Maybe not so much Mad as Sad.

Each night at dinner, we share the worst part, and then the best part of our day. Its a lovely tradition that initiates conversation at the dinner table that we may not ordinarily get to hear. (How many times have you asked “what did you do today?” to which the response has been “Nothing”???)

Anyways….

Nearly every day for the past few weeks that school has been in session, its been basically the same “worst part” for Boo. It has been heartbreaking to listen to.

I was angry. I was frustrated. Now, I am just sad.

My son is being bullied at school.

(He’s not the only one, but that is their story to tell. I’m editing, people.)

Per the NHS website, The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) defines bullying as: “Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group, either physically or emotionally.”

Check, and check.

The thing is deciding what to do. I want it to end. But I want Boo to learn to stand up for himself. (I can’t fight his battles for him forever, besides, I’m passive-aggressive.)  I’m surprised that they don’t just turn their backs on the bully and stop playing with him, but I suppose that degree of emotional maturity doesn’t set in for a few more years.

Late last term, I spoke to my son’s teacher. She was understanding of my frustration, and she talked to ALL the boys, together, so no one was singled out as the tattle-tale or the bully. The situation stopped.

Fast forward to the start of the new school year. New classroom. New teacher. Former teacher has talked to their new teacher, so she is aware of the past situation. Aaand..here we are again.

What did I do about it, you ask? I spoke with the Headmistress this time. (I prolly should have spoken to Boo’s teacher, as she is lovely, but the issue had already been brought up with the Headmistress, so I was more reinforcing the concern.) The situation has been addressed at school with both the bully, and the bullied. Right now, all is quiet.

I wonder how long it will last.

(I’m thinking until the next football practice, when they are off of school grounds. I know. But I’ll handle it when it comes.)

Prior to this, we’d had numerous talks with Boo on how to handle this. (What I wanted to say is – “if he pushes you, push him back harder “- but that, admittedly, wasn’t a very responsible or mature response, despite that the “turn the other cheek” method hadn’t worked out for him so well.)

All we can say is : 1) ignore the comments and 2) tell a teacher if he hurts you.

Not satisfying in the least. I feel like I’ve failed my boy in that this has gone on so long. I should be the Mama Bear, protecting her cub, but I am struggling with how to handle this myself.

Still, while we want our son to learn to stick up for himself, we also want him to learn to be kind, too. I really don’t want him (despite what I said earlier) to be mean in return – or think that it is acceptable, ever, to behave in such a manner. The Hubs put a different perspective on things for Boo recently (my apologies, dear Husband, for paraphrasing – my remembery isn’t what it once was):

“Sometimes, when someone is picking on you, it is because there is something about themselves that they don’t like. It makes them feel better about themselves to make you feel bad, and make themselves feel better than you. So while you don’t deserve what he is doing to you, and it is wrong – you should feel sorry for him, too.”

Because really, a bully is just a coward.

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I’m opening this up to discussion – how do YOU handle it when your child is bullied?

Please share your thoughts!!!!!!

This post is part of Mama Kat’s writer’s challenge.

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Here are a few resources for parents in the US and the UK:

NHS: Bullying: The Facts

Bullying Facts and Advice

Bullying: Facts for Families

www.how-to-stop-bullying.com


Comments

  1. You husband is right. The bullying is not about the victim at all, thay are just the target. I wish I had some great parenting advice to give you, but I would have handled things in the same way you are. I wish you luck, this is a huge problem, and it really needs to be stopped.

    • If you only knew…I would feel sorry for the boy if he wasn’t hurting my child and affecting him emotionally, as well. He honestly has my son convinced that he (my son) is an “Idiot” because the bully calls him that all the time. He is not. And THAT is a word not allowed in my house. So I know Boo didn’t get it from us.

  2. Oh my friend… I just want to come and hug my mom-friend. I was shaking my head all the way through. Though, we have not struggled with bullying to the same extent… I know what you mean… “Mama Bear” and where do we step in. I’ve responded to my kids at times with attacked the bully’s sensibilities – because clearly, they ARE stupid.

    *sigh* My middle daughter seems to attrack the strong wills for friends. She isn’t teased, but she is emotionally bullied (I won’t be your friend if you are friends with HER), and I see the chaos and hurt this creates for her…

    I wish I had ideas. I feel stuck. My boy gets it REALLY bad from girls. How do I even approach that? One girl is the daughter of a good friend… and several of them REALLY like my daughter and…

    Dear Lord there is no easy solution. SO. Just know I feel you and wish we could just talk in circles in real life over a cup of coffee. And then martinis 🙂

    • Funny you mention your daughter, as my 4 year old is kind of going through that right now. Her bestest friend tells her “you can’t play with her” and tells other girls “you can’t play with us”. And she listens. Which is jaw-dropping, as she has been rightly described as being very sure of herself and “having a strong character”. Thankfully, her teacher picked up on it right away, and separated them into different work groups, and put them at different tables at lunch so that Pea can strengthen her friendships with other girls.

      Oh, your poor boy. That is even harder.
      One day, we’ll have multiple coffees. Right now, I could use the martini.
      Love ya.

  3. My sons’ school is extremely proactive about bullying. They seem to think that the best thing to do is report everything as early as possible and get the kids involved in doing the reporting. Take your child with you and together explain to the teacher, the grade leader, the principal – in order, the situation. They also have all these little mini sessions all year long that focus on different types of bullying and how to respond, which is basically “Say no and walk away. If they continue, report them”

    Which I must admit sounds like tattling to me but 35 years ago when I was on a primary school playground it was ‘hit back or get beaten and get beaten worse for telling’ so my perspective is a little skewed

    • I’m with you on the tattling! Its a tough lesson, determining what is “reporting inappropriate behavior”, and what is outright tattling – its a fine line, sometimes.

      This parenting thing is a never ending battle, isn’t it!

  4. Your hubby is absolutely right in what he said but for a kid Boo’s age that doesn’t help much.

    It is so hard but you have done all the right things. I think you have to keep on top of the school and, if it continues, eventually confront the parents. I have been through it with mine with the added dimension that the kid’s mother was also active in the bullying. Sadly these things don’t always blow over quickly.

    Just keep talking to Boo, don’t let him think he is on his own, kids will often keep it to themselves. It is brilliant that your meal routine enables an atmosphere and routine that lets your kids talk easily about what is going on. Keep doing what you are doing and take every opportunity to reaffirm how clever he is.

  5. Thanks for all the words of support.
    Its sad to say, but out of the 6 boys in his class, 4 are being bullied – so at least its not like he is being singled out. I don’t think the school has talked to the mom, so the next time it occurs, she will be brought into it.
    Somehow.

    Passive-aggressive, remember?

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