Kindergarten bullying - UPDATED!!! My son "brings it on himself." - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:35 AM
 
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I agree with the PPs. It sounds like an unfortunate choice of words. If the teacher has otherwise been open, receptive, and tried to address the issues in the class, I would say that she was probably tired from a long day and was trying to articulate what a lot of us who have had our kids bullied do know . .. there is always a dynamic between (to riff off Coloroso's book) the bully, the bullied, and the bystander. Although, as I said upthread, I didn't find the book to be particularly useful, one thing I did take away from reading it was that there is a triangle of interactions and reactions.

 

As parents of children who are being hurt (emotionally, physically, however) at school, it's often very easy to fall into believing our children are poor innocent victims. Now . . . sometimes they really are. But sometimes they do "bring things on themselves." I"m not saying *any* child deserves to be bullied! But I am saying that some children, like my son, just don't fit into certain classrooms (hence, moving him to a new school where he did fit in was *for us*, the best solution). Other children are, as PPs have described, very reactive (and my son was like this, too. I finally told him at one point, "Stop crying in front of other children!"). Now . . is it fair that the other children take advantage of that? NO! But learning to control that reactivity may help the child a lot going forward. Some kids have "weird" behaviors. While all children should accept other kids, that's really a learned skill for kids, in many cases, especially if a child is eating dirt  or whatever (to take another example from upthread) So helping the child be less "weird" may help.

 

Once again, I'm not saying your child is "weird" or bringing this on himself! But I am saying kindergartners are really young. They are *all* still learning about the power of words, the power of inclusion and exclusion, and how to work within social groups. You need to find out what is going on with your son in this dynamic and see how you and your family can best approach it.

 

Hang in there. This is tough stuff and it's so hard to see your little one hurting.

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Old 01-04-2012, 01:08 PM
 
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The more I think about this situation, the more I think the teacher is part of the problem.  From the two statements OP has reported, "I tell them they don't have to be friends after school", and "he brings this on himself", I think she really feels that bullying is just a normal part of childhood.  I think the kids are picking up on her attitude, and the bullies feel (apparently correctly) that they can get away with their behavior.

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Old 01-04-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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 She said she did overhear the girls say that no one liked him and that she spoke to them immediately about it. She says she is very anti bullying and that she has explained to the class that they don't need to be friends after school, but that they need to get along while in class. She said she don't tolerate that behavior with any of the kids. 


I have said similar things to my children. The fact is, they don't have to like everyone and they definitely don't have to be friends with everyone - in school or out. They do have to treat others with civility and kindness (which includes NOT saying things like "no one likes you"), and as far as time at school, I agree with inclusive play policies - "you can't say you can't play".

 

If that is essentially what the teacher said to these children, and she does not tolerate bullying at school, then I have no issue with telling children that they don't have to be friends outside of school hours. 

 

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Old 01-04-2012, 03:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FedUpMom View Post

The more I think about this situation, the more I think the teacher is part of the problem.  From the two statements OP has reported, "I tell them they don't have to be friends after school", and "he brings this on himself", I think she really feels that bullying is just a normal part of childhood.  I think the kids are picking up on her attitude, and the bullies feel (apparently correctly) that they can get away with their behavior.



 



 



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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post


I have said similar things to my children. The fact is, they don't have to like everyone and they definitely don't have to be friends with everyone - in school or out. They do have to treat others with civility and kindness (which includes NOT saying things like "no one likes you"), and as far as time at school, I agree with inclusive play policies - "you can't say you can't play".

 

If that is essentially what the teacher said to these children, and she does not tolerate bullying at school, then I have no issue with telling children that they don't have to be friends outside of school hours. 

 



As a former bullied child, I come down on FedUpMom's side  - HARD. Some kids are natural targets and as a grade-skipped giftie that no one wanted one grade up where she didn't belong (including parents and teachers), I was one, without anything I could do about it. Yes, I was reactive, had poor social skills, blurted out the answers etc. and the teachers were very aware of that and told my parents of course. But they were culpable in setting up a dynamic of "she's different let's be hard on her for it" in the first place.

Children are very aware of these unspoken attitudes on the part of the grown-ups. The teacher may have shown herself impatient and her statements sound like "yes I know he's a jerk too, just don't tell him so in my classroom!"

 

I would try to be very blunt in separating the two issues in the upcoming meeting: "lets discuss what you think makes him a target after we've discussed what you think makes these kids think that it is okay to look for a target in your classroom in the first place?" She needs to understand that it is her first responsibility to ALL the children to stop bullying in the classroom, while your son's responsibility is towards himself.

 


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Old 01-04-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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Well, maybe it's a consequence of different experiences. My kids are the ones who adapt easily to get along with others. They have strong social skills and are often picked to be buddies for new students or help out with younger kids etc. Teachers, camp counselors, other parents often tried to pair them up with other kids and force friendships. Some of these other kids were bullies. Some had different styles of play or personalities that didn't gel with my kids' styles. Some just had different interests and likes. My dc often felt guilty about having a preference for playing with some children and not others. After-school playdates became hectic and unmanageable while they tried to be fair to everyone. Having adults use their ostensible authority to guilt them further and try to co-erce them into spending "free" time with people with whom they really didn't enjoy playing wasn't healthy at all for them. I saw them developing unhealthy, passive-aggressive coping mechanisms. It was much more honest to say, be inclusive, be kind, be tolerant, but you aren't going to like everyone and you don't have to be friends with people you don't like. Life got a lot better when they learned some diplomatic, tactful ways to set up and maintain boundaries. 

 

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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If you are not happy with the results from the school consider another class or school.I pulled my child out of K 4 years ago due the schools failure to provide a safe learning environment. Lack of safety and stress due to bully behavior resulted in a decrease in learning,and increased negative behavior/outbursts outside of school.

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Old 01-04-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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Last year it was a lot worse (and worse still in K) because he was very reactive so several of the boys like to provoke him, he was very sensitive to perceived slights, he policed the behavior of others...


yeah, I feel like I'm seeing both sides. Bullying behavior is never, ever OK, but sometimes the victim is acting in ways that play into the dynamic. Whether the child has dx'ed special needs that help explain the way they are playing into the dynamic or not, the parent of the child understanding that they are playing a role and need to learn to not play that role is part of the solution. I think it's quite possible that is what the teacher was trying to say with "he brings it on himself."  While no victim should ever be blamed for the actions of others, understanding that there are real actions one can take to avoid repeating undesirable situations over and over is helpful in the long run.

 

Ideally, it isn't about blame, but about figuring out how to move forward in a more positive direction.

 

I have one super social kid who makes friends easily and picks up on social ques like a champ. And I have one kid with Aspergers. We have gone over and over the difference between being "polite" -- which is always required with all humans all the time, and being "friends" -- which is for people like.

 

Little kids don't get this distinction. It's tough. I think my 13 year old is finally really caught on -- most of the time. But watching how much junior high kids struggle with this (even the nice kids) I can only image how difficult it is for kids in kindergarten.

 

For some kids, the solution IS moving schools. And for some kids, they just repeat the exact same pattern because a chunk of the dynamic is how they are acting.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 01-05-2012, 02:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post


I have said similar things to my children. The fact is, they don't have to like everyone and they definitely don't have to be friends with everyone - in school or out. They do have to treat others with civility and kindness (which includes NOT saying things like "no one likes you"), and as far as time at school, I agree with inclusive play policies - "you can't say you can't play".

 

If that is essentially what the teacher said to these children, and she does not tolerate bullying at school, then I have no issue with telling children that they don't have to be friends outside of school hours. 

 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Well, maybe it's a consequence of different experiences. My kids are the ones who adapt easily to get along with others. They have strong social skills and are often picked to be buddies for new students or help out with younger kids etc. Teachers, camp counselors, other parents often tried to pair them up with other kids and force friendships. Some of these other kids were bullies. Some had different styles of play or personalities that didn't gel with my kids' styles. Some just had different interests and likes. My dc often felt guilty about having a preference for playing with some children and not others. After-school playdates became hectic and unmanageable while they tried to be fair to everyone. Having adults use their ostensible authority to guilt them further and try to co-erce them into spending "free" time with people with whom they really didn't enjoy playing wasn't healthy at all for them. I saw them developing unhealthy, passive-aggressive coping mechanisms. It was much more honest to say, be inclusive, be kind, be tolerant, but you aren't going to like everyone and you don't have to be friends with people you don't like. Life got a lot better when they learned some diplomatic, tactful ways to set up and maintain boundaries. 

 


I agree with these posts (and my kid was the one who was often excluded at this old school!). I'm not friends with everyone. I like some people better than I do others. People feel the same way about me. I'm closer to some friends than to other friends. And so forth. Trying to force children to be friends with everyone is just not going to work and pretending that we're all friends is just silly. We're not and the children are not all friends with each other either.

 

Classrooms should be safe places. If children have difficult or awkward or just plain "weird" behaviors, the teachers should work with the children and their parents to moderate those behaviors, as well as with the other children to accept and understand each other. Children should be taught politeness, civility, and respect for one another. But no one should be forced to be "friends" with another child because, as the post above says, that just leads to passive-aggressive behaviors.

 

I really don't think the teacher is the problem. I think it's a difficult dynamic and the OP needs to find out what is going on with her child and how she can help him.

 

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Old 01-05-2012, 04:24 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post


I have said similar things to my children. The fact is, they don't have to like everyone and they definitely don't have to be friends with everyone - in school or out. They do have to treat others with civility and kindness (which includes NOT saying things like "no one likes you"), and as far as time at school, I agree with inclusive play policies - "you can't say you can't play".

 

If that is essentially what the teacher said to these children, and she does not tolerate bullying at school, then I have no issue with telling children that they don't have to be friends outside of school hours. 

 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

Well, maybe it's a consequence of different experiences. My kids are the ones who adapt easily to get along with others. They have strong social skills and are often picked to be buddies for new students or help out with younger kids etc. Teachers, camp counselors, other parents often tried to pair them up with other kids and force friendships. Some of these other kids were bullies. Some had different styles of play or personalities that didn't gel with my kids' styles. Some just had different interests and likes. My dc often felt guilty about having a preference for playing with some children and not others. After-school playdates became hectic and unmanageable while they tried to be fair to everyone. Having adults use their ostensible authority to guilt them further and try to co-erce them into spending "free" time with people with whom they really didn't enjoy playing wasn't healthy at all for them. I saw them developing unhealthy, passive-aggressive coping mechanisms. It was much more honest to say, be inclusive, be kind, be tolerant, but you aren't going to like everyone and you don't have to be friends with people you don't like. Life got a lot better when they learned some diplomatic, tactful ways to set up and maintain boundaries. 

 


 

 

Quote:

I agree with these posts (and my kid was the one who was often excluded at this old school!). I'm not friends with everyone. I like some people better than I do others. People feel the same way about me. I'm closer to some friends than to other friends. And so forth. Trying to force children to be friends with everyone is just not going to work and pretending that we're all friends is just silly. We're not and the children are not all friends with each other either.

 

Classrooms should be safe places. If children have difficult or awkward or just plain "weird" behaviors, the teachers should work with the children and their parents to moderate those behaviors, as well as with the other children to accept and understand each other. Children should be taught politeness, civility, and respect for one another. But no one should be forced to be "friends" with another child because, as the post above says, that just leads to passive-aggressive behaviors.

 

This is all very true. It is also, to my understanding, very off topic.

This is not about parents telling their children that they don't have to be friends with others in their free time, or teachers telling parents the same thing if the subject comes up because a parent thinks an anti-bullying measure amounts to "forcing friendships" (because they  are adults and should understand the difference so they can explain it to their child, if need be). Yes, a teacher has no call to tell children who to be friends with in their free time. She, IMO, also has no call to tell them it's okay not to be friends in their free time. It's out of her sphere. But more importantly, it's also off topic on the part of the teacher and clouds the issue.

The issue is whether it's okay to tell another child hurtful things like "you're dumb" or discriminatory slights like "you're gay" - that is NOT about being friends or not (some children bully their "friends" like this, too - some children take it, glad they aren't otherwise excluded or targets for worse). That is about a behavioral issue of the bully.

The OP's child has friends. He does not need anyone to force a friendship for him - not that that works in the long run, as Ollyoxenfree points out (if he didn't have any friends at all, it would make the situation more complicated, but sometimes friends simply withdraw if the bullies are bad enough and turn into bystanders, afraid of becoming targets themselves.). He needs for the bullies to leave him alone.

By talking about friendship, the teacher has been conflating the issues. I agree that she is probably trying her best, but as long as she conflates the two, she is part of the problem, not part of the solution. How are her kindergartners to understand the difference, if she doesn't, and doesn't live it! Same as for the comment "he brings it on himself you know" - it is NOT good enough to say "oh, she just meant to say that your child can be empowered to act so he won't be an easy target". The wording shows she IS, at least partly, blaming the victim for unacceptable behaviour on the part of the bullies, so again conflating to different issues, and kindergartners WILL pick this up.

I do agree with other posters who think that, her heart being in the right place, there is still a chance she will eventually step up to her responsibility. But she needs to understand what it is.

 

Different experiences can cloud the issues for us I'm sure. But looking back on my own experiences, it really wasn't so much about the bullies not wanting to play with me whcih was the problem (not that I wouldn't have preferred them to be friends as opposed to being my enemies, of course, and we actually had a lot of interaction, not all of it hostile, we weren't so different in the end) but about them spreading lies about me to children who would have wanted to play with me, and being encouraged to do so by parents and teachers. Yes, I have proof of this - by middle/high school, I was friends both with the worst bullies and the children they had tried to put off. Yes, some mothers actually sic their children on other kids at the kitchen table! And teachers who do not understand this (or do not want to understand this, because they subconsciously agree with the mothers) just make the problem worse. While I am sure middle and high school bullying must be different, this experience has has made me very distrustful about adults who have power over children trying to frame bullying in terms of children's likes and friendships in the early grades.

 


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Old 01-05-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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 Yes, a teacher has no call to tell children who to be friends with in their free time. She, IMO, also has no call to tell them it's okay not to be friends in their free time. It's out of her sphere. But more importantly, it's also off topic on the part of the teacher and clouds the issue.

The issue is whether it's okay to tell another child hurtful things like "you're dumb" or discriminatory slights like "you're gay" - that is NOT about being friends or not (some children bully their "friends" like this, too - some children take it, glad they aren't otherwise excluded or targets for worse). That is about a behavioral issue of the bully.

The OP's child has friends. He does not need anyone to force a friendship for him - not that that works in the long run, as Ollyoxenfree points out (if he didn't have any friends at all, it would make the situation more complicated, but sometimes friends simply withdraw if the bullies are bad enough and turn into bystanders, afraid of becoming targets themselves.). He needs for the bullies to leave him alone.

By talking about friendship, the teacher has been conflating the issues.


This is a very good point and I agree that this is an important distinction. It is well worth exploring with the teacher further about the context of what she said, what she meant and what her beliefs and attitudes are in the OP's situation. It may be that she is contributing to an unhealthy atmosphere, despite intentions otherwise. 

 

However, without knowing more about what the teacher said, I personally won't condemn her for saying something I believe, and have said, myself. I still don't have a problem with a teacher making an honest acknowledgement by stating a fact - "you don't need to be friends after school" - in the context of talking to students about their relationships and how they act toward each other. For all we know, the children themselves raised the issue by mentioning playing at the park or after school playdates or invitations to birthday parties. 

 

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Old 01-05-2012, 08:41 AM
 
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I have one super social kid who makes friends easily and picks up on social ques like a champ. And I have one kid with Aspergers. We have gone over and over the difference between being "polite" -- which is always required with all humans all the time, and being "friends" -- which is for people like.

 

Little kids don't get this distinction.

 

I agree that little ones often don't get the distinction. My dd is in K and she called one girl who wouldn't play with her or let her play with another girl her a "not a friend-friend"--in her mind people are either friends or not. I think the teacher saying that they don't have to be friends after school is probably confusing the issue.


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Old 01-05-2012, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. I really appreciate that you have all taken the time to lend your various opinions and experiences.

 

 I emailed the teacher while class was still in session. My son goes to an extended class for reading after Kindergarten is dismissed, so I knew the teacher would have read the email by the time I picked him up and I would be able to talk to her about it then. I emailed first because I can get to emotional in person. I did as was suggested her an outlined everything we had already discussed, including all of the incidents that happened and mentioned that I was forward the information to the principal and the counselor. Then I told her I was honestly uncomfortable with her just blurting out that he brings it on himself. I told her I understand that there may be something about him that causes the other kids to react like that, but that is no excuse to allow any kind of mistreatment. Our school district has implemented the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and I noted that it has strict guidelines about not placing the blame on the victims of bullying. I did ask for clarification of what behaviors he exhibits that make the kids want to call him names and treat him in this manner. I again mentioned that it still doesn't make it alright. As other PPs have said, there are kids who are naturally targets, but is not an excuse to sanction bullying. I also noted that it's a problem for the bullies, too, as they are likely to have more problems with schoolwork and relationships in and out of school. It's not just about punishing bullies, it's also about recognizing that there may be deeper issues with them. Same for the bystanders.

 

 When I arrived at school, his teacher saw me and was nearly in tears. She said it came out totally wrong and that she should not have said that. She apologized quite a few times for saying it. She said that there really isn't much about him that makes him a target. One of the little girls who picked on him mentioned that he was repeating himself over and over one day (constantly telling her that he was excited that he saw her at the zoo) and that's what made her "want to be mean to him." The other issue is that he has struggled with some schoolwork and that's why the girl at his table would tell him he was stupid and that his "homework sucked." Honestly, no excuses for this. Because of the comment about him being stupid, I have dealt with a child who now thinks he will never be able to learn, who cries because he can't write perfectly and who is afraid to speak up in class and give answers because he doesn't want people to think he is stupid. The thing is, he isn't dumb at all. All of his teachers (regular teacher, the reading specialist, music, PE, art, etc.) have told me that his vocabulary and articulation are levels above average. He's very bright. He grasps math and science concepts well. His issue is writing and spelling...and his teacher reiterates to me that he is developmentally normal for his age as far as reading and writing, but he's measured up against kids who have had a lot of preschool experience. I'm rambling....we just couldn't pinpoint many specific things that would make him a likely target. He's not reactionary. He doesn't cry in front of them. He doesn't tattle. He keeps it all inside - which worries me. I used to be like that and now I'm a bitch.

 

 She said she is Olweus certified - one of the only teacher in the school who has been through their program. Supposedly, this school will be implementing a lot more of the anti-bullying program in the next year. She told me she wants me to keep her updated everyday with what I hear from David. She had taken David aside in class and talked to him about what the kids were saying. She told him it was okay for him to go up to her and ask her to come speak to him in the doorway (where the other kids can't hear). She moved all the kids seats in class. He's sitting with his best friend and two other very, very nice little boys. He has had a better week so far. I know she spoke the the parents and Alex came to class on Wednesday and apologized to David and hasn't bothered him since.

 

 I don't want to make it seem like I don't accept that there could be something about him that causes other kids to want to pick on him. I understand that it's a possibility. At this point, it's not totally clear why. It could have been something random where he was picked on once and it turned into a ringleader type situation where the rest of the kids at his table just followed suit. I don't believe that anyone should be forced to like anyone, but I do expect them to behave civilly with one another. I wouldn't force my son to love his bullies, but I'm not going to tell him it's okay to bully them right back. I know school isn't going to be all roses and sunshine and that not everyone will like everyone, but calling my kid stupid, calling him gay as if it's a bad thing and making him feel so worthless is NOT okay.

 

 For what's it worth...not everyone is bullied because there is something wrong with them. I was the odd girl out. Why? One day, Samantha decided she didn't like me in first grade. Didn't do anything to her. But, she was a social leader and once she didn't like me the rest of the kids followed. I didn't give big reactions. I didn't want people to see that they got to me. I switched schools in 5th grade, which then put me in the place of being the new girl. If that wasn't bad enough, I developed acne and I had big boobs (big deal in 5th grade back then). I can only describe it as systematic torture from 5th to 8th grade. My 5th grade teacher was a big bully and always sided with the kids who were picking on other kids. Her daughter once came into our classroom and said something nasty to me and when I didn't respond, my teacher - Mrs. Dunn - told her daughter that I was being quiet because I was just "jealous that [I wasn't] as pretty as her." My mom complained and had talks with the teacher and the principal and they made this big giant show of pretending to make things better. It lasted a day and the bullying picked up again. I stopped telling my parents because I didn't want them to be sad for me. They picked on my mom, so I stopped letting her pick me up from school because I didn't want her to hear them picking on her and hurting her feelings. The teachers looked the other way. Any teachers who spoke out against bullies were then bullied by the kids and it wasn't pretty. It was acceptable and something you had to endure and "don't worry, honey, you'll be stronger for it." No one wanted to confront it. My calculator was stolen once and it had to be reported (they were fancy calculators for back then and were issued by the school) and the principal, a nun - a bride of Christ - just shook her head at me and said, "it's always you, isn't it?" It killed me inside. As I've said before, it didn't build my character. It didn't make me stronger. I used to think like that, but then I realized I have a lot of pent up rage and I'm super bitter. I'm very insecure and, although I have friends now, I can never trust anyone. It's sad because I hate that part of me so much and I want to be able to trust people, but my psyche is so colored by the things that happened to me that I'm unable to let go. I don't want it to happen to my son. He's a much, much better soul than me and it kills me to think he could be ruined like me.

 

 I also don't know if I'm doing the right things to help him cope. I've been making an effort to make sure we get out of the door without any drama in the mornings. I try to keep things positive. I remind him that he is awesome, smart and sweet. I tell him that we're here for him, that it's okay to tell us anything good or bad about his day. I haven't been the perfect parent in the past 18 months - I turned into a monster after I lost a baby and I've been trying to heal our family from it. I'm terrified that I damaged him by being so sad and angry at the world for a while.


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Old 01-06-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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Aside from bullying - or before it started - does your son like school?

 

Big hug!  School was not a safe place for many of us - and sending our kids to one can be so hard and triggering.....

 

Kudos for you for being so on top of things.

 

 

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Old 01-06-2012, 09:09 AM
 
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For starters hugs to you for your loss. I had a 2nd trimester miscarriage between my two kids and it totally threw me out of whack emotionally. Just forgive yourself that right now. Your DS is little and kids are quite forgiving their parents missteps when you own them, apologize and move on.

 

It's never been about assigning blame to victims... it's just teaching them to identify difficult personalities who really can't be controlled and keeping areas that can be a problem in check when they are around. I'm STILL learning this. I totally recognize crazy but I get very principled and can't stand the idea of them actually thinking they are RIGHT. It's actually resulted in plenty of adult bullying behavior... even online! You are right, not everyone has an obvious target but it's all relative. I shared why I felt DS was a target with the group that was bullying him but I have to say that he's also never been a target anywhere else. Like I said, he's popular and a leader everywhere else. The bullying started because his best friend decided to climb the social ladder by tearing DS down. That's how it came out that he was so reactive. Even when he learned not to talk back, the fact that he cared was on his face unlike DD who is super bully proof. She just either laughs or gives the "you are a pathetic little person" look to whoever tries to bug her and they are ashamed for even trying... she's even a year younger for grade than she should be!

 

It's also hard when you have a history yourself. I didn't get it too bad but my little brother is one of the very worst stories you'd hear. It was pretty terrible and the whole family is scarred by it. It is hard to let that go and really see your child's situation for what it is exactly!

 

I have to go but I'm glad you talked to the teacher. She clearly feels bad for how it came out. I'm glad she moved people around and I hope things improve for your son. 


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Old 01-06-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Aside from bullying - or before it started - does your son like school?

 

Big hug!  School was not a safe place for many of us - and sending our kids to one can be so hard and triggering.....

 

Kudos for you for being so on top of things.

 

 



Yes. He adores school. I was originally very gung-ho about homeschooling, at least for the first few grades, but Ds was adamant about going to school and really wanted to try it out and is so proud to be in school. When you take the bullying out of the equation, he LOVES school. And he is in love with his teacher.



Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

For starters hugs to you for your loss. I had a 2nd trimester miscarriage between my two kids and it totally threw me out of whack emotionally. Just forgive yourself that right now. Your DS is little and kids are quite forgiving their parents missteps when you own them, apologize and move on.

 

It's never been about assigning blame to victims... it's just teaching them to identify difficult personalities who really can't be controlled and keeping areas that can be a problem in check when they are around. I'm STILL learning this. I totally recognize crazy but I get very principled and can't stand the idea of them actually thinking they are RIGHT. It's actually resulted in plenty of adult bullying behavior... even online! You are right, not everyone has an obvious target but it's all relative. I shared why I felt DS was a target with the group that was bullying him but I have to say that he's also never been a target anywhere else. Like I said, he's popular and a leader everywhere else. The bullying started because his best friend decided to climb the social ladder by tearing DS down. That's how it came out that he was so reactive. Even when he learned not to talk back, the fact that he cared was on his face unlike DD who is super bully proof. She just either laughs or gives the "you are a pathetic little person" look to whoever tries to bug her and they are ashamed for even trying... she's even a year younger for grade than she should be!

 

It's also hard when you have a history yourself. I didn't get it too bad but my little brother is one of the very worst stories you'd hear. It was pretty terrible and the whole family is scarred by it. It is hard to let that go and really see your child's situation for what it is exactly!

 

I have to go but I'm glad you talked to the teacher. She clearly feels bad for how it came out. I'm glad she moved people around and I hope things improve for your son. 



I'm sorry for your loss as well.

 

I want to be sure I give him the right tools for handling kids who are going to give him problems. I've talked to him about being repetitive - which was one of the triggers for the little girl who was picking on him. I know there will be kids out there who don't like him for one reason or another and I'm hoping I'm doing a good job in teaching him how to put his best personality forward and how to relate to this kids.


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Old 01-06-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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The great thing about little kids, they can adjust and move forward better than anyone. I am sorry for your loss and we had a similar situation when my dd1 was about 4 yr olds. We had a baby (her younger sister) in the nicu for months and her parents were not themselves (us of course). The great thing- we have the war wounds and the kids remember nothing thankfully. As your ds gets older, he will also remember less and less and your pain will ease.

 

My DH was also bullied as a new student in 7th grade. It took him years to get past it even though he went on to hs, was an all state athlete, honor student etc but still had that in the back of his mind. For what its worth, it has made him a wonderful husband and father to our 2 girls. He understands those sort of things better than anyone. He also struggled with learning to read so he is ever so patient with our younger one just learning now.


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Old 01-06-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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Okay, the teachers heart IS in the right place. Sounds like you wrote a great email and I am so glad that things are looking up for you both (you and your DS, I mean!) 

While you say he is not reactive, kids may be picking up on the fact that your child appears to be super-sensitive and it kind of goads them. My little guy is like that (and he is reactive - not a good combination either!), can be totally devastated by someone saying something mean to him and while I realize that the other little kid is basically just trying out their power, my heart breaks for him (and I hit the roof when he is oblivious about someone else's feelings, because I think "how would you react if someone did this to you?"). I am very apprehensive about his starting elementary school. I am really not sure how to help a child like ours - you don't want them to lose what makes them special, even though you realize how vulnerable this makes them. I occasionally notice myself getting impatient wanting to say "do you really have to take this so seriously?" but they are five. Of course they do. All we can do is try to protect them as best we can until they have developed a thicker skin for themselves.

I have also noticed an odd primeval urge of groups to suddenly close ranks aganst someone who's put themselves on the outside of the group with a specific behaviour, even if they'd been popular or just more or less unnoticed before - I remember it happening in high school, and I have noticed it somewhat recently among a group of grownups who were sent to training in a fairly secluded environment, sort of like boarding school so everyone appeared to revert to middle school behaviour though they were all around 30 or older - including the "are they sleeping together already or aren't they?" couple (adulterous, of course, the marriage eventually broke up). It was very odd, and very annoying, though my way of not reverting to middle school was trying to remain above it all and seeing the humour and the psychology in it. The lines kept shifting, each time someone else put his foot in it, and even people who shouldn't have cared less based on their former behaviour and friendships would start ostracizing the next person. So I imagine that yes, it might be kind of a ringleader situation, or the group reaffirming its identity against a (quite accidental) outsider.


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Old 01-08-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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I'm sorry for your loss.  I had a somewhat similar experience; after we had our first daughter it turned out I couldn't have any more children.  I went through a time of serious depression, and I worried a lot that my depression would ruin my daughter's childhood.  She's turning out great, though.  In hindsight, I think my worries and guilt were actually part of the depression.   You might find that your worries are part of your emotional upset, and as you recover you'll see how well your son is really doing.  (To clarify:  I say my "first" daughter because we went on to adopt a second daughter!)

 

I'm glad that things are looking up for your son, and that the teacher is taking steps to help him.  Having Alex apologise was a good step.  I hope this is the beginning of a much better school experience for him.

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