5 year old being teased on the school bus - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#2 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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Is the bus the only option for getting to school?
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#3 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 10:21 AM
 
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You could talk to the driver, and have your son sit behind the driver's seat.


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#4 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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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.


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#5 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 11:42 AM
 
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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.
 

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#6 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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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. :)
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#7 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#8 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 03:13 PM
 
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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.


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#9 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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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.
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#10 of 27 Old 09-07-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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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.  

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#11 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 07:56 AM
 
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 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. 


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#12 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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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. 

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#13 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 08:47 AM
 
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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?
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#14 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 09:25 AM
 
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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. 


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#15 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 10:54 AM
 
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Our school is like, five miles away along six busy lanes.  No, my kid doesn't walk to school. 

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#16 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 01:08 PM
 
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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...
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#17 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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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.


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#18 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#19 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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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. 


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#20 of 27 Old 09-08-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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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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#21 of 27 Old 09-20-2012, 07:25 PM
 
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I just wanted to let you know that I totally think you did the right thing in emailing the principal and speaking to the bus driver. My kids take a bus to school too as they are in French Immersion and the school is too far to walk. My ds had problems with a boy teasing him & I let the principal know right away, I told my ds everything I was doing to help stop it. I also gave him plenty of tools to help himself but his problem is that he wants to hang out with the older boys and inevitably it ends with them bugging him & upsetting him... anyway, the solution here was to have my ds sit up front and the older boy sit at the back (which is what I told him to do as well but the older boy would sit near him anyway) & coming from the principal and with her instruction to the driver to make sure the boys folllow through, it seems to have stopped.


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#22 of 27 Old 09-21-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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I would be on the phone with the school principal immediately. It's the school's job to handle bullying and inappropriate behavior.  The principal has the power to make it stop.   In my experience the bus drivers handle dangerous behavior, but not stuff like teasing or bullying.

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#23 of 27 Old 09-21-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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They are probably not bullying him.  But, they are saying something that is hurtful to him.  My daughter wore a really cute sparkly shirt to first grade.  One girl said "Ooooh... sexy shirt" and did a little hula hoop move.  This was said in the  hallway in front of other kids.  She never wore that shirt again.  She was devastated and talked about that for years.  

 

In fifth grade, (where bullying was not only not allowed, it just didn't ever happen) A boy sent my daughter a note saying he wanted to walk home with her today.  The boy next to her saw it, and looked behind her to the note boy and made some gesture...she didn't know what gesture, but later the boys were all seen huddled together, and she thought they were talking about her.  She wanted to drop out of school.  I actually had to go pick her up from school that day, and we lived two blocks from school.  *eye roll*

 

My point is, something said by a few kids that might be thoughtless and downright mean, is not bullying.  It might have been an older kid saying "Tuck your ears in dude" or an older girl saying "Aww.. look how cute his ears are all folded down", and the others laughed.  Kids are not capable of thinking about how their comments might make him feel.  Some kids are more sensitive, and WOULD think first before speaking, but those kids are probably rare.

 

If you want him to ride the bus, maybe find him an older buddy to ride with.  He can't do this for himself, he needs a backup team.  Friends, or a bigger kid who wants to look out for him.  

 

If you want him to grow a thicker skin, he can't... he's too young.  He's at the very bottom of the food chain right now, and he doesn't stand a chance.  DEMANDING the bullying stop won't work either, because you don't really know what happened.

 

Not wanting him to become self conscious about his ears is too late.  He already is.  This won't be his lifelong obsession or anything, but, for right now, he's self conscious about it.  He might forget all about it in a few years when a new problem comes up.   It's a part of reality.  Even an innocent comment can cause someone to feel bad or embarrassed.  

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#24 of 27 Old 09-21-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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He still wants to take the bus.

 I think this speaks volumes. If he was feeling terrorized he would not want to take the bus. It sounds like his feelings were hurt but he does not feel in danger. I think you have handled it wonderfully.


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#25 of 27 Old 10-07-2012, 08:16 PM
 
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Oh Mama, I am so so sorry. I have no sage advice. But I hope this resolves itself. Kids can be so mean. It broke my heart to read your story. Sending stillheart.gif your way.

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#26 of 27 Old 10-08-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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I think it's a bit extreme to say "take him off the bus" after an incident of teasing.

 

In addition to talking to the bus driver, TALK TO THE SCHOOL. They also need to know about this and if they've got kids who are bullying, those kids can be kicked off the bus. That, to me, is a more reasonable solution than you pulling your child (who has done nothing wrong) off the bus. It sounds right now it's not extreme. Obviously if it gets extreme, you'd need to find him another way to get to school so he can be safe.

 

Call the principal. If your kids know the names of the other kids who are doing this, it would be good. If not, what grades they're in would be a start. They know who's on the bus with your son and probably know the likely perpetrators.


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#27 of 27 Old 10-22-2012, 08:03 PM
 
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my heart breaks when i read about a child being teased or bullied. i hope things get better for him. i was teased as a child and my oldest has been bullied so my heart goes out to you and your son. big hugs.


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