I have been having a problem with my son, who I fear may be turning into a bully. Two years ago I left my marriage, in which I was verbally and emotionally abused in front of the children on a daily basis. When I finally found a place to stay with relatives, my children felt that they had absolutely no need to listen to me or respect me as a parent at all. My then-8-year-old son would say to me "Dad says I don't have to listen to you," and "You're just a stupid hippie." This was how they were used to seeing me treated. They were completely unruly and out-of-control. It took a long time before they began to respect me as a parent. I think we've made tremendous progress. We still have a few issues we are working on. Both children feel they do not have to listen to me at all. I realize children interrupt, but I believe that this is a problem above and beyond "normal" interruptions. My son especially becomes very angry when I don't let him interrupt, accusing me of not listening to him - not seeing that the respect works both ways. Lately he has been making attention-grabs in public, if I catch him interrupting, telling people I am "horrible" and never listen to him, and occaisionally even lying and saying I "spit in his face". (I don't know where he got this from, because, obviously I do not. I suspect it is an expression he heard somewhere that he's decided works for drama, but it is embarrassing.) Most of the time, the other grown-ups repeat the same thing I have been telling him about listening and respect. But it's still embarrassing, and most of all, it hurts. It hurts my feelings that he honestly believes he doesn't have to listen to me, it brings me back to the lonely, terrible place i was in when I had to listen to his steo-father telling me that I could never leave him because I couldn't support myself, how everyone can tell I am incompetent and crazy, I could never earn as much or have a job as "important" as his (he takes maintenance calls for a rental agency, big whoop.) It hurts me that my son is repeating this behavior. And I feel like a push-over for not being able to stop it right away. Damie is home-schooled, I have him regularly socialize in a variety of situations with a mix of ages and home-schooled and public school kids. I've observed bullying behavior, shoving, teasing, and name-calling on some occaisions. He takes tae kwan-do at the Y and attends Unitarian sunday school. I've spoken to his tae kwan-do instructor about this problem (the respect issue is holding him back in that class) but haven't managed to catch the sunday school teacher yet. I think that he needs counselling, but his step-dad, who shares custody at the moment is adamantly against it. He's not going to have a say in it for too much longer, I'm not quite on my feet yet but soon we'll be moving to a community where we can get better help than is available here. (the county beurocracy takes so long and we are so close to moving - just a few months - that i don't want to frustrate mysefl starting the process again just to uproot again as soon as things get started.) Do not misread the tone of this post. He is not an unruly brat or monster. He has made steady imporvements, our bond is getting closer every day. There are many things I can talk openly with him about now, and many areas in which discipline and respect are improving. I love that so much! But we still have these problem areas to deal with until the time when we can get better family help that is more helpful and less invasive than what is available in monroe county. Some ideas I have bounced around are buying colored sticker dots, and having each of us pick a color. Making a game out of learning respect (and assertiveness without frustration for me) and every time I catch him interrupting (or he catches me yelling) to pop a sticker on his (or my) shirt, and then take a picture at the end of the day, laugh at ourselves, and set a goal for fewer stickers the next day. I've also thought of having the kids find a stick to decorate for a talking stick. In the meantime, I'm really frustrated (right now at least) and I feel bad. Support and ideas would be appreciated.