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Confronting Child's Bully

How I Confronted the Mother of My Child's Bully

The first day my child started school, he became the subject of the class bully's attention. Starting at school for the first time is nerve-racking enough for both parent and child, but to have that first day memory shredded by bullying is truly awful.

Keep reading.

My son Jack is a shy boy. He takes his time to get to know people and tends to stand back until he feels more confident. He is always nervous in new situations and was the same on his first day at school. I tried to settle him quickly and leave as the teachers advise you to, but he wasn't wanting to let go of my hand at all. Finally I extracted him, assuring him that it would be fine, and left.

When I picked him up at the end of the day, I felt he wasn't himself. He was quiet and thoughtful, and no amount of prodding could get anything out of him. The next day he didn't seem keen to go to school, but we persuaded him that the second day is always better. Again when I picked him up, I felt that something was wrong, but he wouldn't give much away apart from saying "I don't know" whenever I asked what he had done at school that day.

By day three, I knew that something was definitely wrong. I wasn't sure if it was just tiredness, but I noticed how his normally tall frame was slouched and he was pale in the face. Again, he wouldn't tell me anything, so I was determined to find out what was going on by asking his teacher the next day at school.

His teacher couldn't shed any light on anything either. She thought he was doing OK and that he seemed to be making friends. As far as she could tell, everything was fine. But when I looked at Jack as I left him in the classroom that day, I felt my heart sink. He was sitting quietly in the corner away from the other boys, and his eyes were large, his face pale. He desperately wanted me to stay.

That day when I picked him up from school, it finally came to a head. He was white-faced and shaking, hunched over and sobbing. What on earth had happened, I asked, concerned. It seemed a couple of the boys in his class had thought it funny to pick on the new boy that week. It had come to a head that day when they ran off with his lunch box, and then, in front of the other children in the playground, they had tipped his lunch out of its packaging and jumped up and down on it.

Jack was mortified, upset, and confused. He had never come across this kind of behavior before at kindergarten, and he didn't know how to handle it. He disappeared off to a corner of the playground by himself and sat there until the bell rang. He had no concept of telling the teacher or of getting his lunch box back from those boys and standing up for himself. He just crumpled.

When I saw him, he starting sobbing. Great heaving sobs with all of his grief and embarrassment coming out. I was shocked, angry, and upset. I was shocked that something like this could have happened at the school with no teachers even noticing. I was angry with the young boys and wanted to scream and shout and shake them right then and there. I was dreadfully upset to see my gorgeous boy crumpled like this. Luckily I had packed snacks and I fed him in the car, hugged and kissed away the tears, and reassured him it would be fine. I ran a bath for him at home and soothed him with stories and hugs and love.

The next day was always going to be difficult. My husband and I disagreed on how to handle it. I wanted to keep Jack off school and protect him. My husband advised me that he would never want to go back if we did that and we needed to get him there sooner rather than later to face his tormentors. So, off to school we went with me determined to scold teachers, parents, and boys thoroughly.

I queued up to see the teacher with other parents, Jack firmly under my arm. When it was my turn, I told the teacher everything. She was shocked, and the other parents who had overheard were shocked too. I had made no attempt to lower my voice as I wanted everyone to know how bad this was and how appalled I was that no teacher had been around to stop it. The teacher reassured me that she would find out who was on "playground duty" that day and let the principal know. In the meantime, she looked kindly at Jack and said: "Are you able to name the boys who did that to you?"

"Tom and George," Jack replied. There was a gasp from behind us. Tom's mom was queuing to speak to the teacher behind us and had heard every word. When she heard her own child was responsible, she was horrified. She scolded him thoroughly then and there in front of the whole class. This was marvelous because not only was Tom made to feel the humiliation in front of his friends that Jack had felt the previous day, but Jack saw him being told off and then punished, which made him feel much better.

The other boy was dealt with too and the parents were incredibly understanding and reassuring. It turned out that Tom's mom was wanting to talk to the teacher about Tom's behavior as well, so she already knew that he was becoming out of control. The school also dealt with it well. Tom was due to move up to the next grade the following term but was kept down. The school came down hard on him and the other boy, and the principal doubled the amount of playground duty teachers on each lunchtime. Also, the school put in a new system where each class had a place to sit and have their lunch with their class teacher before they were allowed to go play.

One year on Jack is thriving at school. He loves it, and you know what? Jack and Tom are now firm friends!

Image Source: Shutterstock
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AmandaS24396 AmandaS24396 2 years
Judithkenyon, my sons has a school-wide anti-bulling program and he and his friends get bullied all the time. My son hates school and always wants to stay home. The problem for is it is first thing in the morning when very few teachers are watching them outside. He is also being bullied by older boys. The problem is when the teachers do find out at school they do not contact the parents to tell them what happened. My son told me last night that he saw another boy get beat up and the teachers where by the door with their back to kids. When I teacher finally noticed no parents were called. I know the mother of the boy who got beat up and she had no idea. He came home with a fat lip and ripped pants and told her he fell. She called the school and they said they handled it. She got mad and said you may have handled it today but my son came home and told me he fell cause he was to scared to tell me in case the other boys got in trouble and did it again. For him to say they would do it again makes me think that his school doesn't know how to deal with bullies. You will never get rid of bullies all you can do is teach kids what to do and hope for the best.
shannong69754 shannong69754 3 years
Awesome!
JudithKenyon JudithKenyon 3 years
I agreed with everything done by the school except keeping one of the bullies back . Unless there were academic concerns as well as behavioral concerns, he should not have been retained. Also, an additional solution would be a school-wide anti -bullying program. This helps teach everyone in school how to handle bullying and gives all the children the courage and awareness to stop the bullies instead of following them.
AmandaS24396 AmandaS24396 3 years
I know the feeling. My son is being bullied in kindergarten by a girl. The teacher, the principle and her parents know. She stays in for recess and has to help clean up, big whoop in my mind. My son came home limping off the bus, when I asked him what was wrong he said she pushed me and my leg went sideways. His hip was dislocated. That night we slept on the living room floor and he started to cry because it hurt so much. I couldn't get him in to see his doctor and my friend who is a massage therapist wasn't answering her phone. I got him to sleep and rolled him on his hip and popped it in myself. I cried all night because the school is doing nothing. He goes to school and I am teaching him to stand up for himself. I waited long enough for the teacher to do anything, so now my son has the right to give her a push back in self defense. I wish our school had the same policy as this one. To many kids get away with being bullies.
MelissaAN MelissaAN 3 years
Thanks so much for sharing! I was a bullied child (always the smallest or the second to smallest child). It's nice to see that some parents hold their children accountable for bullying. We've been lucky that my children go to a school where they crack down on bullying and encourage acceptance. My son is a little guy and despite that he's become a confident and popular kindergartener. He's been in karate for two years and has gained so much confidence and has the respect of his peers. I teach him to stand up for himself and not to cry (or else the teachers or gym babysitters will not understand the problem). I explain he must follow rules and explain situations and always obey the teachers. I'm giving my child a voice and support because growing up with immigrant parents I wasn't taught to go to my teachers and just deal with bullies. I was taught to fear my teachers and only obey. Discipline and respect for elders is still a foundation for my parenting and I teach my kids if they become brats no one will want to play with them. I am so happy you were able to resolve this and that you provided a voice for your child. I wish I had that support growing up.
carrie72535 carrie72535 3 years
I read this post with my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes. My son Luke is 5 and he is on the spectrum and has a severe speech delay. He is due to start kindergarten next fall at a new school. He has been in some form of schooling since 12months old, all special needs schools until he was 3 then our district integrated him into the preschool. He was still able to get his therapies and had an IEP, we had assumed he would go on to kindergarten in the same school, but,no, they don't have a "special needs" kindergarten classroom at his school. So he will be going with all new kids and I'm TERRIFIED he will get picked on. It has been keeping me up at night! The teachers/principal all assure me it doesn't happen at their school but I'm not that naive! It happens EVERYWHERE and the adults are rarely aware. I'm so glad you confronted everyone involved and actually got results. I hope and pray my gentle son is not put in this situation. He loves all people and everyone is his "swend" (friend) in his eyes. He is an angel who would never understand why kids were being mean.
CarolBishop CarolBishop 3 years
I am a Mom of 5 and a Nana of 9- how perfect the timing was and how awesome the parents and school was of zero tolerance with the 2 bullies. I am hoping they all become atleast frenemies and are able to be respectful of one another and I truly believe the children learned cmpassion- a win, win all around. Jack I appologize for the guys acting mean to you. I am sure you would never do such a thing and they 2 guys probably will not act that towards anyone else. You are a strong person- I wish you love.
ChristieCrompton ChristieCrompton 3 years
My husband and I are nervous about sending our daughter to "Big School" next year. The school that she has to go to (because of zoning) is the same school that my husband was bullied out of. He had no help from the teachers, they didn't believe him or his parents when they confronted the school. Now my husband is worried that our daughter will be bullied too and I can completely understand his fear. I have tried to tell him that bullying is not tolerated like it used to be, plus most of the teachers that didn't help him then (20+ years ago) have probably left the school, but he is still very nervous about it. Thank you for your story. I am sorry it happened to your little boy, but I am so glad that the children involved were dealt with!!
KeriRozansky KeriRozansky 3 years
My son goes to a private Catholic school, which I know can be very different from public school. One of the "features" of his kindergarten class is the OLWEUS (don't ask me what it means, I don't know) class meeting every week. It allows the kids to talk about their bullying experiences without naming the bully out loud. The teacher then talks to the kids who had a problem individually so the bully can be dealt with and the behavior stopped. They do this once a week, every week, or when the students feel it is needed. It's usually on a Friday, but they had one on a Tuesday or Wednesday because several kids had issues they wanted to talk about.
LaurieMiller64864 LaurieMiller64864 3 years
My 3rd grade son started having trouble falling asleep. When I finally found out why, he said it was because he was afraid of being sent to the principal's office or the nurse's office. After quite a bit of probing questions, I learned that there was a boy named Justin who was picking on him and either hurting him or getting him into trouble. This was a shock to us and we immediately notified his teacher. She was also shocked and had not noticed anything unusual. In fact, she thought Michael and Justin were good friends. Evidently they have an unusual friendship- sometimes they play well, and sometimes Justin gets overbearing and rough. Michael had even invited Justin to his birthday party. But clearly Justin's behavior was not okay, and I was not happy. His teacher separated the boys in the classroom but they still had contact in the lunchroom and at recess. I checked in everyday with Michael to see if Justin was bothering him anymore and it seemed to stop. Then I found out Michael was playing outside with neighbor kids and had put his hands on one boy's head and twisted back and forth. My daughter came and got me immediately, so I dealt with it right away. The boy was fine, but I was obviously not fine about that behavior. Michael said to me, "it doesn't hurt, Justin does it to me all the time!" Well, you can imagine my response. We contacted the teacher again and said we wanted the parent and principle involved because the behavior had not stopped. The teacher contacted the parent that day and told him he would have to talk to Justin and that he would have to stay 30 feet away from Michael. (Not possible in the same classroom) She contacted the lunch and PE monitors. Evidently that day at school, Michael was still wanting to play with Justin, and he was definitely not happy with me for contacting the teacher. That's when I became very confused about the whole thing. Is Justin friend or foe? (As a side note, Justin is an only child being raised by a single father. Is he just used to playing rough?) Last Friday, I accompanied the class on a field trip. I saw Justin cut in front of Michael and push (probably too strong a word) him out of line. I still am debating with myself about how I handled that. I chose to let Michael handle it because I saw him stick up for himself and tell him not to do that. I wanted to stick my finger in Justin's face and put the fear of God in him, but I thought that would probably be inappropriate. I know I wouldn't want another parent doing that to my child, whatever the circumstance. I chose to tell the teacher what I saw so she would address it appropriately and continue to watch over my boy. She has told me Justin is going to a different school next year. I have told Michael that it is up to him how he wants to handle Justin. I've told him that Justin's behavior is not okay, and that he needs to tell him that. I told him he can tell the teacher or just tell me. He has told Justin in the past, "I need a break from you," which I thought was an awesome response. I think as long as he doesn't just stand and take it, I'll be ok. But after reading about how successfully and quickly you dealt with your son's situation, I'm wondering if I could have handled ours better. Or if the teacher could have. She never did contact the principal. At this point there are only 8 days of school left, and I know she's kind of hoping this will go away. And it's complicated by the fact that I guess sometimes Michael and Justin play well together. She thought they were best buds. I wish mothering came with a manual.
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