Why I stood up to a bully dad: 'Shameful behaviour'

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

When I saw a man shouting at a student as he walked home hand-in-hand with his little brother, I wasn't sure what was happening at first.

I was parked on the street near the school waiting for my eldest girl, my other two girls were in their daily after-school fight about who was going to sit in the front seat of the car. 

I was a little distracted.

But then I noticed another student sitting beside the man in his car and the words he was screaming became clearer.

"Stop bullying my son," he shouted.

"I know what you did to my son and you better not bully him again. You're a bully."

I could hear the shocked boy reply that he hadn't done what the dad was accusing him of: "I didn't do it," he said. 

But still the man kept shouting at the kid.

It was at that moment, my eldest child and her friends arrived to witness the tail end of the incident. They stood there shocked.

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As I got out of the car to help the boy, the man and his son drove off, leaving a shaken child standing on the roadside, still holding hands with his little brother.

I knew I had to do something as that parent's behaviour was shameful.

How can you teach your child that bullying was wrong by bullying a child yourself? 

Screaming at a young kid, especially when he has no adult with him, is a threatening act. 

He probably thought by scaring the boy he'd never bully his son again – that's assuming the boy had done anything wrong in the first place. But he'd gone about it the wrong way. A visit to the school and a discussion with the teachers and parents is how you deal with bullying. 

And regardless of whether the boy did or didn't bully his child, no adult should ever threaten a child like that, not ever. 

As I approached the boy to see if he was okay I could see him looking distressed. 

The whole incident was intimidating to me so I could only imagine how the young boy was feeling. 

 I asked him if he was okay.

"I'm fine, everything's been sorted out now," he said.

And he started to cry.

I knelt down in front of him and I apologised for the dad's poor behaviour.

"An adult should never behave like that," I told him.

"His behaviour was unacceptable. He did the wrong thing."

I gently explained to him that he wasn't in trouble and he had done nothing wrong. I told him to go home and tell his mum or dad what had happened.

I got the boy's name and went straight to the school office and informed the Deputy Principal what had happened and provided the names of my child's friends to provide witness accounts. 

I'm not sure what the outcome was, but I do know they followed it up and I hope that dad was given a stern warning from the school to never approach a student again. And I hope his own son doesn't think his dad's behaviour was okay. 

But more importantly, I hope that little boy and his brother got a huge hug from their parents because they surely needed it.