My 5 year old kindergartener has been developing very scary weird OCD -like symptoms in the past month, and he had another freak attack in car on our way to school, when I suddenly asked, is someone teasing you, and he said yes. I asked this even though he seems very popular in school. every day after school we stay at the school playground and they all seem to love each other, and he's good buddies with all his male friends in class. But the two kids who bully him are attending after school programs, so I never saw them in action. They are troubled kids, they both live with their moms in an area women's shelter. One of them just came to the class about a month ago, when apparently, the bullying started. I realize that my son can be an easy target, even though he is sort of cool and he has figured out fast how to be cool with the tough boys who, for example watch star wars, even though he is not allowed, he tries to get all the info from books so that he can relate. Also, English is his third language so he struggles with that.
When he first told me, I tried to rule out the possibility that my son just thinks HE is bullied, and if these boys just are rough and crazy and bother everyone. But it was soon clear that this was the official type of bullying. Blew my mind that this can happen in kindergarten. He tries to avoid the boys at lunch but they will switch tables, push other kids away just to sit next to my son and tease. They punch him, apparently mostly him, only once his best friend. But the stuff they talk about seems the most hurtful, they had said in more than one occasion that they hate his mom, HE will not be invited to their birthday, that he talks stupid.. and he will turn back into a monkey because he is forgetting his words.
And the latter has become one of my sons obsessions. He has to check, will I become a monkey if I forgot a word, will I die if I touch this... it hurts me here, will I die. al this in a state of panic, I I try to answer by asking him, he will still insist I tell him again... He was so bad at some point, I thought he needs psychiatric help. Thankfully now, during spring break he has been getting better.
But next week school starts again, and I'm really not loving the idea to taking him back there. First of all I never felt excited about formal schooling at his age. (I started school in my home country at age 7). Never been excited about public school. I'm definitely the Waldorf or Montessori type of mom, and hate how public schools are so obsessed with the scores. So my immediate response was, "I'm so not taking my kid to that place again," and "ok, now it's decided for me, he is going to private school." I feel that I can't send him to a place where he is not really protected. The teacher gives a red card to bullies when she feels like it, but not everytime... and does it really help on kids who get them all the time, and who's parents don't address the morals. The teacher is not there for lunch, there's one cafeteria lady who watches over hundreds of kids... besides the teasing by words... who is ever going to be able to protect him from that.
And I hear an echo in my head, oh, you cant take him out of school, he'll never learn how to deal with bullies and he'll be teased again in next school. But seriously he is 5, how do you tell him to deal with it. My husband told him to punch the guys back, and my son was passionately against that option, he would never want that red card from the teacher. With words... he is learning the basic english, he never watches the snobby kid television, he really does not have the means to insult back with words. I mean if he starts panicking about becoming a monkey when they tell him that, he is SO not in the level of pretending he doesn't care, or say something smart back.
So again, he is only five. If I "baby" him this one last time (K is not mandatory in our state) and keep him home.. will it really be harmful for his remaining school years?
I will go talk to the teacher and principal next week. I'm just pretty sure they will not move the bullies in another class because of this... and I'm doubtful that any conference with the bullies' parents would help. I see them on the streets yelling at their kids nasty. Would they really fundamentally change their way of raising kids because I tell them to? These kids will eventually move again, But by then, will my son have established a role of the teased, will he be an outcast to the coolest kids in his class because of this, and... more shelter kids will follow.
He has made great friends in school and I feel like it's so not fair that because of two bullies we would pull him out of school. But my son's opinion right now is that more important to him is that he doesn't have to go there to be bullied.
I'm grateful for any advice and opinions on the school issue!
Edited by tittipeitto - 4/23/11 at 7:36am