Born a bully? Or raised a bully?

Team Nurture takes the win, in my opinion. I’m no expert, but I do know that kids learn a lot about relationships and social interaction by watching their parents navigate through life. I’m not suggesting that parents are intentionally raising bullies; but perhaps we’re not deliberate enough in our efforts to raise peaceful, compassionate kids.

Bullying quote

So how exactly do we do that?

Filters. We need to put them in place where they are needed and remove them where they are damaging. We need to apply this to ourselves, first and foremost. The children will follow suit.

Filters Aren’t Just For Potty Mouths

The Relationship filter
Destructive relationships create troubled children. Witnessing the people they love the most, abuse and be abused, physically or emotionally, undoubtedly causes turmoil and results in misconstrued views on self-worth and relationships.

The Reaction filter
Respond. Don’t react…

To a driver cutting you off.
To your spouse’s unreasonable behavior.
To your mother-in-law’s invasive tendencies.

Show your kids how to manage their emotions so that emotions don’t control them. A valuable lesson in conflict resolution.

The Entertainment filter
Blood, guts and gore. Are you not entertained?

If you don’t want to raise a bully, get out of gladiator mode. No violent movies, video games, nor sports (I was a big UFC fan…until I became pregnant). You might have a tough time explaining to a child that beating another person to pulp is not always an invite for spectators to grab some popcorn.

Using those filters in your own life, make abuse and violence a foreign concept to your child.

#nofilter For A More Unified Society

Be a citizen of the world
Explore different cultures, languages, music, traditions, and beliefs with an open mind.
Treat people equally, regardless of race, gender, and tax bracket.
Don’t give life to labels and stereotypes.

Respect all living things
An eye-opening quote by Bradley Miller comes to mind.
“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child, as it is to the caterpillar”. – Bradley Millar

An all-encompassing love policy dissolves the “us and them” attitude that bullies have. It teaches children that despite our differences on the surface, we are all on the same side.

Do you believe that if we applied this to our lives, there could be fewer bullies in this world?

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18 Responses to Are You (Unintentionally) Raising A Bully?

  1. Bk says:

    Very good points. I would like to add that compassion and respect are first learned when babies see that when they cry, mommy or daddy will come to them. Ignoring a crying baby teaches him/her that the world is cold, he is not important and each person is responsible for himself. Hence, he won’t care much for others.

  2. Angie Gatdula says:

    We owe it to ourselves, to our children and to the world to be mindful always. Good call Nat!

  3. Denise O'Donnell says:

    As a child who witnessed and suffered abuse and who was fortunate enough to end up with a family that allowed me to escape all that I can not concur enough with the sentiment "… make abuse and violence a foreign concept to your child." My journey from bully to bullied to self-actualized was made possible ONLY with the negative and positive influence of role models. I was one of the lucky ones.

  4. Carrie Ell says:

    Thanks for this viewpoint Nat…it's about we as adults looking at ourselves to see how we're showing up. You can only teach so much, it's the BEing that's powerful.

    • Sara Moginot says:


    • Deb Dumouchel Vuong says:

      Got any great advice for single parents who's children have contact with the other parent who doesn't follow this recipe? It seems I'm raising 2 bullies then.

    • Lee Fisher says:

      In that situation Deb Dumouchel Vuong all you can do is be the best influencer when they are with you. It's tough but when you have no control over the other parents house you just have to do what you can with what you can.

    • Nat Nanton says:

      Deb Dumouchel Vuong, I second Lee Fisher's advice. To make this easier on yourself and your children, accept what is out of your control. After that, focus on being the best version of yourself. Seeing how happy you are, your kids will naturally want to follow in your steps. If your kids aren't following in your steps, know that your efforts will make an impact, if not now, then later. So do your thing, Mama!

  5. Kathy Kruger says:

    Good advice Nat. What we model is more important than what we say, especially when our behaviour doesn't live up to what we 'preach'.

  6. Alisa Hutton says:

    Great and sound advice!

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