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Dealing with bullies? Please share your advice

  • I posted this out in the forums, too, under "off topic," but am hoping members in this group might weigh in as well...

    Our 9-year-old, G., is having a bad experience with bullies at school. The physical aspect has stopped -- for now -- but these mean kids are saying mean things, and our boy doesn't quite know how to deliver a snappy comback or brush it off. There are other issues at play, too -- G. has Asperger's Syndrom, which is a mild form of Autism, and he doesn't automatically understand how to read social cues (facial expressions, body language, gestures, tone of voice, things that we generally take for granted)...

    His mom (G. is my stepson) has yet another meeting set up with teachers and school administrators, and I'm trying to help her by gathering information about how other parents and other kids have dealt with school bullies. We're trying to find ways to help G. cope in the short term while the adults set things straight in the long term.

    Has your kid been bullied? How did you handle it? What did your kid do to cope?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 28th November 2007
  • My kid has been bullied. The school principal told me "kids will be kids" when I brought it to his attention. So I called the police and told them what was happening. They called the principal and suddenly he was VERY INTERESTED in resolving the issue. I would have gone so far as to file a police report on the grounds of harassment had the school not jumped in to resolve the issue after the police phoned them. In short, my advice: be a hard ass with the school. They need to act RIGHT NOW. Your child's emotional and physical safety is not something that should be put at risk for any amount of time.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KathyHowe on 29th November 2007
  • Thanks, Kathy... I appreciate your input!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 29th November 2007
  • Bullying always makes me feel so helpless. You can meet with the teachers, you can try to meet with the other parents, you can talk strategies with your child. They need to know the powers that be are behind them; they need to know they have recourse. And sometimes you can do all that and the situation doesn't change.

    None of my kids have suffered a lot at the hands of bullies, but they've all had some negative exchanges along the way. Fortunately, they all seem to have the self-confidence to deal with it. I got complaints, but no pleas for intercession, nor did I feel it was warranted in any but oe instance, where the bully in question happened to be a teacher.

    I like Kathy's take-no-prisoners approach.

    When my youngest was in grade 6, she told me that in grade 4 a few kids followed her home for a couple of blocks one day, taunting her. When I asked what she'd done about it, she said, "I told them, 'Oh F**k off!'."

    My eyes popped a wee bit at the thought of my then 8-year-old bellowing that kind of language on our quiet middle-class street, and while I can't imagine myself suggesting this response to a child, I admit I laughed when she told me. Apparently that was the last time they tried it. Conciliation rarely works with bullies; they respect a show of strength. And we all know they're mostly cowards.

    I think Emma shares Kathy's attitude to this issue...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 15th December 2007
  • Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, as do their victims. My son also has Asperger's, and we've had him in counseling to learn social behavior and coping skills. He is lucky to attend a school with a very inclusive climate; the other kids treat him well. Those who don't, well, they keep their distance. He's blind, too, and that' makes him stick out in a crowd.

    Administrators have been very cooperative with us and very firm with bullies. Thank goodness!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 16th March 2008
  • Wow, I am new to the site and I had to deal with this with my son, he is 10 and new to the school. My son was talking to his "nanny" and he told her that the boys were calling him "gay". She immediately called me and told me all about the conversation.She was quite upset. I talked to him and asked him if he wanted me to intervene and talk to the teacher. He told me "no". A few weeks later, he opens up and is so frustrated because they had not only called him a gay but they also called him a "fagot/fag". I then spoke to the teacher and expressed by concerns and she too was very upset. She put a kabash on the whole thing. She was really great about how she approached the kids. Instead of stating that my son reported this to her, she said that some students during recess overheard them say this to my son. The kids acknowledge that the did this and they were punished. The school, I was told later has a no tolerance against harassment and informed them that if they did this again, they would be expelled. Wow... I was amazed. My son is now feeling a lot more comfortable at school and he doesn't hang out with those boys.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Eling_Kim on 5th May 2008
  • I don't know whether I should call it bullying but I know that my son's elementary school is having to deal with kids telling each other they are going to get "jumped" for one reason or another. I blame it on all those awful, awful YouTube videos of kids beating one another up. Of course, my kids haven't seen these videos but I'm thinking some of the other kids have.

    I've told him to protect himself so as not to get injured but to get to an adult as soon as possible. I also know that they've encouraged the students to confidentially report any threats made against them either by talking to an adult or writing about it in their daily journals which the teachers read each day.

    Fortunately, we've always had an open relationship with my son so I feel confident he would confide in me if he received any threats.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ARFamilyFun on 6th May 2008
  • My daughter was getting bullied terribly in grade 5...this one girl would not let up. I told K. to do all the right things, walk away, ignore her, tell the teacher...nothing worked and K. became increasingly upset. I went to the teacher who was useless, went to the principle who was an idiot.....they both gave me the "we didnt see anything, so it cant be proven"...grrrrr....FINALLY I went back to the teacher and told him that I had given K. permission to beat the crap out of that kid if she came near her again...NOT that I really meant it, BUT it gave K. some much needed leverage. She told the girl that if she came near her again ( K. was a foot taller) she would slam her against the brick wall and punch the sh*t out of her.....SHEESH...but it worked. Okay, maybe not the best advice in the world...but sometimes you need to fight fire with fire.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Karen on 6th May 2008
  • My daughter is 3 and I am terribly worried about bullying when she reach school age, I think if and when it happens to us, I will personally talk to the parents and to the bully directly, of course I would first attempt to talk to my child about doing the right things first, talk to the teachers, admin etc. Sometimes those kids are not give direction and guidance by the parents so there must be somebody that should step up to the plate and show the kid right from wrong. Some people might disagree with me and might say its not my job to discipline the kids but I feel that some parents are just slackers and they just don't care, or even worst actually tolerate and make excuses for their kid's bad behavior. My take on this is, they should raise productive kids, not as menaces to the society and somebody ought to let them know that.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mia on 7th May 2008

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