Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses. I never really experienced bullying myself in public school, but I can see how it would be quite different having to deal with it everyday in a situation you can't get out of.
Originally Posted by phathui5
One of the boys he likes the most is always mean to him, excluding him, hitting him, telling him he can't play unless he follows this boy's rules.
Have you talked to this boy's mother about the behavior? I know if my kid were the one acting that way, it would be dealt with immediately.
Fortunately, we rarely see him anymore. They were mostly hanging out when my son was 3 and the other boy was 4, but now the other boy is in full time school. I did talk to her, and she's actually a friend of mine and a wonderful person, but we weren't ever really able to resolve things between the kids.
Originally Posted by Lillian J
A child absolutely does not need to be bullied to learn how to deal with bullies that may come along sometime in life or to know compassion for others. The pain and confusion of being bullied early in life is an experience that can distract from the sense of self confidence that works quite well in dealing with later bullies in a way that can deflect or neutralize such dysfunctional behavior. A child who has a chance to develop comfort, compassion, and self confidence in social situations will fare much better if he should ever be faced with challenges. I think your son needs time and space to develop away from those kinds of irrational encounters.
I know of a couple of situations where my son encountered attempts to bully him, and he found that behavior so comical that he assumed they must be joking - the bullies just gave up. In one case, in 1st grade, I saw them simply stop it and become friendly. In one later case, a notorious local bully he didn't know tried to bully him when he was out with some friends, but the guy gave up and made a gesture of conciliation in front of the whole group by picking up and handing to my son something he'd purposely grabbed from him. Everyone in the group was stunned, except for my son, because he didn't know the boy's reputation. I think the common element in each case was that the bully was being treated like someone who was more than he thought he was. That social sense comes from having had a chance to develop healthy self confidence, humor, and compassion.
I see no reason why bullying should be allowed in a homeschooling group - it certainly wasn't a part of the one we belonged to. I'd keep looking for social situations that are fun and supportive, and you can probably find those by arranging your own small group get togethers with compatible children. One on one play can be very rewarding, but it takes work - persistent, ongoing phone calls to make arrangements - and it starts to build its own momentum once bonds get formed.
I completely agree.
Originally Posted by Dar
Oh! I forgot to mention this, but I now that my daughter has defended kids who were being bullied, too, when she was 13 or so.
Yes, that's usually the role I played in public school, Defender of Bullied Kids.
Originally Posted by raelize
to the OP - if this is a co-op situation is there a coordinate you coiuld talk to about it? maybe they could gently remind all parents that they need to prevent bullying.
It's an informal group, so not really. But it's not that bad with the other kids, mostly just older boys not wanting a 4 year old to play with them, and the parents do step in and talk to their kids.
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie
However, I think homeschooling out of fear is not a good idea.
This may sound like a silly question, but why not? For instance, if my son had to go to a school that was known for gang violence, and I chose to homeschool rather than risk him being shot, why would that be a bad thing?
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid
Originally Posted by Lillian J
This may be OT but what is your take on sheltering kids? I don't want my kids to miss out on painful experiences in life because so much character-growth can happen through the pain. Do you believe that homeschooled kids have enough opportunities to stand up for their faith and values outside of the school setting? Trees that never experience wind have much shallower, weaker roots than those that are planted in more adverse conditions. Would you agree that being bullied can lead to character growth in some situations or is it all bad in your opinion? Thanks.
I know you weren't asking me, but I'd like to address this. Your argument sounds an awful lot like parents who say that they don't want to spoil their baby with too much affection, or let their toddler have too many freedoms, because then they won't be ready for the "real" world. I really think our kids will have plenty of opportunity to experience emotional pain, no matter how much we try to protect them.
Also, I think the type of bullying we are talking about is unique to public (and private probably) school. Once a child hits 18 years old, they really aren't going to encounter anything like the artificial environment of public school. And even if, for instance, their coworkers follow them around and ridicule them and give them wedgies, they could just tell their boss, or go the the police, and it probably wouldn't affect their self-esteem all that much. :)