Saturday, September 19, 2009

School & Bullies

I was shocked to hear that my 6 year old is already being bullied in 1ST Grade. I was not prepared to hear about it or deal with it just yet. I anticipated those issues in Middle School.

He was best friends with the bully in Kindergarten. Towards the end of the year, this boy decided he no longer wanted to be buddies with my son and "fired" him from the "boys club."

Ethan came home hurt and crying. I told him he did not need friends like that and would have to move on to better choices, not realizing that the problem would persist the following school year.

Prior to the year commencing, Ethan expressed concerns about running into this kid again and was hoping that they were assigned to different classes. Thankfully they were. HOWEVER, they are in recess at the same time.

This past week, this bully and his friends were outside playing "Cops & Robbers." My son did not want to participate, because the teacher did not want them to play games like that outside. They tackled him anyway. Ethan was flustered and managed to get out of their grip. He began to approach his teacher to inform her of what was occurring. The boys ran after him and tackled him once more so that he would not "taddle." This time they were even more aggressive. All day long, they gave my boy dirty looks in school, and Ethan was scared of telling his teacher the truth. We found out the entire story when he got home.

Always take the time to ask your kids how their day was. It's the first question out of my mouth when I pick him up and again during dinner.

How to deal? Do we teach our kids to "stand up for themselves" and teach the bully a lesson or two? Do we tell them to go through the school system and hope they resolve it immediately? Do we tell them to "just ignore the problem?" What do we do?

Bullying affects a child's self esteem because they are dealing with the rejection of their immediate peers. They are in contact with the bully day in and day out. They fear them. Sometimes the situation feels hopeless.

What did we do? Well we taught him all of the above.

First, we spoke to the teacher and expressed our concerns. She promised to speak with the kid's parents and notify them of the current events. She then separated the boys during recess and made sure they had no contact with one another.

Second, we explained that if this bully were to sincerely apologize, he should accept his apology, but still steer clear of such influences, and find friends that respected him equally.

Third, we told Ethan that we were behind him 100%. We knew he would do the right thing and that he can always talk to us and look for support in our family circle. We want him to have confidence in us but most of all Himself.

So, now we wait and see how the remainder of the year will unfold. Ethan is OK going back to school, but you can tell that this issue is in the back of his mind. He is hanging out with other kids that are friendlier, gentler, and more respectful.

I would love to hear from any parent that has dealt with this issue and some insight you are willing to provide.


Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Hello, well....we don't really have those issues since we homeschool. We do deal with - Matthew said he didn't want to be my friend anymore- sibling stuff. Not the same and it is dealt with immediately.

But- if you have 1 year old girls stuff- we would really love it. We gave away all of our 1 year old girl stuff to friends in need. So we have 18 mo and up, but nothing but the 2 outfits we bought. So....yeah our e-mail is THANKS!!!

Rannyjean said...

You did the right thing. When my sons were growing up, we had trouble with one kid who just wouldn't leave our youngest alone. Finally, we told him to fight back, but since he has Aspergers Syndrome and was very small for that age, I told him to pack his pockets full of dirt and if the bully came at him again, sling both fists full of dirt in his eyes and trash the kid. He did and the bully never bothered him again. Not something I was proud of, but the school wouldn't do anything because it was happening on the way home!

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