DS hit a kid on the playground - what should we do at home?

Momma_Bird_OHMarch 21, 2003

I picked up my sons from school today, and my kindergartener's teacher told me he had slapped another boy on the playground today. He was sent to the office and had a time-out, and his teacher also talked to him about how serious it was - any hitting is an automatic 5 day suspension but since he's in K and it's his first offence, they are not enforcing that rule.

I immediately talked to him on the way home about how serious it is, and that we NEVER hit for any reason. He said the boy, a 2nd grader, was calling him names on the bus this a.m., calling him names at 1st recess, and then started again at 2nd recess, where he hit him. I told him to tell the bus driver, to tell the playground teacher, and to tell his teacher if the boy calls him names and NEVER to hit. I also sent him to his room for a time out when we got home, but I feel I need to do MORE to make him realize how serious his infraction was. Any suggestions?

Also, as an aside, the boy that was teasing him is a really nasty boy, always in trouble, has very little/no parental supervision, etc. I can see how provoking this boy can be, but I've told DS that if he lets other people provoke him, he lets them control him, and that he needs to control himself.

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I don't know that I'd do any more right now, it sounds like you've all made it clear his behavior was unacceptable. He's little and he's learning what is appropriate, and what isn't.

If this child continues to harrass your child and it is causing him stress, I'd arrange a meeting with the school counselor, and have the boys hash it out with some guidance. Then let the kids handle it at school.

I'd also tell the bus driver there is a problem, and tell him or her you don't want the kids sitting by each other. I am a bus driver. My kindergardeners don't sit with the older kids unless it is a sibling.

If you contact the driver I would contact him or her at the bus barn rather than on route.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2003 at 10:12PM
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I agree that you have punished him enough. But I wouldn't expect HIM to tell the bus driver and the teachers what is going on with the older child. You might want to be the one to point the problem out to the other adults. Children don't usually tell on other kids because they are afraid. Plus, it will be taken more seriously if the parent reports that there are problems.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2003 at 7:21AM
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I agree with whazzup, I think I was misunderstood.

Regarding the bus, don't do it in front of the other kids, it will cause more problems for your son. You can call at the bus barn, and speak directly to the driver. The dispatcher can get your number for a return call.

I would also contact the school and tell them what is going on. I do believe it is good for kids to learn to work it out. There will not be a teacher, or parent available to fight all his battles. Mediation can help the kids on both sides learn to get along. It will give your son power that he can learn to work problems out with the support of adults.

That being said, perhaps you kindergarten doing what he did will end it. Although, now the other kid has the upper hand unless he got in trouble too. I hope the school reprimanded him as well.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2003 at 11:17AM
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I'm late chiming in here. I think a clear demonstration of HOW to handle this would help him tremendously. Maybe take him WITH you to tell the bus driver, so he can see how you handle it, what you say, what tone of voice you use, and what you propose for a solution from the bus driver.

And I would vote no more punishment, actually. The school's punishment seems appropriate, and his hitting doesn't seem that big a deal for a kindergartener being provoked. I think what you've done is enough to make it clear this was wrong (plus, he's a good boy, he already knows it was wrong).

Now is the time to help him figure out some truly concrete strategies to deal with this sort of thing. It's all fine and dandy to say "kids should learn to work it out," and "he needs to control himself," but it's not fair to make them figure out the HOWS of all those things by himself. Try some role playing, develop some concrete strategies (the kid starts calling names, and your DS turns to someone nearby him that he knows as friendly, and smiles at them and tries to start a conversation--distracts your son, gives him an ally, reminds him that not everyone around him is mean and hates him, and denies the mean kid the satisfaction of any sort of response. be sure to suggest what he could start a conversation about. Even if you think you're just inventing hypothetical tactics that won't work in the real world, examples help, if only because they teach kids that there *is* an alternative.)

And a little sympathy about being picked on and getting in trouble might be soothing and empowering. It's REALLY hard to be the target of meanness like that and to be essentially powerless to make it stop. Because he is powerless to make it stop. The only thing he can do is tolerate it or avoid it. That's hard.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2003 at 12:38PM
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My son had a minor problem on the bus so I just handed the bus driver a note one morning that said something like "nothing urgent, but could you please give me a call sometime at your convenience. Thank you, my name and phone #." She called that morning as soon as she got back to the barn and none of the kids even realized it.

I'll share some strategy from a therapist on how to handle kids picking on each other. A friend of mine was having problems with her 13 year old being picked on. The counselor told the child "When you want to buy a coke or some candy from a machine and you put your money in it and nothing comes out, and you try again and nothing comes out, are you going to keep putting money in or will you find another machine? That's what they are doing to you. YOu are the machine and if they get what they want (a reaction) they will keep using you. If they don't get what they want they will find another machine." I thought that was a great analogy that lots of ages of kids could relate to.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2003 at 11:49PM
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It's a good analogy, but I can tell you from experience that it doesn't always work--and when it does, it doesn't work fast.

Some kids pick on you for their own internal reasons. They don't do it to get a rise out of you; they do it because it makes them feel good somehow.

However, I found that by not reacting, I was helping ME (even if I didn't make them stop--some of them NEVER stopped). When I *acted* like I didn't care, eventually I learned to *actually* not care. And I freed my mind up from thinking about them and their meanness.

Another thing people forget when they're coaching kids on how to cope w/ being picked on is, that they tell the kids "you aren't either ugly" or "why do you believe him." The point is, us picked-on kids are not upset by WHAT mean things they said; we're upset by the fact THAT they said mean things. What's upsetting is the fact the someone was WILLING to be mean to us. And so focusing on the text of what was said doesn't help us a darn bit!

Learning contempt --not hatred, contempt-- for the kids who picked on people was the healthiest thing I ever did in junior high or high school.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 8:15PM
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All I can tell you Talley Sue is from working in the classroom and on the playground for 8 years and now driving a schoolbus for another 4 years. When Moms do what you describe the other kids hate them and make fun of them even worse. Granted a kindergardener is a little different situation than a 13 year old, but I totally disagree with your approach. If you did what you described above in front of a teen they'd want to die of embarrassment, and fear of retaliation. Also, when kids play into the situation is is a game for the others...I see it all the time.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 8:54PM
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I just wanted to say my above post is if you intended to approach the driver in front of the other kids. I think I may have misunderstood what you were saying.

I think if the meeting was held it could be beneficial. In my district that would only be done with my boss present, or the supervisor at the school. More people would be involved.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 9:02PM
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" If you did what you described above in front of a teen "

NONE of the coaching I was talking about had anything to do w/ happening in FRONT of anyone else.Except the talking to the bus driver, and I was focusing that this is a KINDERGARTENER, and that modeling for him the proper mannerism, tone of voice, and choice of words, and the specific request for help, would be beneficial.

Also, when you're in kindergarten (I've got one about to be), it can be very important and empowering to see that your parents will do battle for you, that they will intervene to protect you, and to enlist others to help you. Kgarten is kind of scary--EVERYBODY is bigger and smarter and faster and older than you. It feels nice to have an ally.

Of course I wouldn't do that in front of my teenager, or even necessarily by 3rd grader. Momma Bird's boy is in Kgarten.

I don't think it's a bad idea to tell a kid, as DLynn was told, "ignore them, because giving them a reaction only eggs them on." That's true. But STOPPING giving them a reaction isn't going to automatically make the bully stop, either. It MIGHT help, but it also might not.

And to limit your assistance to such a simplistic point is not necessarily helpful. So many times I've seen or even heard people say that (my dad said it to ME!) and then they act as though they've just solved your problem, when in fact they HAVEN'T. My comments are influenced not by my years of experience as a teacher or bus driver or parent, but by my years of experience as a VICTIM of teasing and bullying.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2003 at 3:59PM
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I am a playground aid for K-3 and my suggestion is to make an appointment to talk to the Principal ASAP and make them aware of the nasty boys attitude towards your son. Let them know that you are not excusing your sons behavior but you want him to feel safe at school. And this way your son knows he can tell you if he has trouble again instead of trying to deal with it himself. And if it happens every day you call the school every day.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:49AM
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I have to agree with missy1313. Make an appt with the principal. If he doesn't know about the other kid you need to let him know.
My DD had a terrible time in 6th and 7th grade at her Private school. She was friends with the class outcast and so she was ostracized. She would come home every day crying. They called both girls all kinds of names. My doctor suggested getting her involved in group activities outside of school to make sure she had plenty of friends outside of school. We also spent alot of time talking about what happened each day - I had her write a dailey journal that we discussed together. Then I approached the principal on the qt where I pretty much threatened to make his life miserable if he didn't do something. He eventually organized a rather nice assembly where the entire school discussed calling people names, respect, etc - they hired well known psychologists etc. 8th grade was actually bearable for her but she got true vengence in HS because as my DH put it she turned into a swan.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 7:06PM
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