Birthday bumps - part of life or just plain bullying?

(11 Posts)
marl Wed 06-Nov-13 21:02:09

My Year 7 DS1 has just come home tonight to tell me that the kids on his bus has found out that its his birthday tomorrow and his peers and the year above have gleefully told him about birthday bumps, which apparently means everyone hits you as hard as they can 12 times. He was told this is apparently a 'school tradition' and was also told stories about one boy crying and another being covered in bruises after his birthday. Understandably he's pretty stressed out, has told them he thinks its pretty stupid but doesn't want me to say anything to school as it will make him look weaker - though of course the night before there is little I can do about it anyway. This is a school that apparently prides itself on pastoral care btw. It's difficult to hear all this as a mum, I feel very sad that he is waking up tomorrow on his birthday with so much anxiety and as an ex teacher myself this certainly wasn't something I came across in my own schools. What to do? Any suggestions.?

I can't really think that kids should just accept this but on the other hand I'm loath to over react and potentially make the situation worse. I'm not sure that driving him to school will make a difference as he says they will just do it elsewhere, and against my better judgement I have suggested he may have to go along with it in the spirit of 'boyness' but if he feels anyone is taking it too far to either warn them or just hit them back. I have also written a note to school for him to use if he needs it. It all feels pretty gruesome to me frankly and the Year 8 boy that started all this today has been coming up in conversation recently in a way that makes me think this is part of a longer low level bullying of Year 7s and DS1 in particular. It is a state grammar school where the majority of kids do not know each other before starting in year 7 but frankly this kind of thing sounds to me like something of public schools from ages past...maybe I am just out of touch! Any help much appreciated...

intitgrand Thu 07-Nov-13 08:24:22

I think he is just yanking his chain

LittleSiouxieSue Thu 07-Nov-13 10:13:42

What has happened to the boys in year 7 with birthdays before now? What happened to those with September and October birthdays? Has you son seen other children being punched 12 times. I have a suspicion he has not. So.... I think this is winding up the slightly gullible year 7. This is a bit of a tradition in some schools and no school would tolerate all the year 7 boys being covered in bruises, would they??
I would advise him not to hit back but keep surrounded by friends all day just in case. Why have you assumed the school condone anything like this? If they know there is fighting it would be dealt with. You seem to have taken everything at face value and I think this is more to do with seeing your son's reaction to this "tradition" rather than carrying it out. In my day, people had their heads shoved down the loos!

When I was at school, the bumps consisted of lifting the birthday boy or girl by their arms and legs and lifting them in the air x many times. It was spirited but not violent.

The tradition has died out where we are, and hasn't been replaced.

I agree with others that this Y8 is winding your son up - worth dropping a line or calling the school though as pupils really shouldn't be scaring each other like that.

schilke Bosnia-Herzegovina Thu 07-Nov-13 11:10:50

Birthday bumps at my boys school is being hit. However, it is by your friends so not being hit hard! No bruises shock The girls just seem to be given balloons....much more civilised.

noblegiraffe Thu 07-Nov-13 11:22:05

Birthday beats at my school seems to be a friendly punch from your mates, not being beaten up.
If he is hit and it hurts and he says stop and it doesn't, he absolutely must tell a teacher.

But I can't imagine it's an actual tradition, parents would have rightly complained before now!

Blu Fri 08-Nov-13 16:18:52

I would suggest he should sit right by the driver and if anyone starts hitting him he should shout loudly and clearly 'Stop! Stop punching me!'. Practicing helps! And if he is hit he should report it as violent bullying, absolutely.

I would be talking to the school. If you trust the school to deal with this properly it should not end up with him being seen as weak. I know though, that many schools do not deal with it properley.

BackforGood Fri 08-Nov-13 22:57:01

Like Johnny - the bumps used to involve you being held by your arms and legs and thrown into the air as many times as your new age - a gentle, friendly bop on the arm is a lot more civilized and a lot less likely to do you any damage. It's not a school thing, it's a 'youth' thing - my dd had it on Scout camp when it was her birthday. Doesn't hurt though, it's more like a 'pat' than a thump - bit like I do "Pinch, punch, first of the month" on - well, the first of each month - you don't literally pinch or punch your family, it's just a "pretend" punch.

bookluva Sat 09-Nov-13 08:41:13

If he feels stressed and hurt, it's bullying. THREATENING is bullying because it causes psychological harm for your son. Call the school.

dozeydoris Sat 09-Nov-13 08:46:55

Before starting secondary I was told new pupils had their heads held down the toilets and the toilet flushed, but didn't happen.

I would leave it and hope this is just empty windup threats from others and DS will learn not to take all this stuff seriously in future. If you interfere he won't learn this lesson.

If they do all punch him I would inform school as it sounds too violent for innocent fun.

MLP Mon 11-Nov-13 21:15:10

So did anything actually happen on his birthday in the end up?

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