I am the mother of a bully. I NEED HELP.

I don’t know how we got to this place. My 15 year old son has been loved and loved. He tries to be the class clown at the expense of others, and doesn’t see that he hurts others’  feelings. He doesn’t realize that HE IS NOT FUNNY. He has wicked mean streaks. He is impulsive. He has little regard for what others have done for him, or what we still continue to do for him. He has moments of sweetness and that gives me hope,  but lately he has gotten worse with picking on his older sister and now, me. He is rotten a lot of the time. I didn’t spank (maybe that’s the problem?) and my husband is a gentle giant- won’t raise his voice, he doesn’t get angry. I have often felt that if my husband had been firmer with my son earlier in his life, maybe he wouldn’t be such a brat. But what is that worth, now? If there was a window, we missed it.

I cry a lot. I am embarrassed by my son and his impulsive, thoughtless behavior.  I promise you, we are not assholes! We have tried to be  empathetic, and kindhearted,  and serve and love and befriend people, to take care of the underdog, and we have encouraged my son to be part of all of that. We talk about what we can try next ALL THE TIME.

Where do I look for actual therapeutic empathy training? Is there such a thing? Has anyone else been in this position?

All advice is needed and welcomed.

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I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with this.

Please know that you are not alone: this is a more common problem than we’d like to admit.

These behaviors are the result of complex interactions between biology and environment.  There is no one thing that caused them. You’ve taken a vital first step in looking for solutions.

Effective help is available.

It is important that you consult a behavioral and cognitive psychologist with expertise in child and adolescent behavior problems as soon as possible. A psychologist or other mental health professional who practices CBT uses the best evidence-based treatments around. if you can find one in your area, seek one out who is board-certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Someone who specializes in CBT will be able to perform a comprehensive assessment of the problem and make appropriate treatment recommendations.

Here are some links that will help you find someone:

Yellowbrick Accredited Providers

American Board of Professional Psychology

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology

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