Bully, Bully

Updated on September 15, 2010
D.S. asks from Chicago, IL
24 answers

Help! My child is being bullied in school and I don't know what to do. He is seven and is being bullied by a girl in class that excludes him from all play activities that involve her and gets other children to do the same. He seems to lose a friend everyday this way. He doesn't cry in school he "saves the drama for mama". He is often very sad when he comes home from school and sometimes frustrated and angry His social skills have always been good so I thought he might come up with a solution to this on his own so I've been staying out of it. But his achilles heel is that he is sensitive and vulnerable and wants everyone to like him. This goes on during recess so the teacher is not aware of this. My son has severe life-threatening allergies and this girl tells everyone she is allergic to him. Now other children in class will not play with him at recess and ignore him because they are committed to the bully. I am concerned that this will continue as the years progress and his self esteem will be ruined and that his concentration in school and grades may suffer (so far, he is doing well in school). Please help. I feel so sad when I see what my son is going through.

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So What Happened?

I emailed my son's teacher and briefly explained what was happening and how upsetting it is to my son. She talked to the Principal and the counselor for advice. The counselor talked to my son and the little girl who was doing the bullying. The little girl admitted that everything that my son was saying was true. Apparently, she was remorseful when she found out how upset my son was. Then the teacher talked to the whole class about bullying and kids in the class got emotional talking about how they feel when another classmate is mean to them and also that they feel sad they were mean to someone. Then the teacher re-arranged the seating so that my son and the little girl could sit by each other and be friends in class. The teacher actually thanked me for bringing this up because she said that it really helped the whole class get closer and become more of a team. She said it was like team building. They plan on doing more stuff like this in the future now. When I picked my son up from school, today he was very happy.

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S.E.

answers from Chicago on

D., it's time to let the momma lion come out. He's seven. He may have good social skills but it sounds like this girl is in a whole different league. She needs help more than he does. Can you imagine being 7 and feeling the need to be so calculating and unkind so as to try to make herself feel better or act out her own anxieties or pain. SAD. You need to get in there talk to the teacher, she'll probably play it down and you'll have to go in and talk to her again, always make a paper trail. It's good to go in with suggesstions about how to make it better - refer to bullying websites for ideas. Sounds like something that needs to be addressed now - these kids will keep moving up to the next grade together and if they get in a wrong track, they'll all stay there for awhile.

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A.B.

answers from New York on

Except for the allergies you could be writing about my 7 year old son. We immediatly pulled the teacher and the school guidance counselor in. The guidance counselor will talk to both children together and seperatly and things should be set in motion quickly. I.E- first this girl is moved to another table in the classroom, secondly she is informed that she will be watched and repermanded if she continues, thirdly your son will be asked to speak up to a teacher or whoever is around when she or anyone is teasing him and it should be addressed at that moment. When a child just wants to be liked they are a perfect candidate to be bullied because they won't speak up in fear that they won't be liked. Since this bully has the whole class turning on your son I would demand NOT request a bully conversation in the classroom. Meaning a teacher or counselor talks to the class as a group about bullying and would they like it to happen to them etc. When this first happened with my son I was shocked at how mean kids this age were. I have explained to him that some kids bully others because something isn't going well in their life and the bullying for them makes them feel better because they are making the "victim" feel just as bad as they do. I wish you the best of luck but get on this pronto!!!

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D.F.

answers from Boston on

Make the teacher and principal aware of this treatment immediately. He does not have any one sticking up for him, its your job as his Mother to step in and take charge to make sure this is stopped now. He sounds like a very nice little boy. Do not let this go on another day.

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

I hate to hear of an unhappy little child at school. It breaks my heart for you both. I used to teach and never allowed any form of bullying in my classroom. So, first I would talk with his teacher and the principal and make them aware of the situation so they can be your eyes and ears at school. Next, I would set up a meeting with the school conselor for you and your son to discuss the problem and come up with a plan. You and the counselor need to role play different situations with your son so he will feel confident when a problem arises and know how to handle the situation. I have recently heard of children using drawing to express their feelings when they aren't good at putting them into words. Maybe this would be a good outlet for your son and relieve some of the anxiety he must feel everyday. I've,also, heard that sports is a good way for children to build self confidence. You may want to see if he is willing. Communication and prepardness is key when preparing a child to handle a difficult situation. Good luck to you both!

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A.T.

answers from Chicago on

As a teacher, the school needs to be notified immediately. They cannot help with what they do not know is happening!! Some sort of mediation session should happen with help from the student support team (counselor, teacher, administration, etc). Your child in no way should be treated like this. The girl's parents should be notified as well.

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

Hi D.,

I'm so sorry you are facing this so early in his life. This is the time to start practicing your advocating skills in the school system. You have lots of years ahead of you, so now's the time to go ahead and start learning. Your son is too young to be embarrassed by you at the school talking to the teacher, counselor or principal about this issue. He needs your support for not only the help, but also to know in his heart that his mother will stand up for him. When he gets in middle school, that's when he'll want mom to let him handle it, and you'll still get involved but in a different way. But now he can't fight these battles alone.

The girl feels powerful being able to gather others around her and get them to do what she wants. Your son needs to feel empowered by this problem going away and the girl learning her place, which is to leave him alone. The school has ways of working this out, if it's a school worth going to.

Don't let the school let your son down. Have a sit down with the teacher and counselor right away, and tell them if it's not handled within a week, you'll need to involve the principal.

Good luck, and strong resolve!
D.

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A.J.

answers from Williamsport on

I heard about a program in a school somewhere that is DESPERATELY needed everywhere where kids are proactively taught how to vocally side with a child who is being taunted. I am teaching it to mine. They are told to go to the child who has been victimized, say, "Come on, WE don't need to listen to this." and walk away. They don't know what to do on their own and will automatically side with the strongest child, which they view as the bully. This is another reason we should all teach our kids to IMMEDIATELY lash out verbally to accuse the bully of wrongdoing when attacked, because then the kids will see the victim as strong too, and often side with the victim.

I am all for letting your son be strong and fight his own battles, but at this age in this situation that has already progressed, this is what I would do in this situation. I would write letters reporting the child and incidents to the teacher and principal and leave them with them when telling them in person you expect them to enforce discipline with this child. Let them know you would like verification that it is formally reported. I would recommend to them that they meet with the other children in the class to explain the proper behavior during bully situations and that if anyone is caught aligning with a bully, they will be disciplined (if that's even allowed anymore-it's been a lot of years since I was in school and the teachers actually had some power) and their parents notified.

I would also contact the parents of the little girl, and even though I would like to sock them in the face for being horrid parents, I would keep my tone very kind and leave no room for argument or defense. I would state that you know their daughter is very nice, and this is all a misunderstanding, but she has done A, B, C and you have reported it to the school as well. Let them know you expect them to teach her the right way to act toward your son-even if it means staying away from him and that you will continue to make sure the school enforces it. Do it in a letter if you think you can't keep your cool.

I might even see if I could force a mediation with myself, the bully's parents and our kids to force an apology through a friendly meeting and then have the teacher announce to the class they are friends or something..this would take some thought...not sure....something to keep the girl from gathering her minions and continuing the behavior.

As for your son, definitely let him know he has done nothing wrong and that in life there are mean people. He's getting a dose now that will make him stronger. Teach him how to stick up for himself. But don't leave this all on him at this age. These are rules that the school should be enforcing. Good luck!

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

There are a lot of anti bullying group sites online. My best advice is to check them out. One that I've followed on Twitter is: http://social.bullying.co.uk/
It's from the UK, but the main thing is to remember that the bully doesn't remember later on what they've done, but the kid being bullied never forgets. I was bullied as a child and I would never forget it. It does a lot of damage on the psyche and it's important to help him grow his self esteem to be able to stand up to the bully or get the bully to leave him alone. I hope you are able to find the answer.

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A.W.

answers from Chicago on

You definitely need to say something to the teacher! My son is 10 and also has life threatening food allergies to among other things peanut, egg, dairy products and soy. He has been so lucky to be at a school where the teachers have made it a point to discuss food allergies as a class at the beginning of each school year.

What bothers me most about the bullying you mentioned is that this child is making fun of what amounts to a life threatening condition, which is almost like making fun of a child with a disability! This is the sort of thing that needs to be brought to the teachers attention first, and then if you are not satisfied, to the principal's attention.

I would also recommend setting up some playdates with your son's friends after school or on the weekends. This will help bolster his confidence and also make the kids less likely to join in the teasing.

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K.B.

answers from Milwaukee on

friend of my son's just went thru this thing of be bullied. the friend won't tell me or her parents but the boys that i pick up after school would tell me and than i would call her mom to let her know. it finally had to go to the principal and a phone from the principal to the bully's parents....the bully ended up calling her parents twice from the principal's office before it finally ended for our friend....do talk to the principal and demand something to be done!!!

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

I am so sorry this is happening to your son. Use this as a learning experience. If he can learn to overcome this, it will make him stronger.

Right now you are your childs best advocate. You need to follow the correct order.. Always go to the teacher and then move up if necessary.

Tell the teacher, not in front of your child everything you have told us.. You can email her and then have her call you. If this does not stop, THEN go to the principal.. There is ZERO tolerance for Bullying in all schools.

Teach your son to stand up for himself by telling the girl she is not being nice. Have him tell the teacher that this girl is bullying him..

Start inviting some of his classmate friends over to play after school on weekends, this way they will stand up for him a t school.. I assure you if she is bullying him, she is bullying others.. Consider signing him up for cub scouts or sports so that some of his teammates will really get to know him.

The other kids are not committed to the bully, they are afraid she will turn on them.

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T.R.

answers from Chicago on

I'm so sorry you and your son are going through this. I don't know if this helps but a couple months ago we went to a "friend's day" at a tai kwon do class. Our neighbor has a 5 year old girl that goes there and she invited us. We basically just watched the class for an hour (and were invited to participate but my kids didn't want to). Anyway! ...I was really impressed with the class. They do teach some skills and do drills but also there was TONS of talk about how to handle bullying...all in a very positive empowering way. Maybe this would be something you could look into for your son if he's interested? I'd be happy to get you the name of the place, it was really nice. It's not too far from Yorktown mall. Send me a message if you're interested. I really hope the bullying stops and with all these great suggestions, it sure sounds like it can. Best of luck!

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K.S.

answers from Detroit on

I would let the teacher and the principal and the school social worker in immediately. If you go to a private school the state provides help to all students in the district. your principal needs to call the public school board office to get help at a private school in the same city. (many private school principals do not know or use this option). Do you know the parents of the bully? It depends on how old the child is but you can tactfully approach them at the end of the day when the parents are pickiing up kids. I had to do this for my son. I did not blame the child I just told the parent the facts and asked for their help. I made sure both kids were with us so neither of them can manipulate the situation and the parents are hearing both sides of the story. You may hear something you did not know about your son too
that is not so pleasant. Most parents do not want their kid to be perceived as the bully. I ask the child in front of the parent what do you think other kids say when they hear you do things that are not nice.? Do you think that their moms and Dads want their kids to play with someone who is not nice? the kids always come up with the correct answer. Then I say remember all the kids and parents are watching and do you want everyone to think your nice and helpful? then why don't we do that . Ask the parent what do they think? I also tell the parent that I realize the kids are learning to communicate and thanks for helping to teach them? Its usually a win win for everyone. Good luck.

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E.C.

answers from Chicago on

I feel so bad for your little guy! I would start by talking to his teacher & if she can't help the situation by herself, to request a meeting with the teacher & the girl's parents.

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K.C.

answers from Chicago on

This is to young of a age for this to stop and I know you have alot of responses already, but u as a mom need to make it stop now otherwise it will follow him his whole life! My oldest son who is now 10 and in 5th grade is on the short side and was picked on in the 2nd grade! I knew nothing about this, he never said nothing about this to me at all, so I couldn't help him. One day at school he just lost it, 3 3rd graders where the ones picking on him because of his height and now follow me, my son got his black belt shortly before in TKD, well they trapped in the bathroom and started calling him name he and just lost it and took all three of them down! Now this alarmed me! Now the principal and teachers thought it was cute had to follow the rules of no fighting in school! So I got the call and learned what was going on! So now lets just say no one picks on either of my sons but it shouldn't of had to come to that. So please step in and tell someone at the school and put a end to what your son is going through..

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J.E.

answers from Chicago on

My sister just sent this to me, maybe it can be of some help. I beleive they are books and info on bullying. http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/pa/pa_blbully_pep.htm
Also google it there was some great atricles to try one thing at least and I would also call the school social worker and get this documented fast! This hsould not be happening and the school needs to get a handle on it fast. Tell the teacher , the principal and do not stop until it stops. Does he go to therapy for the achilles heel issue? My son has that oo and he goes to therapy three times a week and one time it is at the shool and they cover it. Yo uare a great mom for helping your son!
J.

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

D., I would immediately contact the teacher and principal! I don't know what school district you are in, but many now have policies against bullying. I know our school will not even allow kids to intentionally wear the same kinds of clothes (girls like to wear the same shirt at times) because that would exclude some of the other kids in class. I had a problem with one of the kids in my daughter's class and the school was very on top of the situation and did not allow things to get out of hand.
Also, contacting the other child's parents is a good idea. We worked with the parent's of the girl that was bothering my daughter, and together we got them together and worked out the problem. Now they are best buds!
Definitely take the bull by the horns. It will help everyone involved.
Good luck!
C. K

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D.F.

answers from Chicago on

D.,

I feel your pain, my son was being bullied as well last year and I wouldn't stand for it. You must step in and go see the teacher and the pricipal. It is our job to protect our children. I went directly to the pricipal and made her aware of the situation and told her this was unacceptable! Last year was rough, this he really hasn't had any trouble. So I think we are good. As soon as there is any problem you must go in and speak with them. Sometimes they don't even know it's happening. Good luck!

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S.C.

answers from Erie on

Start documenting everything your son says this girl is doing to him. Schedule a meeting as soon as possible with his teacher. If things don't improve in a couple weeks, meet with the principal and teacher, and bring your record book. That way the teacher and the principal can read the extent of the bullying. If that doesn't stop it, keep going higher in the school district until you are satisfied with the results. Schools have a zero tolerance policy on bullying, so they need to follow through. Also, you may want to put him in Karate classes, b/c it helps teach confidence, self-defense, discipline.

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

Do you really think at the age of 7 your child could handle this stuff on his own? Could you handle it when you were 7? We are here to teach our children. They are children. You should consider talking to the teacher and the principle. Why not have a the teacher have a class on how to treat each other and explain about how to treat each other. I find it frustrating that as parents we don';t teach our childgren and we are afraid to pertect our children. The parents of this child should be included in the issue as well. They may not know what there daughter is doing? It maybe something going on in the home and she is taking out on your child.
Please I know this sounds negative and harsh, I get frustrated we are making our children grow up so fast. They need us to teach. Your correct if you don't intervine now it will cause further issues with your child. I truly believe you realize this go with your heart protect him.
I will pray for you and your situation. I pray you will find the words to say to the teacher and the principle and they work with you to resolve the issue. Bully is a serious issue and needs to be addressed do it in Love and everything will work out. Watch how your son will change and know you were apart of teaching him and the other kids in his class how to treat people.

Be blessed and I wish you much success in handling this issue.

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A.R.

answers from Boston on

I am soooo sorry your son is going through this. If I was you I would immedialtly talk to the teacher and principal. If these kids are making it difficult for your son to enjoy school then action needs to be done.
I know mild teasing is normal behavior for children, but enough is enough. I would also want to bring it to the attention of the teacher b/c even though these kids are at recess, they should still be watched. I have a 6 year old daughter, and this is one of my biggest fears, I know that it is a part of growing up, and we all went through it. But kids today are cruel. I honestly worry about their home life that would make them be so mean to others. I have taught my daughter respect from day one, to treat people as you would like to be treated. I also think kids mimic behavior they witness from their parents, so obviousely this girl is lashing out some sort of behavior she is seeing at home.
If I was you I would nip this in the butt without telling your son, self esteem is so precious. Good luck!!

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with all the posts here..poor little guy! You definitely need to get the teacher and whoever else at the school involved in stopping this girl from bullying your son. At 7 he is too young and inexperienced to do this himself. He needs you to take care of it immediately.

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P.W.

answers from San Francisco on

I personally would go up to the bully at school and tell her to leave my child alone in a pretty strict tone. If her mother won't teach her to be nice, then someone has to. And make the teacher aware of it.

Then slowly try to train your child to stand up for himself, and to not worry about whether or not people like him. Tell him that no one is liked by everybody, so it doesn't matter what other people think. It's amazing how confidence stops bullying.

A child should NEVER take bullying quietly. He needs to give her as good as she gives him. Teach him things to say back to her (not necessarily nice things), and have him practice saying it to you. I was the shy type who let people bully me around, so I can tell you from experience what it takes. As soon as you stand up for yourself, and feel strong about it, people automatically stop picking on you.

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C.M.

answers from St. Cloud on

Listen, most people don't do this, but this is what my son did. And this was to a girl, by the way. Even though most of you don't agree with this, I don't care what you think, because it worked.

I've tried everything such as "telling the principle" and so on. Nothing works. You need to get him to become to leader in this situation. Teach him to deal with it himself. He needs to let all of those kids know that she's not worth it. He needs to give her a nice punch in the face and break her nose. If the administration won't do anything, you need to get her to FEAR him.

This happened 12 years ago when my son was 9. He didn't hit anyone for a bad reason again. (He kicked and punched again at 14 when he was attacked; self defense.) He got all of his friends to like him again, and from that broken nose, not only did she not bug him anymore, but she was getting teased for her dislocated nose.

Take that.

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