Bullying - Columbus,OH

Updated on April 02, 2009
K.V. asks from Columbus, OH
9 answers

My four year old son is being bullyed by two boys in his preschool class. I have talked with the teacher and she is in the midst of talking to the other parents. I have watched my son's self esteem dwindle and the once outgoing and happy child is now a loner.

Has anyone been through this and how do I help him rebuild his self esteem?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the suggestions. My coming forward with the problem empowered several other mothers to come forward as well. The school has done their part and if the situation continues the other children will be expelled. Now their mothers are finally believing their children are bullies. The school has been wonderful and so has the teacher and moving my children this late in the year was not an option. The other boys will not be returning next year either.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Wow, expelled?? It must have been bad. Kids around this age and a little older will test your child and he needs to pass on his own. I taught my girls how to take a step forward, look whomever is trying to bully them straight in the eye, and raise their voice with "back off!" They know to NEVER look down, cry or tolerate any sort of attempt to block them from playing and to push back when pushed. I've sat back and watched them very, very successfully defend themselves in situations where they were outnumbered by boys. Afterwards, they can even play in a group. But it's crucial that they pass the test that they are the wrong one to pick on. The bully will remember who did and who didn't give them the reaction they were looking for: fear. You can't always be there.



answers from Columbus on

Dear K.,

I'm so sorry to hear that this is happening to your son! Bless you for taking it seriously and for acting upon it immediately. Don't let it drop, no matter what. Bullying is one of the biggest problems in this world, and when it starts this early, it can have lasting effects on everyone involved.

I agree that martial arts might be a good idea. Make sure that the studio you take him to (if you decide to go that route) should have a strong emphasis on philosophy in addition to the physical activity. The philosophies behind the martial arts are full of respect and discipline, and are tremendous for helping the student develop a healthy sense of self.

About a year ago I read a Jodi Picoult book called "19 Minutes." If you've never read it, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's a great read (as most Picoult books are!), and it addresses the issue of bullying from several different points of view.

Good luck, and don't let 'em win! Show those kids (and their parents) what a mama lion looks like when someone messes with her cub!



answers from South Bend on

I agree ~ if the situation isn't taken care of soon, I would change preschools. I was bullied in highschool, and I can't imagine dealing with those feelings at 4 yrs old. Poor guy! =(



answers from Fort Wayne on

Is there a good reason to keep him in this particular pre-school? You might want to give the teacher and school a chance to deal with this --but if things don't get better quickly than it is not worth it to have him in a place where he does not feel safe. He is much too young to have to deal with bullies--though you could still practice with him ways to respond to bullies since he is bound to run into them again in his life.


answers from Cincinnati on

Hi K.!
I can not recommend martial arts enough. It will give him a ton of confidence & his self esteem will just flourish. AAAAAND, he will gain the knowledge of how to properly defend himself now & in the future.

Good luck!



answers from Dayton on

Dear K.,

It may seem drastic but enrolling your son in a self defense class (like Tea-Kwan-Do) may be the best thing you can do for him. If you solve the problem he will always be scared. Tell all concerned that your son will not start anything but he reserves the right to end what others start. After being in the class for a while you can give him permission to END the bullying. Bullys don't like to be taken out. If they push or shove he can push back in a way that will leave the bully with a bloddy nose. You son will never have a problem with that again.

I know this works because my friend Greg, had to do it with his son, Patrick. When Patrick finally had his confidence he was given permission to end the fight. He only had to do it once and it never happened again. He was a new kid with a much improved level of self confidence.

God Bless,




answers from Fort Wayne on

If my son were in that situation, I'd switch what class he was in immediately. The thing is, in preschool, you still have the freedom to do things like that. But, if you don't give your son the time to rebuild his self esteem, he's going to go into kindergarten already intimidated internally by some of the more outgoing boys, and will be an easy target. I'm saying all of this out of personal experience. My son is in preschool also, going to kindergarten in August, and there is this horrible kid in his class. When I've gone in to help, he's ALWAYS acting out and not following rules. Well, my son started saying things like "Shawn knocked down my tower today" or "Shawn took a toy away from me today". After talking with the teachers, I was told by one of them that if we needed to find a way to solve the issue because although he would have all summer to rebuild his self esteem, there's always that chance he could be targeted again and won't know how to handle it correctly if we didn't teach him now, when things are a lot less complicated. I sat him down one night and said "If that kid ever does anything to you, you do it right back to him because the only reason he's doing it is because you're letting him get away with it" So, within a couple of days, my son came home and said "Shawn tried to take a toy away from me today and so I pushed him and told him I HAD THAT FIRST!" I was so proud of him! It took a few times of standing up to the punk, but my son doesn't talk about him being mean to him anymore.



answers from Indianapolis on

I used to have my daughter in a daycare, and when she turned 2, they had all the 2 year olds in the same room, whether they were 24 months or 32 months - and there's a lot of difference between a newly two year old and a nearly 3 year old. There was a nearly 3 year old boy who was bullying my daughter a LOT.

I grumbled and complained enough that finally they decided to go ahead and move him in with the 3 year olds (because my daughter wasn't the only one he was terrorizing - but she was often the target because he was a red-head, and had red-head siblings, and my daughter is a red-head).

Once they finally moved him into the 3 year old classroom, he quit. (What do you know?!!) But it pretty much took me threatening to "exercise other options" (pull my daughter out of the daycare) for them to finally do something about it because I told them I wasn't going to keep her in there and let her get terrorized by this boy every day. Also, I was observant enough to realize that she wasn't the only one, and they knew I usually dropped by every day during lunch (and I'd vary my lunch time on purpose to see what was going on over there) and was able to observe a lot of what was going on and talk to them about it.

As far as "rebuilding" his self esteem - something that's worked very well with my oldest (who is now 5), is that every night before she goes to sleep, I tell her that she did a really good job that day, and try to find at least 3 things she did that were awesome (helping her sister, eating all her dinner, being a big helper at the store, etc.), and that everybody loves her because she's so sweet. We might talk about who all loves her, or what she might have done at the store that was "biggest help", whatever. One night recently, she asked, "What'd I do good today, Mommy?" with a big smile on her face.

For what it's worth, and good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

I feel your pain. I have three boys and each one suffered at the hands of bullies. My one son was beaten during school lunch to where I had to take him to the hospital, and he was in the 8th grade. It was horrible. My husband always tried to teach them to fight back and stand up for themselves. I tried to tell them to ignore it. Neither worked. My sons are not confrontational, physcially smaller than average, and don't have alot of self confidence. They are sweet good natured boys who don't want to get into trouble. Which makes them perfect targets.

There is a good book, The bully, the bullied, and the the bystander. If you could teach your son a few techniques at a young age it may prevent the same events from occuring in the future. Facing another young child will give him the confidence to face older children as he grows. Adults face bullies too, they are in the work place, on the roads, and in our neighborhoods.

The school must have a no tolerance policy for bullying, everyone who sees it is responsible for stopping it. I hate it when I hear, "Boys will be boys." Baloney, everyone should be treated with respect. I will pray God protects your son.

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