Dd reported a bully, but it backfired - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 09-24-2013, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd just started 7th grade. She came home telling me how bothered she was about a boy in her class who is being bullied by several students. She said he started out very friendly but now he's quiet and doesn't sit with anyone at lunch. The bullies do things like give him bad nicknames (Sir Man-boobs was one), baiting him to explain something about computers and then tell him he's such a nerd (but they used the r-word), when he gets up from the table at art class they all crowd around and don't give him his seat back and he's forced to stand. Dd has tried a couple of times to say "Come on guys, knock it off" but the kids don't listen to her and she's afraid they will turn on her next. She stated she's afraid he might think about suicide or something because he's acting so depressed.

 

So I encouraged her to go to the counselor and tell her what's going on. She did, and asked that it be kept anonymous. Dd told me today that the worst offenders came into class complaining that they got in trouble for bullying the boy, were given 3 lunch detentions, and then started accusing the boy of telling on them. Although dd reported that they did not bully him and pretty much left him alone after the accusation at the beginning of class, she's now somewhat mixed on whether or not she did the right thing.

 

Any thoughts or ideas on what could have been done to avoid this coming back on the boy, while still taking care of the bully problem?


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#2 of 17 Old 09-24-2013, 11:44 PM
 
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Well, i dont think you can control what 7th graders say.  bullying is a huge problem here and kudos to your DD for saying something.  Odds are the counselor spoke to the offenders and the child who was being bullied.  

Bullies know who they are picking on, once they get in trouble its obvious why they are in trouble and whats going on.  The reaction to 'call out' the victim is a natural response, not necessarily the right response.

After years of working with kids, I've learned you can't make kids like each other, you can't control what they say or don't say.  You can't stop the dirty looks etc.  No amoutn of 'character counts' education - what most of AZ has- seems to work.  Jr high is just a plain old mean place to be sometimes.


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#3 of 17 Old 09-25-2013, 12:06 AM
 
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Wow, I think your daughter did the right thing. She didn't just do nothing about it - she acted.   Hopefully it will stop.  I imagine other people must have been uncomfortable with how this  boy was being treated. It would be great if more people could stand up and let the bullies know that what they are doing is not ok, and that others do  not think it is ok. I also understand how hard it is too speak up, as the fear is you will be the next target. It takes real maturity and often not until people are much much older.  So I think your daughter should feel good about what she did. As the previous poster said you cannot control other people, the only person we can control is ourselves, and it is often hard to live our life in accordance with what we believe.  

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#4 of 17 Old 09-25-2013, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Apparently they had an assembly today about bullying. It focused on cyber bullying and they told some stories of some kids who have recently committed suicide that were in the news. It sounds like the school is handling this as well as they can.  And no more bullying observed of the boy today either. I do feel she did the right thing and I'm proud of her. I am just sorry the bullies think the kid reported them. Hope it all blows over soon.


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#5 of 17 Old 09-25-2013, 11:48 PM
 
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It does sound like the school is trying to help. I know it's crappy that the kids who are doing the bullying had to do it again by blaming him. But if it wasn't that it would have been something else to bully him over.  So hopefully it will stop,and that the attention from the school, and hopefully their own conscience,  will help them to see the damage this type of behavior can cause.

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#6 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 08:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
 

Well, i dont think you can control what 7th graders say.  bullying is a huge problem here and kudos to your DD for saying something.  Odds are the counselor spoke to the offenders and the child who was being bullied.  

Bullies know who they are picking on, once they get in trouble its obvious why they are in trouble and whats going on.  The reaction to 'call out' the victim is a natural response, not necessarily the right response.

After years of working with kids, I've learned you can't make kids like each other, you can't control what they say or don't say.  You can't stop the dirty looks etc.  No amoutn of 'character counts' education - what most of AZ has- seems to work.  Jr high is just a plain old mean place to be sometimes.

 

Please, please tell me that this means you don't ignore the taunts, name-calling or ostracism when it occurs in your classroom (if you are a teacher or similar)?  While I acknowledge that teachers (or other youth workers) can't be everywhere and can't be expected to control things that occur off campus, I have been appalled by the number of teachers who don't even try to intervene when it happens in their classroom and the administrators who shrug off what happens at the lunch tables.  At-school bullying has made my son so anxious that he now takes anti-anxiety meds in every increasing doses to try to get through a school day, along with several other treatment approaches.  Action by the administration or teachers when someone is throwing food at him in the lunchroom or pushing him into a locker in the gym would go a LONG LONG way to making us feel better about his chances for making it through middle school more-or-less intact.

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#7 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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Please, please tell me that this means you don't ignore the taunts, name-calling or ostracism when it occurs in your classroom (if you are a teacher or similar)?  While I acknowledge that teachers (or other youth workers) can't be everywhere and can't be expected to control things that occur off campus, I have been appalled by the number of teachers who don't even try to intervene when it happens in their classroom and the administrators who shrug off what happens at the lunch tables.  At-school bullying has made my son so anxious that he now takes anti-anxiety meds in every increasing doses to try to get through a school day, along with several other treatment approaches.  Action by the administration or teachers when someone is throwing food at him in the lunchroom or pushing him into a locker in the gym would go a LONG LONG way to making us feel better about his chances for making it through middle school more-or-less intact.

 

Im sorry if that sounds wrong, No I dont ignore the signs of bullying. (Im a sub so I'm usually only there for the day, seeing the kids for an hour class or so).  'mean kids' get sent out of the room either to the lead teacher or the office.  I have no issue moving kids seats for the day etc.  But the harsh reality is jr high is just a rough place for many kids to be.  I wish your kiddo had a better school experience.


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#8 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 10:58 AM
 
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As someone who was bullied in school- I really don't know what anyone can do to get kids to start bullying. And, of course, the bullying makes it so that other people don't want to be friends with the victim. 

 

It definitely is awesome that your daughter did that, though, I'd really try not to let her get discouraged- it's so rare for kids to actually stand up to bullying in any way, if more were willing to, maybe something would change.


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#9 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 12:44 PM
 
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 And, of course, the bullying makes it so that other people don't want to be friends with the victim. 

 

 

isn't it a fascinating insight into human nature how we silently align ourselves with the wrong doers (i use the term 'we' in a general sense, so please don't take this personally) tacitly by doing nothing.

 

nothing will change if nothing changes.

 

OP, hats off to your girl for doing the right thing. and to the school for taking corrective and immediate steps to resolve this.  i hope it works out well for the child being targeted.

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#10 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 01:01 PM
 
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isn't it a fascinating insight into human nature how we silently align ourselves with the wrong doers (i use the term 'we' in a general sense, so please don't take this personally) tacitly by doing nothing.

 

nothing will change if nothing changes.

 

OP, hats off to your girl for doing the right thing. and to the school for taking corrective and immediate steps to resolve this.  i hope it works out well for the child being targeted.

It's self preservation, and I can understand it. Aligning with the person who's being bullied means putting yourself at risk of being bullied. Especially for children, the amount of strength it takes to put yourself at risk like that is huge. This little boy is being bullied so badly that the OP's daughter is concerned he may be contemplating suicide- I can't blame anyone for not wanting to take the risk of being the target of that. Even the OP's daughter, who's gone above and beyond by doing something, still isn't willing to do that much when the bullying is happening out of fear of being targeted herself. I do not blame her for that.

 

The sad thing is that most people don't agree with bullying- even among the kids doing it, it's likely that some of them are just going along to seek accepted/avoid being bullied themselves.

 

I hope that the school has some counseling options they can offer to the child, and that they've discussed this with the childrens' parents.


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#11 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 02:15 PM
 
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What a great girl! Way to go mama! You are doing a whole lot of right!

 

My heart aches for stories like this one. I see so much bullying -- yes, even in our "nice" homeschooling community.

Being a speaker of truth and a leader is a gift. I'm happy for your girl.

 

I wonder about the boy and about his parents. It strikes me that he needs to find his tribe or at least one buddy.

My intellectual children have found "their people" through drama troupes and through clubs a the local library and in band.

I hope this boy has some kind of safe, happy outlet where he's appreciated. This world needs smarties and leaders and sweeties and ...

all of the special gifts with peace and respect.

 

peace,

teastaigh

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#12 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 06:52 PM
 
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It's self preservation, and I can understand it.

 

particularly when they are so young. aligning with someone also means alienating others. at this age where peer acceptance is such a pressure, it takes a special kind of person to buck the trend, even if anonymously. hopefully the grown ups will get this sorted out for the boy. oftentimes, bullying is not taken seriously and nipped in the bud by those that have the authority and power to do so.

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#13 of 17 Old 09-26-2013, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter reported today that not only are the bullies ignoring him, but he has found two friends who ate lunch with him today! :-) Maybe once the kids stopped picking on him, the other kids felt safer to align themselves to him and be his friend.

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7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#14 of 17 Old 09-27-2013, 05:49 AM
 
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I definitely think that's the case.

 

When I was in school and being bullied, one kid outright told me that she would only hang out with me outside of school but, in school, pretend she didn't know me (I declined the offer)- so there were people who would be friends with me if it weren't for the bullying. I'm not surprised that once the bullying stopped, people started hanging out with the kid. That's wonderful, I hope your daughter recognizes what a good thing she did. :)


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#15 of 17 Old 09-27-2013, 06:52 AM
 
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I am so glad my DD went to an elementary school where they made kids talk through their problems with a counselor mediating instead of the tattle/punishment dichotomy that usually happens in school. Now, as a 7th grader in her second year in middle school, she has stood up for other kids at least a dozen times by actually confronting the bullies instead of telling on them and having them punished by officials, which pretty much always points back at the kid being bullied, even if they never went to administration. It isn't easy, and she says she is scared to get involved sometimes, but every time she has stood up to a bully, other kids have also come to their rescue and even a couple of times the bully apologized and said they shouldn't have done it. I think having a gay mom has made her kind of fearless in this area, she has made friends with kids who say mean things about gay people, and she says "my mom is gay, if that's a problem we shouldn't be friends" and once they know that, it stops. A lot of times all it takes is one kid to stand up, most "bullies" are not mean kids, just products of their environment who will do the right thing if they are held accountable. Once bullying isn't something "cool kids" do, it shouldn't be as much of a problem.
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#16 of 17 Old 10-01-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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I would be so proud  of my daughter if i were you.  She did the right thing. As for it back firing? Simple, go tell the social worker that they were bullying the boy again, because they think he told on them. ....if they continue bullying, just keep telling...and so on and so on. Backfiring? Let their bullying backfire on the bullies. 

 

People like your daughter make bullying less likely because the bullies cant get away with it so easily.

 

Anyway, it sounds like a good ending. Im happy for the boy.

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#17 of 17 Old 10-02-2013, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your feedback. I think she's a pretty great kid. :-)


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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