we’ve practiced, guess what?

(22m 46s):
I’m here to make sure that you follow the rules and this will be the consequence that it’ll help your brain to remember. So Marie has no clue how to do this because Marie received faulty messaging and Marie doesn’t even know what she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know that she is worth wanting what she wants and letting other people know what’s okay with her. What’s not okay with her and holding other people account accountable and being the pack leader of her family. She doesn’t have that skillset. She doesn’t know how to do it.

(23m 26s):
And so when people give her all the tips and tools and whatever, because she’s in such a state of survival herself, she can’t even think clearly she needs to have the proper support and the proper training to understand what she’s truly thinking about the situation, people telling her what to do and what to do and what to do when her brain is just trying to survive. Feeling like she’s royally, messing this up, feeling like her kids are not doing okay. Like there’s something wrong with them. And this one has this diagnosis and this one has this one. And she can’t get in.

(24m 6s):
You’ll hear in, in other posts where she’s waiting on all these waiting lists to get into the specialist, she feels powerless. There’s a sentence going through her head. Like I’m screwing my kids up. And here’s all the evidence because they’re kind of a nightmare to live with. And they’re constantly fighting and they’re constantly harassing and annoying me. They’re not gonna be okay. So as long as those thoughts are going through her head, which are causing her to feel powerless, she’s gonna continue repeating the same patterns and the kids are gonna continue showing up with the same demanding behavior, because ultimately what the kids want is they want mom to get the support that she needs.

(24m 59s):
You know, she’s on all these waiting lists for all these therapists, for her kids. The best thing Marie could do would be to make herself a therapy appointment and find the right therapist. That’s gonna help her heal herself and recondition herself and realize that she has always been worthy of wanting what she wants. And it’s not her job to put her needs aside and constantly make everyone else happy. It’s not working. And it doesn’t work for kids. So the best thing Marie could do, and every woman could do is to heal her own past wounds with the right facilitator, read the books.

(25m 51s):
And if it’s like, I don’t have access to that. I don’t have time. There’s all like Marie Yaba and Yaba and Yaba. So you start listening to podcasts like this. You put the messages in your ears, you start reading the books, you start looking for the resources. You know, it might be a combination of therapy and EFT tapping, or you may be like me. You may be sort of a lone. I was always kind of a lone Wolf. I had too much armor on me. And so I DIYed a lot of the ways to kind of get back to my own healing, but that’s what the kids want.

(26m 33s):
And that’s what the kids need. And that’s what no one’s talking about. Everybody just wants to fix our kid. Just tell me the tool. When you do this, then you do that. And I watch post after post, after post of all these well-meaning parents trying to support Marie. But until Marie, until Marie digs into what’s really going on and, and pulls back the curtains of her own mind to try and, and heal herself and master her own mind, she won’t be able to parent her kids in the way that they truly want and need.

(27m 16s):
She’s not gonna be able to end these patterns until she looks inward, which is so hard to do. It’s so hard to do. And it’s so hard to do without the right support. I think it’s interesting that, you know, I’ve noticed how she softens a little bit and, and, and the, yeah. Buts don’t seem to come when someone else comes and meets her in solidarity. Like me too. Me too. I get it. Yeah. That’s happening in my household too. That’s the beauty of community, but when it’s the community where you’re just bonding over.

(27m 57s):
Yeah. We, my life sucks too. Then you just bond over the suckage. And what I would say to Marie is, is I think you’re lonely. And I think you’re craving community and find the right one, find the community where people understand and relate to you and are here to actually help you with the reconditioning piece, help you with the healing piece, share resources where you guys are working together to get to a better place, not just bonding in this place of misery and camping out there, like who wants to stay there?

(28m 42s):
Like that’s not, that’s not a life. It’s a whole lot of stress. It’s a whole, I mean, I, I I’d be surprised if Marie’s body doesn’t start breaking down soon. So Badgering behavior, Bullying behavior, what’s at the root of it. It’s really kids in pain, kids, craving Boundaries, kids craving, yes, structure and clarity and pack leadership. But it’s that combination of firm and loving, not repeating the faulty conditioning that then the kids are gonna have to heal from at some point in their life or re continue repeating these patterns.

(29m 40s):
I, I just think that this is a conversation that when we talk about Bullying, we’re not necessarily having what is, we’re not really, we’re not necessarily getting to what is at the root of this behavior. We’re just trying to slap bandages on gaping wounds. And it’s just never gonna work. It’s just never gonna work. And you know, everybody’s talking about the mental health crisis, children and COVID, and it really put a spotlight on how much, you know, pain. So many of our kids are in. But if we want to heal this mental health crisis, we can look inward and start doing this work in each one of our homes.

(30m 30s):
That’s I believe it’s a big piece of the puzzle is how do we solve this problem? One family at a time. So I want that’s, that’s your assignment this week? You know, I think the Badgering behavior is super, super common. And I want you to notice, where do you find your kids demanding, demanding Badgering? Not, I mean, I remember I’ll never forget. I had this one mom who came into the Mastermind and she had a 13 year old and a, and an 11 year old. And she, when she would go to take a shower, they would bang on the bathroom door.

(31m 14s):
And I said, they would bang on the bathroom door or just come in. And I said, so you can’t even take a shower in peace. She’s like, no. I was like, okay. So that boundary of you’re 11, you’re 13, I’m taking a shower. I’m not available. Right? Like that is, that’s where we’re gonna start is that boundary. And we’re gonna hold people accountable for anybody that interrupts your shower. And it’s not an emergency meaning somebody’s baring or bleeding.

(31m 56s):
That’s, that’s my definition of an emergency. If it’s not an emergency, we’ve gotta have some consequences connected to them, interrupting your shower. You deserve 15 or 20 minutes that are just for you every single day to wash your body. Can we start there and I’ll tell you something. She was like, well, yeah. I mean, I was like, wait, why not? Why can’t we start there? I want you to really look at that. So I want you to look in your life and look at where there’s Badgering or Bullying in your own household and where maybe you’ve felt powerless.

(32m 41s):
And what’s one baby step you can do. That’s gonna help you set a boundary and stop that cycle. Okay. That’s what I’ve got for you. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and Boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.

(33m 28s):
And As always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s Mastermind, underscore Parenting. And you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching. And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better. And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.

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