Is it ok to tell my son to hit back?

(77 Posts)
WendyWolf Fri 22-Apr-16 21:34:22

.. I am very against that advise but really getting sick of things and at wits end.

Basically we had issues that came to a head in Yr5. Had gone on for 3 years and 3 different Heads and the behavioural problems in a small group of boys were not improving. My son was desperately unhappy. After much gut wrenching/governor complaints etc we finally moved schools. Best thing we ever did. DS settled fast, a weight was lifted from him and to prove it he did himself really proud in SATS and left primary on a high.

Now at upper school. Some of the original children from previous school are there and he generally gives them a wide berth. We have had a few incidents but he has handled it well - one kid in particular just being persistently mean. I informed the school every time - who seem pretty uninterest to be honest. DS grits teeth and gets on with it. - Said child apparently took shit stuff off his shoe today and wiped all over my DS's jumper. We grit teeth. At the bus stop today older child went up to mine and slapped him on both sides of his face. Laughed and carried on his way. This child is a couple of years older, lives locally and had done similar a few times now.

What do I do? Tell my 11 yr old to toughen up? Stand up for himself? Each little incident takes him a step back to remembering the awful bullying of before and I can see his anxiety levels rising. What would you do? Most blokes seem to say to boys to hit back etc. It doesn't sit right with me. But I am aware he is 11 and I can't keep fighting his battles for him. I would really welcome some advice from others who have experienced similar and come out the other side.

Also DS and I divorcing. Kid has enough going on.

pippistrelle Sat 23-Apr-16 01:04:15

Sorry to hear your son is going through this.

Is the older child at the bus stop also a pupil at the same school? If so, you need to contact the school first thing on Monday, and every time there's some sort of incident.

It's great that your son has handled these incidents well, and it's great that he's talking to you about it. Essentially, by talking to you, he's asking for your help, so you need to show him you're listening and go in to bat for him as strongly as possible.

Talk to his school - not just to report the incidents, but something more active than that - ask what they'll be doing to safeguard him in future. Ask to see their anti-bullying policy. Make sure their actions live up to the policy. Don't be afraid to point out where/if they're failing. Report every single incident, escalating if you feel at all fobbed off.

Good luck to you both.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 23-Apr-16 01:13:56

Would you consider talking to the police? They're old enough to be responsible for assault. This may not be classed as assault but it might be nipped in the bud before it gets worse.

GraysAnalogy Sat 23-Apr-16 01:28:50

Everyone will tell you no, and rationally they're right. But you said you wanted posts from people who had come out the other side so I'll share mine

I was bullied as a kid. I was beat up, spat on, clothes and books ripped, chewing gum put into my hair. Everything happened to me, every day was hell. My mum did everything, school tried, but the parents didn't give a toss so nothing changed. Only stopped when I hit back. I snapped. But I had had self defence training and had done boxing so I knew how to. No-one ever, ever bullied me again. But the thing is I then had a reputation. And having to fight changed me and my mum says she wish she had known what sort of person I would have been if I hadn't have had to fight. I ended up being a volatile person who was quick to anger and quick to fight. People were scared of me but I stuck up for other kids who were bullied - but it affected me long term. It's only when I met my partner (when I was 19) that I finally let go of the anger I had. It's taken a long time for me to get over having to be on the defensive all the time and constantly having to prove myself.

This was always in my nature though. But for your son it might not be, and telling him to toughen up might just put extra stress on him that he doesn't need. Also what if he does fight back and can't handle himself? That escalates situations. You say that at 11 you shouldn't keep fighting his battles but if someone was bullying you at work I'm sure you'd expect managers to step in. It's an incredibly hard time for you, that I know because I remember my mum crying before she sent me to school, but its not his battle alone he needs your support.

I would put more pressure on the school first. Don't let them be uninterested. Mention their duty to safeguard, ask them to arrange meetings with the parents, be firm and keep pushing and pushing. I know a lot of times the teachers hands are tied, but keep trying. Insist the parents are brought in. The parents might not give a toss but keep at it and demand more action.

It's a crying shame that kids have to learn to be tough just because of idiots like this sad I hope with all my heart that things get better. One thing my mum used to say to me is 'it wont last, things will get better' and I never used to believe her. Now I look back and realise she was right but it was tough then.

lordStrange Sat 23-Apr-16 01:33:48

How horrible for your son.

I think it's hard to be told 'toughen up' if that's not how you're made.

Speak to school each time - they should really be managing this. Does he have names for these bullies? I would totally speak to the police about these incidents. Let the school know that you are speaking to the police, that might spur them into action. ffs

lordStrange Sat 23-Apr-16 01:36:22

GraysAnalogy great post. I fucking hate bullies.

GraysAnalogy Sat 23-Apr-16 01:37:48

Me too lord. I'm actually crying reading that back. I hate what they made me become. It was survival mode for me but god.. kids can be so fucking cruel. I dread when my child goes to school sad

GraysAnalogy Sat 23-Apr-16 01:41:24

Another thing wendy which might not help with the bullying but might help with his mental health, is do the little things at home. You probably already do but I remember my mum doing little things for me like on a friday she would let me stay up later and watch a film with her and we would have a nice meal all my favourite things, she'd get me a magazine or something and we would say 'heres to another week done!' a sort of achievement for getting through it. That little routine gave me something to look forward to, it gave me a goal.

LucyBabs Sat 23-Apr-16 01:43:09

I tell my dd (7) and ds (4) if you put your hands on anyone be prepared for them to defend themselves by hitting back. My ds went through a "slapping everyone in the face stage" he was three and when his big sister defended herself he soon got the message.
I always think if I was hit by another adult would I just stand there/walk away? no and I'm far from violent, I would defend and stand up for myself.
I would never condone it other than for self defense.

Best of luck Wendy

LucyBabs Sat 23-Apr-16 01:46:29

Sorry grays just read your post.. hearing the other side makes the self defense reaction? seem I don't know, good and bad?

GraysAnalogy Sat 23-Apr-16 01:51:48

I get what you mean lucy. It's hard isn't it, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here. It just depends on the person. I hope your children never have to chose anyway flowers

needsadrinky Sat 23-Apr-16 02:00:01

My oldest was bullied ( mainly verbal but with some physical) and it to knocked his confidence we spoke to the school and they did nothing until the bully posted on social media photos of my son taken in school with nasty comments about being queer then they stepped up but by this point we'd introduced my two oldest to karate they both now have the confidence to know that they can defend themselves without getting hurt. I do suggest you enrol your son in some sort of martial arts they are fun a great way to keep fit learn self defence self discipline and meet new friends. Also threaten to get the police involved after all your son is being assaulted and ask the school for ofsteds contact details next time they say there is nothing they can do ofsted don't like bullying and schools don't like ofsted inspections. I hope things work out and you have a carefree happy son thanks

LucyBabs Sat 23-Apr-16 02:11:11

I hope so too grays they're so small now but I dread as they get older. My dd is a sensitive kid and the nasty ones have so far made a bee line for her, it's like they can smell her weakness sad A boy on our road just loves to ridicule her, she loves him "coz he's funny" I had to come down hard on dd this evening telling her he's a bully and is actively trying to make a fool of her in front of her friends.
She's naive and unfortunately a people pleaser.. Obviously she's not an angel herself but I can only hope with my help she'll be more assertive sorry for going on

GraysAnalogy Sat 23-Apr-16 02:15:10

You're not going on at all, it's understandably something that will worry you and something you'd want to talk about. Hopefully she will be someone who is well liked, often kids like her are. I'm glad you made her aware that it's bullying instead of the 'boys will be boys' or the 'he fancies you' rhetoric!

redexpat Sat 23-Apr-16 10:03:13

Call the police. They are 11.

CodyKing Sat 23-Apr-16 14:09:39

Ask the school who their community police officer is -

Ring them yourself

File a complaint

Don't ring - email - read the complaints procedure (probably says we will get back to you in writing in 5 days with an outcome or if not - when we will be able to)

School still has responsibility for your child at the bus stop -

WendyWolf Sun 24-Apr-16 02:29:02

Thank you all for your replies - just seen them now pippi my son has specifically asked me not to mention to the school. He was the centre of attention moving schools before because of bullying and he really doesn't want to draw any more attention to himself. He also doesn't want his mum fighting his battles as he feels the kids now getting older and more sensitive to this type of stuff will take the piss and it will be worse.

WendyWolf Sun 24-Apr-16 02:30:30

giddy we went through this type of thin at the previous school and I know police very uninterested and also makes my son stand out more again as a 'grass'

WendyWolf Sun 24-Apr-16 02:37:49

Thank you grays for the Friday night tips - brilliant! And your experiences. He has become an angry/defensive child over the last 12 months. He is an August boy, starting 'big' school was a huge step and the attitude change from all of his peers has been pretty crap.

Sorry if I wasn't clear but the older boy at the bus stop and often on the bus was nothing to do with the previous bullying. He is a new problem! He seems to be a gobby little shite who is in general like that - the really crap thing is he lives in our road. I think my DS doesn't back down now/argues back which is not ideal if a kid a couple of years older is trying to impress/look cool.

KoalaDownUnder Sun 24-Apr-16 02:42:08

It is a real shame that the police are not interested.

Where do they think adult thugs and bullies come from? They're kids like this who go unchecked. They don't spring up fully-formed crims at 18 and start bashing people outside nightclubs. hmmangry

Baconyum Sun 24-Apr-16 02:42:39

I have to say I think it's the only way bullies understand. My sister went through it without fighting back/standing up for herself initially bit when she finally did it stopped. School tried to punish HER for hitting but had ignored all the times she was hit (one of them was a teachers kid and got away with murder). My parents said if that happened they'd be taking it up with governors, school apologised bullying stopped.

My daughter was bullied by a teacher at primary, only stopped when I threatened to sue head. (Stopped immediately, teacher apologised in front of whole class and daughter was moved to a different class).

I was physically very small and slight but I fought back every time someone tried to bully me (physically and verbally).

I think standing up for yourself is a skill but as a skill takes time to learn and is easier for some than others.

I agree with

Self defence classes - teaches confidence as well as the physical skills.

Don't let school away with ignoring, keep escalating to point of legal action if necessary (a friend of mine had to do this her daughter had a broken arm and school and local authority were still being ineffectual, she took school and LA to court over failing in their duty of care)

Baconyum Sun 24-Apr-16 02:45:12

Under the age of 10 there's little the police can do, you might find

A you're dealing with different officers now

B as the kids are older there's more they can do

WendyWolf Sun 24-Apr-16 02:46:03

DS has done martial arts for approx 6 years. We stopped quite recently because of finances but it didn't actually help us through all the other bullying in previous school.

I'm worrying that some kids are just kind of pre-disposed to being bullied and now he is so defensive they do get a reaction out of him which is of course what they want. I have just ordered a load of books online and will try to read up on how he can manage the situation better.

I have no fear in taking on the school / defending him etc. I did it all before at previous - I just wondered if there was another way - it was very stressful. Thank you everyone for being so lovely. Divorce is a lonely old time and so hard to parent in a straight line without emotions over-running you sometimes. Xx

KoalaDownUnder Sun 24-Apr-16 02:46:44

It sounds hard. You sound awesome. Wish I could be more help. flowers

DropYourSword Sun 24-Apr-16 02:52:52

I have no idea of the right advice to give. I can only share my experience. I was bullied for years, low level and mostly verbal but I was always scared/nervous and had to tread very carefully around bullies.
One day at maybe 14ish one girl randomly decided she was going to beat me up after school and loudly declared this to the class. I was totally terrified and tried to think of every way I could to avoid it. However, as I tried to escape after the final bell she caught me. There was a HUGE crowd. She started a fight with me and I just fought back, had no other choice, other than to simply stand there I suppose. She clearly wasn't as tough as she thought and I kicked her ass (pure adrenaline I assume). Was then terrified to go into school the next day because I was worried about whether her friends / cousins would pitch in and get involved but I realised I'd have to do it at some point so may as well face it immediately. Went into school with a mild black eye. Previous shitbags kids who had been unpleasant to me approached me to say they never thought I would fight back and I'd surprised them. Bullying stopped immediately. Just highlights exactly how weak and cowardly bullies can really be. I have no idea what the best approach is, and whether my experience would be repeated by others. I only know if I had my time again and knew what I do now, I would probably have lashed out way sooner and attempt to identify myself as someone who wouldn't tolerate the bullying and intimidation.
I think when my child is old enough I will definitely enrol them into some sort of self defense/ martial art class. I would NEVER want them to ever start a fight, but I would want them to have the ability to protect themselves if needed, and would never punish them for standing up for themselves.

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