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5 year old being teased on the school bus

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I am writing this with a broken heartgreensad.gif  My beautiful, sweet just turned 5 year old son told me this morning that the older kids on the school bus are teasing him about his ears.  He doesn't have big ears but they are very soft, and when he wears his baseball hat, his ears fold forward.  He wouldn't get on the bus this morning until his ears were tucked into his hat. 

 

We had a quick chat before he got on the bus this morning about ignoring the kids, not sitting near them etc.  Is there anything else I can do?  How do I make sure he does not become self concious about this?  He is very quiet, and there is no way he is going to say anything to the kids (tell them to stop, or they are not being very nice).  My 6 year old daughter takes to bus as well but she is also very quiet and I don't know that she would stand up to them either.

 

I know this probably sounds very petty and not something to worry about.  But I was horribly teased all though school, never had any help dealing with it, and it still affects me to this very day.  I want to use this as a teaching opportunity, and help build his self confidence but I don't know how.  I can't stand the though of any of my babies going through this.  The thought of him sitting on the bus sad is killing me.

 

Okay, now I am in tears and want to go to the school and bring him home and never let him leave again.

 

How do I help him?

 

Sorry for the rambling post.

post #2 of 27
Is the bus the only option for getting to school?
post #3 of 27

You could talk to the driver, and have your son sit behind the driver's seat.

post #4 of 27

My ds was briefly worried about his ears sticking out but he was much older and not getting teased. It was just the result of a short haircut. I pointed out that ears that stick out a little catch the noise better so he can hear better. Since dh, who is a little deaf, has ears unusually close to his head, I was able to point out that he can hear better than his daddy. I was somewhat joking because dh is hard of hearing from noise damage. But ds was comforted.

 

You could try coaching ds and giving him appropriate things to say in response. Have him practice saying "Thank you, it helps me hear better." Kids tease because it makes the child upset. Having the child say "Thank you" takes the steam out of their sails. My ds learned that because I would say thank you whenever he said something insulting to me. It annoyed him that I didn't get upset. But he turned around and started saying "Thank you!" to other kids that said mean things.

post #5 of 27

I would talk to the bus driver about letting him sit close to the front.  In our bus system, most of the drivers have the kinder and first graders sit closer to the front and the school only goes through third.

 

If it's important to him, it's important.  Yes, we all need to stand up for ourselves and let that kind of thing roll off but that's a BIG JOB for a five year old.  Maybe the driver can help you out or maybe you can tell your son to just try to sit close to the front.
 

post #6 of 27
I feel for you -- I have a 5 y.o. who is SUPER-sensitive to criticism and comes home upset about things other kids say to her... Here's what I would do: wait it out for a week or two and see if things get better...mentioning the issue to the bus driver seems like a good idea (but in a private place, not in front of the other kids on the bus lest your son get teased even more for having an "overprotective mom"!) It's possible the driver could give the kids on the bus a brief pep talk about how to treat others and what is and isn't acceptable during the commute. I had some pretty strict bus drivers in my day who were able to enforce good behavior, but only because they "laid down the law" from the beginning.... If the teasing doesn't stop and your son continues to have problems, I'd look at alternative ways to get him to school... my feeling is that every parent needs to do whatever it takes to protect their kids -- no child should be worried or afraid on their way to school...it's unacceptable. I remember being teased on the bus when I was in the 6th grade and no one did anything about it. I still remember it, and that was over 30 years ago! So, hang in there...and good luck. :)
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies.

 

I could pull him off the bus (and will if this continues) but I would rather teach him how to respond and how to deal with situations like this.  I doubt this is the last time soemone is going to be mean to him in his life, and I think it is important for me to teach him how to handle it.  I will definitely be encouraging him to sit up near the front of the bus.

post #8 of 27

Honestly? I would pull him from the bus and find another way to school for the time being (if you are able). I hear you when you say you want to teach him how to deal with this -- but my feeling is that I want to teach my children that they are empowered to remove themselves from a situation where they feel uncomfortable or where someone is being mean to them. That's what I do as an adult, after all. I choose to remove myself from people who treat me in an ugly way. There is never a situation I "have" to be in where someone treats me ugly. Maybe when I managed retail (the customers lol), but even then I could have made a career change (I was choosing to work there).

 

 I also want to teach my kids that I will always advocate for them in situations when they feel victimized. I think modeling this behavior is how they learn to advocate for themselves. If there is no possible way to remove him from the situation temporarily, I would probably encourage him to sit near the bus driver and to ignore them.

post #9 of 27
I feel for you. My ds is 6 and last year when he was in kindergarten he had problems on the bus too. Please do not wait another day to see if it keeps up- that is really hard for a 5 year old to sit there, trapped on a bus while older kids tease him. This is what I did- I emailed the principal and told him what happened. He replied and told me he would immediately follow up with the guidance counsellor, who is the school's "anti-bullying specialist". She replied that she would take care of it immediately and the next day she got on the bus and gave everyone assigned seats, making sure the kindergartners were right up at the front, and the boy who was picking on him was no where near him. That fixed the problem. Please don't wait- the schools these days take these situations very seriously and will make sure your ds has a positive experience while in their care. I spoke with a child psychologist about ways to help my ds cope if he was ever in a similar situation ( which I'm sure he will be at some point), and she said that the kids who are the least likely to be bullied are those that respond to the bully with a short, but firm, phrase that shows they don't care. So, for example, if a kid made fun of your ds, the best way for him to respond would be to say something like, "oh, was that suppose to be funny?" and then turn his attention away. Super hard for a five year old to do, I know. She said they had studied middle school children for this theory but I started practicing with my ds and role playing and he seems to get the concept- we'll see if he applies it. But the one thing I always make sure my kids know is that they do not have to put up with bullies- I've had other parents say stuff like "boys will be boys" but that is not acceptable to me and I won't let my boys believe that that is normal behavior. The more we bring it out in the open and call these kids out on their nasty behavior, the less accepting others will be to it as well. My kids regularly tell bullies to back off when they see younger children getting teased and I feel proud that I've taught them that it's not ok to treat people that way and we are not going to just look the other way and hope it just stops.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsDinkley View Post

Thanks for all the replies.

 

I could pull him off the bus (and will if this continues) but I would rather teach him how to respond and how to deal with situations like this.  I doubt this is the last time someone is going to be mean to him in his life, and I think it is important for me to teach him how to handle it.  I will definitely be encouraging him to sit up near the front of the bus.

 

While I agree with you in theory, in practise, this is a very difficult lesson to teach at this age.  I have had some heart breaking conversations with my son, who is six, about hurt feelings and he is just not capable of grasping the concepts I am trying to teach him.  So for now, I choose to supervise closely or remove him from situations that are hurtful.  That said, his tolerance seems to grow with each passing year and I could see that he acquiring defensive social skills.  This year he is taking Taekowndo classes and that helps too.  In my experience, it is better to pull young children out of these situations, if you can, while at the same time help them acquire the skills you want them to have.  

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsDinkley View Post

 but I would rather teach him how to respond and how to deal with situations like this.  I doubt this is the last time soemone is going to be mean to him in his life, and I think it is important for me to teach him how to handle it.  I will definitely be encouraging him to sit up near the front of the bus.

mama with due respect dont you think he is too young to start growing a thick skin. 

 

you definitely are on the right track. he needs to learn how to handle it. but at 5? i think not. not every morning 5 days a week. that is way too much. 

 

talk to the bus driver. if it does not stop i would stop having him take the bus.

 

plus he will know mommy did something for him. when he felt unsafe mommy took action to make sure it didnt happen again.

 

in situations like this you do have a choice. there are going to be many more opportunities where getting out of the situation is not going to be a choice. that's when you bolster up his self esteem so he can battle forth with armour. 

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsDinkley View Post

Thanks for all the replies.

 

I could pull him off the bus (and will if this continues) but I would rather teach him how to respond and how to deal with situations like this.  I doubt this is the last time soemone is going to be mean to him in his life, and I think it is important for me to teach him how to handle it.  I will definitely be encouraging him to sit up near the front of the bus.

bolding mine

 

I rode the school bus for 12 years, and I haven't yet found another situation quite like it.  Even when I had a strict bus driver who kept on top of things as well as possible, there was still some f***ed up s**t going on. 

post #13 of 27
I agree that 5 is too young to be dealing with older bullies without backup. And don't count on the bus driver. Some drivers ignore what goes on during the ride because 'My job is just to drive the bus'. I know a family that ended pulling their kids because they were getting off the bus with facial bruises everyday. That is probably the exception, but it can happen.

Don't children walk to school anymore? Not even grade school?
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Don't children walk to school anymore? Not even grade school?

when we lived closer to the school, sure. we'd even walk half an hour. but once we were an hours walk away we'd walk only ocassionally. 

 

however if a family was facing this on the bus in California - there would be rejoicing. parents would now have a bigger problem. HOW to even get their child to school, because in our school districts buses were pulled except for special needs students. 

post #15 of 27

Our school is like, five miles away along six busy lanes.  No, my kid doesn't walk to school. 

post #16 of 27
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not judging parents for putting their children on busses. I am shocked by the school districts. This trend cannot be good for the children, to group families from a wider area into a school to save money, and putting the schools in places that are accessible by bus and car, but not on foot.

I grew up in a different time, and I searched out a small school district, which then merged with a neighboring district, forming a large one. Best laid plans...
post #17 of 27

I think I would see if it settles down and give him some things to say in response.   My oldest is very passive so we had to do a lot of role playing with him to practice what to say when someone hurt his feelings or did something he didn't like.  Give him a chance to navigate this new world and if it continues, pull him from the bus.  My kids are NOT on the bus bc one is special needs and I am too afraid to let me kids get on there and possibly go through the bullying I went through as a kid.

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

I certainly don't expect him to grow a "thick skin" at this age but there is no way to protect kids from every hurtful situation that comes their way.  I think it is important to teach kids how to deal with the things life throws at them. I have emailed the principal and will speak with the bus driver Monday.  My children attend a very small private school, and there is zero tolerance for any type of bullying.  From my understanding, the principal will send a letter to the children's parents for the first offense, second offense and they will be off the bus.  We are way too far from school for them to walk, it would take hours to get there by foot.

 

We have had a couple nice talks this weekend about why kids tease, we've done some role playing, and he seems to feel better about the situation.  I also told him that if he didn't want to take the bus anymore, I would find another way to get him to school.  He still wants to take the bus.

 

I know people here won't agree with me and think I should immediately pull him off the bus but in my world, that's not how life works.  He knows I am trying to resolve this for him by speaking to the appropriate people and if at any time he no longer wants to take the bus, he won't have to.

 

Thanks again for all the responses.

post #19 of 27

OP i completely AGREE with your plan of action. 

 

i would do exactly what you would do. 

 

life is not black and white and i surely dont want you to pull your son right away. i would try everything to make it work before i take the extreme step. 

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsDinkley View Post

I certainly don't expect him to grow a "thick skin" at this age but there is no way to protect kids from every hurtful situation that comes their way.  I think it is important to teach kids how to deal with the things life throws at them. I have emailed the principal and will speak with the bus driver Monday.  My children attend a very small private school, and there is zero tolerance for any type of bullying.  From my understanding, the principal will send a letter to the children's parents for the first offense, second offense and they will be off the bus.  We are way too far from school for them to walk, it would take hours to get there by foot.

 

We have had a couple nice talks this weekend about why kids tease, we've done some role playing, and he seems to feel better about the situation.  I also told him that if he didn't want to take the bus anymore, I would find another way to get him to school.  He still wants to take the bus.

 

I know people here won't agree with me and think I should immediately pull him off the bus but in my world, that's not how life works.  He knows I am trying to resolve this for him by speaking to the appropriate people and if at any time he no longer wants to take the bus, he won't have to.

 

Thanks again for all the responses.

 

Sounds like both of you are handling it really well  Thank you for the update :)

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