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Ds is 10 and in year 6. We moved to a new area in march and he changed schools so has not been at his current school long. He has not settled in very well at all and has really struggled to find his place and fit in. He has recently been experience mild verbal bullying (remarks like boys calling him 'gay', making fun of him, calling him name, laughing at him) all this sort of thing.
I have been to speak to his class teacher and I must say she was very good and is going to try and tackle it - so far I do have faith that the school will help. What I would like to ask is help for me in dealing with this and helping ds. He is usually a very carefree and lively boy, but since all of this has happened he has changed. He cries more and is quite serious and unhappy.
Does anybody have any tips on how I can support/help ds. I am really trying not to over react and realise reading some other threads on this board that it could be far far worse. Any tips / advice greatly appreciated.
There's no miracle cure. You could ask the teacher to tell people that they must speak up if they see anyone being called names or being bullied. That way he won't be the tell tale.
If there is anyone who doesn't bully him - can he have them opver for tea/sleepover, just to strengthen the connection.
Listen to him. Agree with him. If he says it's horrible and he can't stand it, say Yes, it's vile, it's almost impossible to bear being bullied. Might sound counter intuitive not to suggest solutions, but if he thinks a better person than him could deal with it, he will only feel worse about himself.
Talk about bullies and why they do what they do. They feel threatened by change, inadequate. they don't feel good about themselves unless they can make someone else feel bad.
Discuss with him who he likes and respects. Ask him what qualities he admires in others. Do this as often as you can without being forced. Bit by bit help him turn it around so that he judges them and finds them wanting.
Be childish. If all else fails I'm afraid I revert to absolute lowest behaviour and make up stupid rude names for the bullies that we use as code. It can make him laugh, empower him a bit.
Finally, don't be afraid to step in. I have taken a couple of bullies aside and given them such a bollocking verbally they don't dare attack again. I just insist they comment on their own behaviour. Insist they admit to what they have done and insist they fully answer the question: would they like it if someone did that to them? I've insisted they answer the question, what do they think I think of them for their behaviour. If you can bear to be a terrier about it, it's quite effective.
Hi, so sorry your ds is going through this. But he is very lucky to have you there to support him. There is a book called Bullies, Bigmouths and So Called Friends which you might want to get - to read first yourself and decide whether to give it to him, or just to talk about some of the things in it with ds. It's quite jokily written and has some very good advice in it directed at maintaining self-esteem. (I expect there are other books as well, so not trying to plug, but this one does have good cartoons!)
How is teach going to tackle the situation? I would go back in a week's time and ask for a progress report - what specific steps has she taken?
Definitely agree with racing, ask over the boys he does get on with - one at a time, I'd say - to build up those friendships. And any friendships out of school you can build on, maybe at scouts, or sporting groups?
Finally (sorry to go on), have you thought of suggesting he learn an instrument like guitar? Sounds weird, but I think it can be a real confidence booster to learn a 'cool' instrument, and that feeds through into life more generally, now and in future.