Well-Meaning Families of Targets: How They Can Sometimes Make the Situation Worse


When a child is the target of bullying, it is difficult for his/her own family comprehend the turmoil because they are not with her twenty-four seven. In most cases, family members themselves have been fortunate enough not to have been a victim of bullying during school. Although the child’s family may love her, I believe that they don’t understand and often feel helpless as to the best recourse to take in order to protect and defend her. Bullies are persistent. And any measures that parents take to protect and defend their son or daughter often yield either no results, or worse…adverse results.

Bullies will not be deterred. They will not go away. They have a sick, twisted obsession with their victims and anything that parents or school staff do to protect the target will likely be seen as an affront and make the situation worse. Therefore, parents and well-meaning family members end up exhausting all efforts to protect their loved-one. After seeing little or no results, they grow weary and frustrated, often lashing out at their child. Before long, the very people a bullied child depends on to protect them end up blaming them for their own suffering, telling him/her that it must be their fault, that they have to be doing something to “bring it all on themselves”. Because the popular belief has long been (and still is) that “no one would target another person without a reason”.

This belief only further alienates the child, crushing their spirit. The target often clams up and keeps hidden any further incidences of bullying, feeling shame for something that is absolutely no fault of their own. I say this because it happened to me. Even though I now understand the anguish that my family must have gone through, it still hurts to think of it sometimes.

Parents often misplace blame in an attempt to make sense of it. Even today, too many people think that sociopathic bullies have to have a good reason to mistreat someone. They don’t. A bully does not have to have a good reason to pick a victim to torment and does not have to be provoked. I will say it again, “You do not have to provoke a bully.” The only thing you have to do is to be available and in the bully’s sights…to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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