Picked on by others!

freezetagMay 29, 2008

I posted earlier about my 10 yo son's moodiness Gloomy, Tearful... . So ds has been seeing a family therapist for a few months, and things at home are better. He seems more open, better about talking to us when he's angry, etc. However, he is still having trouble at school. He has been upset after school occasionally throughout the year, but in the beginning of the year his teacher told me that he never acted as if anything was bothering him. Last week she told me that he started crying in school a couple of times, and is very withdrawn.

He tells me that the other kids insult him and don't let him join in at recess. I asked what he does when this happens, and he said nothing. Since he is an older brother, we have always told him to ignore his younger siblings' bad behavior, (and that of other kids, as well) but now that he seems to be becoming a target, I think he needs to change tactics, or the other kids will just continue to pick on him. He said that no one does anything physical, just teasing. Should I advise him to look the teasing child(s) in the eye and tell him to lay off?? I don't want him to be aggressive, but it seems like being passive is just encouraging the kids to continue. I know kids tease each other, but I really feel that he is becoming depressed and am worried that when he starts middle school (in the fall), it will get worse. When my older daughter had trouble with a boy who was picking on her, I told her to ask her friends to stick up for her whenever they saw him bothering her, and that worked well. But my ds's best friend is a small child who is not very assertive, and I'm not sure how much contact they will have once in middle school - depends on class scheduling.

Of course, I will ask his therapist to give him some ideas, but I'm open to any suggestions if anyone has a strategy that has worked.

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Try an end of school party and invite the teasers. For example all the boys in the class or something. 10 year olds have a hard time saying no to a party, and once they go to a party,they are friendlier with the host, and even if they aren't, they might switch from picking on him to just ignoring him. An added bonus he might win a few more friends among those who are neutral.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 6:15PM
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Not sure about inviting the teasers to the party. The teasing will continue there, or it might make it worse (will tease him more about things like his home, parents, etc.).

My daughter was bullied by the same girl in grade 6 to 8 (she's now in 10th grade). It has had an affect on her.

Your son has to defend himself by standing up for himself. They tease him because they can. It should have been brought to the principal's and teacher's attention as this is verbal bullying and the teasers should be held accountable for it. A lot of people say it will make it worse, but not necessarily. Call the parents if you have to.

I have more to say on this subject, but short on time right now. I vill be back!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 7:50PM
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" Should I advise him to look the teasing child(s) in the eye and tell him to lay off??"

I would.
They are probably wondering why he says nothing.
I hope it gets better for him...I'd try to give him all the attention I could.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 7:57PM
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Michael Gurian has written several books on helping boys through adolescence which you should be able to find at the library, such as "A Fine Young Man" and "The Wonder of Boys".
Another helpful book would be "No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps" by Paul Coughlin.
Your son needs male mentoring; it would probably be more helpful to have his dad coach him about dealing with harrassers rather than his mother.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 8:56PM
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He's already in therapy, which is a good thing. We are in family therapy. His therapist should be able to help in ways on how to handle this situation.

Bullying destroyed my daughter's self-esteem. She now has anxiety attacks. She was doing so good. She finally felt good about herself in grade 9 and halway through grade 10. Then she was the victim of verbal bullying by 2 so-called friends. This pushed her back, destroying what she had accomplished.

As a parent, if someone comes to you to talk about your child teasing or hitting (bullying) other kids, PLEASE take note of it and DO something about it. Think that if it was your kid being the victim how you wouldn't like it and would want it to stop. Too many parents think their kids are perfect and could do no wrong!

Your son should hang out with friends that like him and don't tease him. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough kids in my daughter's class for her to hang out with. All the kids (11 of them) hung out with the bully cuz they were scared of her. My daughter stood her ground and the bully couldn't control her like she did with the other kids.

Tell him to stand up for himself respectfully, say something back if he has to, and hang out with a different group of kids.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 11:26PM
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His teacher is aware of it, but since it's mostly just nasty comments here and there, I don't think it's something she could ever control 100%. I have told ds to stay within earshot of an adult, because the ringleader is a good student, and I'm fairly sure he would not want to be overheard by a teacher.

Thanks for the book suggestions - will check them out. DS and I both like to read, and I am frustrated that there are so many books for adolescent girls (dealing with body changes, friend/social issues, boys, etc), but not for boys (at least at my local bookstore) Maybe I'll have to look online.

And ds is on both ends of the bullying - I've seen him as both the victim and the perpetrator. You'd think, having experienced it, you'd be sensitive enough not to do it yourself, but I know that's not how it works. One kid who teases ds is the youngest of 4, and I'll bet he gets harassed at home, and then goes to school and takes it out on my son.

And I agree that ds needs to strengthen some friendships over the summer. Two of his friends, in particular, are athletic and confident, and I'll bet hanging out with them would help. They used to call ds and ask him over, but since he has not reciprocated lately, they've backed off somewhat.

Thanks for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 9:30AM
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You'd think, having experienced it, you'd be sensitive enough not to do it yourself

My nephew was bullied a lot. When he started "fighting back", he then became a bully himself. Same thing happened to a friend's son. I guess maybe they want to hurt others just like they were hurt.

My daughter once told me that she called a girl "fatso" and stuff to see how it felt to tease/bully someone cuz a lot of kids were doing it. The next day she apologized to the girl. My daughter said that she didn't like the way she felt afterwards. She didn't like herself for hurting someone who didn't do anything to deserve such treatment. I told her that's because she has a conscience and respect for people.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 12:24PM
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My 9 yr old son started a new school this year and had an issue with some bullies. One child would say mean things to him, throw rocks at him, stole his hat off his head and threw it in a tree, and would chase him home from school. (We live 2 blocks from the school so there is no bus service)

At first I told my son to ignore the bully. It did not help. I started walking with him but my son expressed that he liked to walk with his other friends, not his mom.

After quite a few phonecalls from me to the principal she sat the two boys down seperately and discussed it. Now my son and the boy are friends and my son called it a "misunderstanding"!

Another bully was being mean to my son when we were at a local park. I watched the bully push him at least 4 times and then I called my son over and asked him what was going on. He told me that the boy just kept pushing him and he was walking away to avoid a fight. I told him that I thought he had handled it right, but if the boy continued to push him he had my permission to push the boy back next time.

So a little while later the boy again came up to and pushed my son. My son pushed him back and told him he better keep his hands off him. The kid got up and his friend came over to my son and asked him if he thought he was tough. My son said I am just not going to let someone keep pushing me!

Both kids left him alone.

I think that ignoring bullies is a good tactic. But if it does not work then I think you have to stand up for yourself, whether it be by telling them to leave you alone or by pushing/hitting back.

As a child I dealt with bullies and always walked away. Finally I had enough and hit back and that was the end of them bothering me. Bullies tend to look for those sweet kids who are passive and will allow themselves to be bullied.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 3:37PM
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