what do you do when YOUR child is the bully??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 09-17-2010, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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seriously, tell me i am not alone here.
our son is 5 in ten days and preschool was hell. he quickly earned a bad reputation and wasn't well received in class by the kids or the teachers...he was also a good foot taller than all the other kids and treated EXTREMELY differently...i felt like pulling him out of there more than once. his new kindergarten is great, we've laid out all our issues and concerns for his teacher and she is just amazing at working with him, but still today when we are waiting for school i can see the other kids eyeing haye up warily..

now don't get me wrong, he is an adorable, extremely sweet, empathetic, overly-sensitive kid. and no, this is not the first time i've made a post like this. he melts everyone's hearts immediately but get him in a room full of kids and watch out...

he started kindergarten and everything was going fine, until he threw a rock at an older kid for playing "lightsavers" (lightsabres) to stop him because it was a violent game. (um...??) also, he threw a handful of pebbles at a classmate who threw a pinecone at a girl named honey because "rocks hurt less than pinecones!" we resolved the issue, he felt extremely bad (to the point of crying) once we explained everything to him and there have been no more rocks.

but today one of the mom's pulled me aside before class to tell me her son nicolas told her that haye was calling him names...and that he has a speech impediment. my heart pretty much fell out of my chest. i pulled haye aside with them and explained that it wasn't nice to call people names and that it really hurt nicolas' feelings etc etc...haye seemed confused to even remember calling him a name (which i can see, because he thinks up "funny" names for everyone, though they get very annoying and sometimes are rude) and apologized and gave him a hug and they went on their merry ways.

so WHAT DO I DO with him? i feel like he has a SUPER hard time getting along with other kids, he's always been very extremely high needs, we are fairly sure he has ADHD, he's sensitive, he's brilliant. like...very smart for his age. around adults he is a totally different kid, he gets along well with adults and has conversations with them and is generally chill (unless he's showing off). i know that i was the same way, i struggled all through school and my mom reassures me...they really did help me a lot having open communication with teachers, being right on top of any altercations i had etc...

i can't help but wonder if this is the result of us always being around LOTS of friends while he was younger though. we lived in a house with 3 of our best guy friends and haye was ALWAYS the center of everything. he did have a lot of library classes and playdates with other kids but he has always had issues with them. (he was always the kid stealing the toys or getting frustrated and pushing etc.) he does well with older girls in the 6-8 range...which doesn't help us at all!

i don't know if he has food allergies other than cucumbers...we make sure to send him to school with an extremely balanced breakfast and lunch packed...i don't think his diet is the issue unless he has an allergy.

now that he is officially in school and it's only the second week, i wish i could just magically help him to do better with the other kids so that he wasn't setting himself up with a target on his back, you know? i KNOW he means well most of the time, i know he gets frustrated and acts out and that it's not okay, i know that he has unacceptable behaviour sometimes...but he's still my little boy and i desperately want to help him (without drugging him) ...

are there any other parents in my boat?

mama to 9 year old h  and 3 year old z

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#2 of 16 Old 09-17-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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I couldn't just look and not send you a . My child is much younger than yours so I can only sympathize. I'm sorry your family is facing this.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#3 of 16 Old 09-17-2010, 09:18 PM
 
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You know in my opinion, nothing you wrote sounds alarming! Or "age-inappropriate". I understand why you are stressed, but truly--he sounds like a lively, happy, sometimes thoughtless kid.

You sound like you're a conscientious mom, and you're on top of his behavior and other than that, you both are just going to have to go through that day in day out grind of school to work on social behaviors.

As far as what to do, I gess just keep encouraging him to do his best. When he makes poor decisions help him understand the issues, like the rocks and pine cones.
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#4 of 16 Old 09-17-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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Hugs, mama. My dd just got thrown out of pre-school. Besides not following ANY directions, she was being mean to the other kids. She's only 3, but she just has so much trouble getting along with other kids.

I obviously don't have the answers, but it just seems like some kids need to be explicitly taught strategies for dealing with their peers. I know I needed that kind of thing as a kid, and my parents didn't really provide it. I learned by trial and error, but I was always a few steps behind my peers in my social skills.
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#5 of 16 Old 09-17-2010, 11:30 PM
 
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I would suggest reading "Raising a Thinking Child" by Myrna Shure(hopefully I spelled that right). Perhaps he really is still quite impulsive and needs a bit more time and help before he can think before reacting or talking. This book goes through step by step to get a child thinking and coming up with ideas on how to deal with different situations.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#6 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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You aren't describing anything that sounds like a problem.

I am also going to say, that maybe Haye didn't actually call Nicholas a name. He might have, but it's entirely possible that his confusion was because he didn't do it. If he did, it might not have been malicious at all.

I think what the real problem is, is that he doesn't make friends easily yet. That doesn't make him a bully at all. A bully enjoys seeing other kids sad or hurt. A bully makes threats and intimidates kids. I think Haye sounds like he's just interacting in his own way.... which isn't working for him. It also sounds like he's one of the youngest in his class. Even though he's tall... he's still young.

What you can do for him, is to help him have a best friend. If he has a best friend, he can get through anything. It might even be Nicholas!

Ignore last year. That was a bad year. Work on this year. It's a new school, a new year, and he can have the best year ever. Don't assume he's not being nice when he's done something to hurt someone. It's just a dumb idea. Not a mean idea. So, approach it with "Sooo... did the rock hurt more than the pine cone? What do you think would have been a better idea to help INSTEAD of throwing rocks?" Then go over BETTER ideas. Then drop the subject.

Always start the school day with "I love you, have fun". You probably don't need to remind him to "Be good" or "Be nice". Because he's not going to think of that when he has the urge to launch a rock at someone. He just needs to learn to think first... throw second. And, he will. I promise.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/...dhd17_ST_N.htm I didn't read this whole thing, but, read through it before you decide if he is ADHD, or just young.

Your son sounds like a wonderful boy, and I hope he has a wonderful kindergarten experience. Kindergarten is the best year!
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#7 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 05:25 AM
 
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You aren't describing anything that sounds like a problem.
I think throwing rocks is always a problem. If I were the mom I'd feel exactly the same way.

I do not think he sounds like a child with a disability, just a late bloomer who is bigger than the other kids and likely feels awkward. They can feel the difference in size.

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Don't assume he's not being nice when he's done something to hurt someone. It's just a dumb idea. Not a mean idea.
I personally think both throwing pinecones and rocks is kind of mean. Not that it's the world's biggest deal or anything. Not that the OP's son is horrid or even a bad child. He's not. But the action is wrong.

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#8 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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I think maybe reframing it in your thinking could help a bit.

I've watched the whole sensitization to bullying thing happen over the last two decades and overall it's a good thing: Parents and teachers need to help kids stop that. What I DON'T like is that so much behaviour, so early, gets labelled as bullying - and the kids labelled as bullies. I think we need to be careful about that. It's a fine line.

I don't think it's your prior social life that is causing this.

I would frame it as mistakes. He is making social mistakes. Some kids need more help with math or reading; some with social stuff. He may be making a lot of them, but that is how he is learning. It doesn't mean the mistakes don't need to be addressed or that he doesn't need to be coached. But it also is not an indicator of his long-term moral health.

It doesn't sound like he's chosen a target and is going after that person consistently. And it sounds like you're dealing with it directly and with firmness and kindness.

I'm not always a fan of the moralistic kind of kids' books but I do wonder if some of those might help like How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends, some of the Berenstein bears ones and that kind of thing.

FWIW my son is more often on the receiving end but he's 5 and starting to struggle more with social issues and it is making me anxious!

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#9 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I think throwing rocks is always a problem. If I were the mom I'd feel exactly the same way.

I do not think he sounds like a child with a disability, just a late bloomer who is bigger than the other kids and likely feels awkward. They can feel the difference in size.



I personally think both throwing pinecones and rocks is kind of mean. Not that it's the world's biggest deal or anything. Not that the OP's son is horrid or even a bad child. He's not. But the action is wrong.

Well sure--throwing anything isn't acceptable in society--rocks, pinecones, toy trains, barbies can all be used incorrectly. But it's also something that I'd guess all kids do at least once before they are corrected. If OP said he is CONSTANTLY throwing objects at other kids without remorse and with the object of hurting someone--well, that's a different story. But in this case he threw rocks and pebbles and the OP addressed it, her little boy understood, and it hasn't been a problem since.
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#10 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 12:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I think maybe reframing it in your thinking could help a bit.

I've watched the whole sensitization to bullying thing happen over the last two decades and overall it's a good thing: Parents and teachers need to help kids stop that. What I DON'T like is that so much behaviour, so early, gets labelled as bullying - and the kids labelled as bullies. I think we need to be careful about that. It's a fine line.

I don't think it's your prior social life that is causing this.

I would frame it as mistakes. He is making social mistakes. Some kids need more help with math or reading; some with social stuff. He may be making a lot of them, but that is how he is learning. It doesn't mean the mistakes don't need to be addressed or that he doesn't need to be coached. But it also is not an indicator of his long-term moral health.

It doesn't sound like he's chosen a target and is going after that person consistently. And it sounds like you're dealing with it directly and with firmness and kindness.

I'm not always a fan of the moralistic kind of kids' books but I do wonder if some of those might help like How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends, some of the Berenstein bears ones and that kind of thing.

FWIW my son is more often on the receiving end but he's 5 and starting to struggle more with social issues and it is making me anxious!
This is great advice.
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#11 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Well sure--throwing anything isn't acceptable in society--rocks, pinecones, toy trains, barbies can all be used incorrectly. But it's also something that I'd guess all kids do at least once before they are corrected. If OP said he is CONSTANTLY throwing objects at other kids without remorse and with the object of hurting someone--well, that's a different story. But in this case he threw rocks and pebbles and the OP addressed it, her little boy understood, and it hasn't been a problem since.
Well he did actually throw a rock once and then pebbles and had done some other things.

Which makes it seem like he is, although within the range of normal, at risk for developing some bad social habits and also a bad name for himself with the teacher. I also think at a certain point we stop just telling children something is wrong and work on a very, very proactive prevention and maybe even consequence plan.

However, again, to the OP, I do not think he sounds like a bully right now. But he does seem to have trouble fitting in and a tendency to lash out which would worry me as a parent, too.

I hope there's someone here who's been through that and can support her!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#12 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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I also am on the other side as I have had to deal with two boys hitting and kicking my son this summer (separate instances.) What we do is brainstorm solutions together and then role play those solutions. Some times the solutions he suggests are a little crazy but I take them all seriously. :-)

For example when his friend M hit him and then wanted to play with him again, my DS suggested telling him that it wasn't nice and that he preferred to play alone.

Role play went like this:

Me (pretending to be M): I'm sorry I hit you; come on, let's play!

DS: No, thank you. It hurts me when you hit me. I would prefer to play alone.

M: But I'm really, really sorry!

DS: I will be glad to play with you when you can control your body. It hurts me when you hit me and I don't like it.
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#13 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I think you've had some great advice from the other posters but thought I'd put my 2 cents in

It sounds like there are 2 separate issues you could work on. He seems to feel that he needs to be in charge of the other kids--the lightsaber & pinecone incidents were to stop someone from doing something he thought was wrong. This is a fine impulse, but maybe you could channel it differently? If he sees someone doing something he doesn't like, he should tell the teacher/playground attendant/you as it is not his job to punish others.

The other issue is that he doesn't realize that other people don't find his jokes funny. We are working on the rule "if the other person isn't smiling, it's not a fun game." (siblings) I think it's quite normal for kids to need to be taught this, it is a big deal at the moment with my 4yo and all her little friends and we all spend a lot of time saying things like "I don't think Toby likes it when you sit on him. Look at his face, is he smiling?" etc.

I don't think your son is a bully. Sounds like he just needs a bit of help dealing with specific situations as we all do now and again!
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#14 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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To me it doesn't sound like bullying behavior. A bully picks on someone in order to hurt them. It sounds more like your son is having difficulty figuring out how to help others in a tough situation (the kids playing a "dangerous" game, and the little girl who was being picked on). This is more of a problem solving/social interaction issue.

I don't necessarily think that telling the teacher/playground attendant should be the first step that kids do in these kinds of issues, b/c then that could lead into a whole range of "tattletale" (sorry about that word) issues. I do think it's important that kids go to adults when they have a problem they can't solve, but I think how they go to the adult is important, too...

So for example, I think in situations like these, it's important for the adults around to help your son brainstorm more helpful ways of solving the problem. i.e. in the light saber situation, he could have invited the kids to play a different game with him, told them that playing like that isn't safe, gone to play with someone else, etc. In the pinecone situation, it sounds like that would have been an appropriate time to talke to the teacher b/c someone was being hurt. Although another option he could have tried was to invite the girl to play with him and get her out of the hurtful situation with the other kids.

I think that ongoing brainstorming and role playing with these types of situations might be helpful for your son.

But I certainly don't think he sounds like a bully... he doesn't sound like he's going out of his way to hurt people. He really just sounds like he's trying to help, but isn't coming up with the best solutions.

As for calling the other child names... maybe there was a mix up, maybe there wasn't. I like the suggestion of a pp, to teach him that if the other person isn't smiling/laughing, then it isn't funny. Do some role playing with that one, too.

I'm sorry he had such a rough year in pre-k. But it sounds like he has a teacher this year who's really interested in working with him and with you. It's always good to have a partnership like that

mommy to Christopher 2/29/08
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#15 of 16 Old 09-18-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I would frame it as mistakes. He is making social mistakes. Some kids need more help with math or reading; some with social stuff. He may be making a lot of them, but that is how he is learning. It doesn't mean the mistakes don't need to be addressed or that he doesn't need to be coached. But it also is not an indicator of his long-term moral health.
He doesn't sound like a "bully" but he does sound like a child whose responses aren't socially appropriate some of the time. A while ago, someone on another thread posted this info about a good social skills program: Super Flex

The other thing is that he may well have impulse control problems. One of the issues with kids who've got ADHD is that their impulse control is low for their age. In addition, they often don't have the ability to foresee the consequences of their actions as well as their peers. In addition to social skills, working on these skills might really help. Some kids do martial arts, but I'm sure there are other ways of working on these skills.

I think the danger right now is that he's going to get labeled as a 'problem child' from the other students and the teachers. I would definitely involve the teacher and the school counselor with your concerns.

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#16 of 16 Old 09-23-2010, 03:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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sorry, i've been without a computer (i'm on my wii - no fun!) so i couldn't respond...thank you all SO much for your encouragement and advice!

mama to 9 year old h  and 3 year old z

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