What I want you to know about being a parent of a bully

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by an anonymous writer.

Other parents refer to my child as a bully. What they don't see is the beautiful, happy, but hurt and traumatized little girl she truly is inside. My daughter was adopted from foster care at age 7. After losing the valuable formative first 7 years of her life, she developed a poor ability to read social cues, emotional delays, a hair pin PTSD trigger and now, at 12, a big girl body with the heart of a 4 or 5 year old.

When she approaches your 5 year old at the park, she really DOES want to play and be best friends. When she grabs the shovel, she's a fellow 5 year old grabbing in frustration. In her class, her senses overwhelmed at times causes her to push others. She's not being malicious, she has an underdeveloped sense of personal space and is oversensitive to touch. I don't want her to "get away" with socially inappropriate actions. I want her to learn the things she should have learned before 7 and one day catch up to where she "should" be developmentally. So she has Occupational Therapy, Play Therapy (for her emotional work), Neuro-Reorganization, Psychiatry and Meds, a Gluten Free/Casin Free diet, Equine Therapy and Gymnastics. Not to mention all the time I have spent in trainings, with parenting coaches, and on my own therapy so I can be an effective therapeutic parent for her.

Add to the equation, that I am a pre-K teacher at her school, so I can always be close by her....just in case. As a pre-K teacher, and with all the above work going on, we live on a very limited budget. If there was ONE more thing I could do to provide her extra help I would find a way.

"Oh, that's different! She's special needs! Not just a bully!" you say. Well I will tell you that when someone hears about bullying, they blame the parents. "Where are the parents?" they say. "Bullies are children being bullied at home!" they shout.

My child and I are working on creating better behavior and impulse control from her, I promise. I am not negligent or unaware of how her behaviors appear to those who can't see the trauma they stem from OR that do see the trauma, and just don't want THEIR child to have to be near mine. I am so sorry if she ever pushed your child. I am sorry if she called them a name. I assure you, she does feel very great remorse for her actions. I understand your concerns. I just can't pull her out of the world, or SHE WILL NEVER LEARN. And if she never learns, she becomes an adult who is out of control.

Please don't encourage me to give up on my 12 year old. Please don't demand she be kicked out of school. Please look at her with compassion, even if she pushed your child today. We are working on it. I am doing all there is to be done. Please keep the needs of children like mine in your prayers and meditations. She WANTS to be good. I promise.

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