Sly, emotional bullying in Yr 3.(21 Posts)
My DS, just turned 8, is being shunned and ostracised by his group of 'friends' at school. One particular kid seems to be leading it; he goes up to my son when he's talking to others in the group, turns his back on him and leads the others away. He tells DS he's 'dumb' and to 'go away'. DS is left standing alone in the playground.
I have followed advice on bullying in trying to help DS; I have taken his 'friends' to football club together, had them round our house, invited the bully to Legoland with us etc. But it does not seem to have had any effect.
In fact, even more bizarrely, some of the other kid's parents seem to have joined in on the act. I constantly hear of parties that his 'friends' have had that he has not been invited to and trips with them that he hasn't been included in. He pretends to not be bothered but I know he's hurt. And so am I.
This is so insidious I don't even know how long it's been going on for. What do I do - talk to the parents involved? Confront the kids? Or will this make it worse?
Just reading some of the threads in this topic has helped me feel less alone but I'd really welcome some advice if anyone has some.
No real advice Fosse, but I wanted to sympathise. We moved house and DS had to start a new school in the November of year three. We were heart broken to see him standing all alone in the summer at sports day.
Don't try and befriend the bully anymore. We have had one of DS's "friends" round and after a few visits and treats, he turned against DS and I think it is jealously. We try to give our DSs a nice home like, do things with them and invite friends round and some kids don't have that.
Year four is only just around the corner and hopefully there will be a class reshuffle, which saved our DS. He is much happier, loads of mates....
When DS was having trouble, he made friends with a boy in year one, and although DH was twitchy about it, I think it was nice for him. He is a "young" in his year both in terms of age and attitude.
Hope your boy is ok and try to encourage just one nice gentle friend round, without the nasty bully, to boost your DS's confidence.
A DD of mine suffered in this way at the same age. The school had a reshuffle for year 4 and we were asked if we would like our DD split from her 'friends'. We didn't know what to do and said we would go with what the school thought best. School put DD and her 'friends' together! Nothing changed in Year 4 and the ring leader just carried on doing all the sly stuff she had been doing the previous year. Also new teacher favoured sly girl and would punish DD for saying anything about sly girl. There was no reshuffle for Year 5 but we requested DD be moved into the other class. DD found a new set of friends and had a great year 5 and 6. Sly girl and the old 'friends' left DD alone as soon as she wasn't in their class. I think the whole situation started because DD was a better swimmer and better at PE than sly girl - how silly is that.
A few years later older DD had an unpleasent time in Yr 9 (in an all girls school) and we had no hesitation in getting her moved. Once again life was much better after the move.
I do hope things improve for your DS. It is a very sad time for the child and parents when this kind of thing happens. I know how you feel.
If there is only one class per year at your school perhaps you could ask the teacher if there is someone else who could do with a friend.
Absolutely move him, you have tried the other techniques and it hasn't worked. Don't prolong your DSs suffering by making him perservere in this case.
Cheers guys. It's really good to hear other thoughts on the matter. My DS is in a single form entry school so unfortunately there's no chance of moving him to another class in the same year.
The thing that seems so unjust is that the bully gets invited to the parties etc within the group whereas my DS, who has done nothing wrong, is left out. I know many of the parents in the class and we get on fine. (Although, I work and they don't so they spend more time together.) But they must know that there's one kid conspicuously missing when they are doing the invites....don't they? Should I have a word or is that potentially going to make matters worse for DS?
Shame there is only one class per year at your school. Could you consider a different school.
Having a word with the other parents. Personally I think it could, and most probably would, make matters worse for your son and also for your own friendship with the other parents. I know of several cases where parents have tried to sort something out by approaching another parent only to find their own friendship with the other parent is never the same again.
If you haven't already done so, is it possible for you to make an appointment to see your DS's teacher and explain the situation to him/her.
Suppose the bully gets invited to the parties etc because the other boys in the group have seen what is happening to your DS and don't want it to happen to them.
Bully is most probably jealous of your DS for some reason.
Could your DS leave his old group of 'friends' and try to join in with some others. The bully wouldn't have the satisfaction of pushing your DS away. Of course if bully then tried to stop your DS from finding new friends that would be something to report to the school.
I spoke to one of the parents in DS's class - before I saw your reply! Luckily, she seemed to be understanding and, like you, suggested I spoke to the teacher. So I'll do that and see how things go. If matters don't improve then I will have to move schools as this bullying is really denting his confidence. (He told me today he thought he was going to end up 'being a street person' because he was useless.) It'll be a final resort though as it'll mean going private - which is neither in the plan nor the budget.
Bobblygusset mentioned her DS is 'young in attitude' and I think that may be why my DS is getting singled out too. He's a bit keen and eager and 'guileless', not at all the cool guy.
Many thanks for your advice. Will report back in a while...hopefully with better news!
Let us know how you get on with the teacher Fosse. I think the bully is more likely to be the street person than your boy.
In our lowest moments with DS in his new school, I always imagined how I would feel/deal with it if our boy was the bully. Although not desirable, I realised I was far more glad that it wasn't him that was the bully in that dynamic. I think to have a bully, rather than a bullied DS would be far more intractable.
Non of it is good though. I am thinking of you.
My god I read this and am experiencing exactly the same thing. DH says my D'S should punch him one and have done with it? I don't agree at this age it may just make things worse. It breaks my heart to hear about this happening, it's one of the worst things about parenting. DS absolutley does not want us to say anything and so far respected his wishes, he doesn't even want me to say anything to DH because he'll only say the way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them and hit them! I am so much in a dilemma and sorry I cannot suggest anything if I have any good advice I will share with you straight away, good luck x
This happened with my DD in primary school. It started in year 4 and just got worse and worse. Similarly to other posters, my daughter was young for her age, and not at all streetwise, unlike the bully who had two older sisters. I think children with older siblings can sometimes seem older as they are used to being with older children. My DD was bright and did well at school. The bully was also bright, and seemed to be good at everything, and always first to be picked for sports, acting, singing, and I think she didn't like the fact that my daughter did better than her with schoolwork.
I hoped it would calm down, but it never did, and at the end of year six, we made the decision, well actually DD had the final say, not to go to the local comp with her friends, but to go to a smaller school in a different town, where she didn't know anyone. It worked out wonderfully. She made friends immediately, she was no longer the girl that the 'cool' kids made fun of, and she is one of the girls, just like everyone else, which she wasn't in primary school.
DD is still friends with some children from her primary school, and it seems that sadly, at the age of 15, this girl is still bullying others.
If I were you, I would maybe talk to the teacher, but definitely not to the parents. I don't think parents like to hear that about their children. Perhaps the teacher could sort out a 'buddy' in the class, or even for some nice older children in yr 4 or 5 to take your DS under their wing.
I hope this all works out.
We too are experiencing the same thing here with our 8yo DS - in fact I came on this forum to post myself. 'Fortunately' for DS there is just one perpetrator - the boy who was his best friend for the last two years. For us it has started this year (we're in NZ - school year starts in Feb) when the boys were put in separate classes - we were told the split was random, but it is possible that the teachers were aware of tension that we were not told about. Since the split, they have still played in the same group of kids at break/lunchtimes and are in the same sports team, but the play dates have stopped and DS was really hurt not to be invited to this boys birthday party. This boy is very competitive and I agree with posters who say its jealousy - he got very upset when DS won an award at the end of the year. I too don't understand why the other kids want to be friends with him when he's being mean and always boasting or putting them down, but he does seem to be becoming very popular whilst DS is struggling to get playdates. Today DS was upset because his friend told him he was a dick for making a mistake at sport, the other day it was that he had been teasing DS for being a slow runner (DS is an enthusiastic though not talented sportsman)
I'm unsure what to do about it. I am (was) good friends with the mother but appear to have been dumped by her too. I'm not too bothered about this as she too is very competitive and not really my kind of person, and I am a little disappointed that she hasn't made any effort to keep the boys friendship. I have invited him to play here but it hasn't been returned. I don't think she'd be very receptive if I spoke to her about it. I think I'll talk to DS's teacher but as they aren't in the same class I don't know what she can do about it. DS is rather emotional at home though and it could be stress due to this friendship issue.
My ds2 had this all his school life. I once asked one of them why and she replied "I dont know,I think its because everyone does it" it was a terrible time and I just supported him as much as possible and made home life lovely for him.
He joined kick boxing and that seem to help his self esteem.
One day though he suddenly was 6ft 2",his braces came off and his acne cleared up.he realised that he didnt have to put up with it anymore and told them where to get off they didnt dare argue.
He is an adult now and just lovely. I asked him if he speaks to the bullies when he sees them and he replied "If I choose to!" haha.
One thing I did do was to contact the parents of some of the bullys especially if it was about specific inccidents.
I am a fairly outgoing confident woman so I found it easy to do this assertively which did help a bit.
Yes ds was young for his age and kind of gentle and naive, he has mild cerebal palsy so wasnt good at sports and was quite clumsy.
They know how to pick their victims dont they.
I would definitely second the suggestion to talk to the teacher - for instance you could ask for help with fostering other friendships, and also tell him/her about the playground incidents so that the school can do something about them. (If you haven't already - or even if you have, going to talk again may help)
If you do go to talk to the teacher, it's a good idea to try to agree specific actions at the meeting eg a) teacher will get ds and a potential friend to do specific tasks together like setting up classroom etc, to give them 'bonding time'; b) playground supervisor will keep a look out in the playground and step in if necessary, organise a communal game that ds can join in with etc. And also arrange to go back in a week/fortnight's time for a progress report. Otherwise you can come away feeling that although teach has been very sympathetic, you haven't actually agreed an action plan!
Back again. Another suggestion is to try to foster 'non-school' friendships - having non-school friends round to play definitely, but also are there any out of school clubs he could join - cubs, football, karate, music (particularly ones where there are not many of his school friends)?
Having friends and activities independent of school can help make school friendships seem a bit less "be all and end all" (though obv you still want to sort those out as well!). Building up a skill in something 'cool' can do the same, and provide opportunities to socialise later - football clubs, music groups, etc.
(Of course you may already be doing this already!)
Your ds sounds lovely, by the way!
It's so awful, isn't it? I am having the same thing with DS (10). Ours is a very small village school with mixed age classes and only 4 other boys in DS' year. Ever since he started in year R he has been subtly socially excluded in much the same way as it sounds as though your DS is being treated.
I have spoken to the school at various points but nothing ever changes. He is now at the end of year 5 and last night was sobbing his heart out about "why don't I have any friends?" and "I like school, I just don't like the people at school". It's heartbreaking. Unfortunately the other school near us is awful so moving is just not an option. Am trying to help him with some coping strategies for his last year but thinking about my wonderful, funny, clever boy this unhappy for a whole year more is just horrible.
Can you foster any out of school friendships to provide a counterbalance? One friendship of this type has helped my DS to feel at least that he is not the problem (as he does have a friend), the boys at his school are.
Unfortunately other children follow the bullies because they could be next if they don't conform. It needs an intervention such as the 'group support method'. It is very, very successful and I have used it on a number of occasions. Sadly some teachers unwittingly play into the bullies hands and make things worse. That happened to one of my children and we just had to move her to another school. The staff started making us the 'bad guys' for complaining. It is often the 'popular kids' who lead the bullying.
There really is no need for bullying in our schools there is plenty that teachers can do. You might like to have a look at a couple of books Don't Pick on Me by Rosemary Stones and How to handle Bullies, Teasers and other Meaniies by Kate Cohen-Posey. Your child is unlikely to be able to turn things around on his own. If other parents are colluding with the bullying and so are the teachers if you can't enlist their help then you may have to change schools.
Unfortunately it is always the children who are in some way vulnerable or different. Teachers know this and should ensure it doesn't happen there is lots they can do.
Is the other school REALLY worse than this school? The school your son is currently in sounds just dreadful if he is coming home in such a state. Why don't you ask to have a look around the other school. Sometimes the small 'good' schools can be more emotionall damaging than a slightly more boisterious school where there is a greater variety of children and more acceptance of differences.
I have the same issue with my DD. She is in Year 2 and at a small school with mixed age classes. She used to be friends with this girl, but the girl has in the past year become increasingly hostile to her and, like in Fosse's DS case, leads kids away from her when she is playing with them. I have spoken to the teacher about it and it has improved a little but if I don't see a major change next term I will move her to another school. My daughter is adopted from China, she is the only minority kid in her class and I can't help feeling she is being picked on by this girl for this reason. Its just really sad.
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