Bullied by Your Parents


Getting Bullied By Your Parents

When we think about bullying, often the thought of parents bullying their children are not the images we associate with it. While the situation at home may be one that is intolerable, there are adult role models, such as counselors at school, coaches, aunts or uncles and other adult figures that young people can turn to for support. Beyond Bullies also offers an online confidential chat for bullied teens by their peers.

Fifteen-year-old Beyond Bullies volunteer, Semara, (last name not used for privacy), studied the five-step recovery model in Karyl McBride’s book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough, to shed light on the steps children can take to protect themselves against parents who bully them.   

Tough Love is an expression often used when you treat someone harshly or sternly to bring about some positive change.

There is usually love behind a veil of toughness, but what happens when this power parents’ use gets out of hand and how can we tell the difference between what is genuine or what is deceptively done to hinder us?

As children, we see images of the stereotypical family; a loving and comforting mother and the kind and protective father, always encouraging and supporting their kids every step of the way. For many of us, this could not be farther from reality.

Some of us may not face our bullies outside at school, but within the walls of the very place, we call home. Whether your mom or dad says phrases such as, “You’ll never be good enough!” or “Can’t you do anything right you ___?” can be very commonly spewed out by them, much more so than genuine encouragement, acceptance or love.

Bullied children may have several experiences of their parents insulting them in front of relatives or maybe even strangers. A parent sharing your faults with others repeatedly can be humiliating and unfair. Others may now label you as the undisciplined or angry child, while the parents look like the concerned authorities.

When adults are talking about you, it is difficult to stand up for yourself.  Adults are more adept at getting their points across and most children are not able to communicate calmly and logically in order to defend themselves.

This type of adult bullying can also extend to teachers who talk to other teachers about you, which can also tarnish your reputation.

When your parents and the adults you trust are putting you down and insulting you, it can hurt your self-esteem and can extend to anything you do in life. It can lead to wounds that can never be recognized or healed and maybe even the root to some of our issues we currently face as adults.

Children may suffer from social anxiety as a result and try to please everyone around us out of desperation to win approval, the one we have never gotten from our parents. Some may end up as overachievers as a result, and the rest may end up as underachievers; believing they really are good for nothing, so why even bother to try?

Well the good news is this need not continue for long nor do we need to put up with any of it. We are entitled to our own rights, and absolutely no one, not even our own parents can take that away from us. Here are a few steps to effective deal with “bully parents”.

First off, we need to be aware of how our parents act towards us. Ask yourself, whether you did something that would cause them to be so harsh. Be aware of how it happens and what situations trigger it, and the next time it does. Then ask an adult whom you trust to witness this in motion. Have the adult talk to your parents and point out this issue to them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If that doesn’t work, then try avoiding situations that trigger your parents to bully you. Remember, they have their own issues and that they may not be able to separate their expectations or frustrations. You can try to cut them off when they begin to criticize you, or maybe even psychologically cut ties with them, by reframing whatever they say in a positive light. Let yourself know that you are a wonderful human being capable of many great things, and that you shouldn’t let what another person and yes that includes your parents, let you down. Whenever something they say affects you in a negative light, just focus on the rest of your good traits and ignore your inner critic.