Family structures

One cannot blame children without looking at their families. Thus Genograms 1, 2 and 3 show three family structures. Although you don't know their socioeconomic status, cultural background, environment, personalities, family history or anything else, their children are more likely to be a target. Conversely, Genograms 4 and 5 are more likely to have a child who bullies.

The above genogram shows a mother aged 38 and a father aged 45. The mother has had four miscarriages and their son was conceived through in-vitro fertilisation. Given the parents' ages and the miscarriages, it is unlikely they will have another child. Their son is the first and perhaps only grandchild for both families. He will be treated like a 'PIT' (prince-in-training) and mollycoddled by everyone, except bullies.

This genogram shows a mother aged 45 and a father aged 46. They have four children; the 'baby' was born eight years after the third child. Aged 10, he is a pseudo-adult with a 'big mouth' - he is spoilt and babied at home, and likely to be bullied at school.

The mother is aged 47. The child's father is somewhere, it doesn't matter where. He could be a sperm donor, divorced or away on business. The mother basically brings her daughter up on her own. The girl is aged 12 and is half-adult, half-child. She is like Mummy's little friend. She has little practice in socialising with her peer group. She is also an easy target for bullies.

Here is a family with Mother aged 43, Dad aged 46, and three kids aged 14, 15 and 16. Father is always yelling and fighting if anyone disagrees with him. Mother is passive and gives up. They disagree on all parenting matters, especially discipline. Some days big Jack (aged 14) can get away with attacking his sister

(aged 15) and some days not. He makes a good school bully

Here is a family where both parents work. Little Susie, aged nine, is cared for mainly by Grandma, who lives with the family. She is indulged, has no limits and gets away with everything. She is a sneaky bully at school: she 'sucks up' to teachers and bullies classmates.

Now draw your own genogram to explain why your child is being bullied or bullies.

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