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On the cusp of starting school this sept and left wondering about standing up for yourself after today....

(23 Posts)
glittercheeks Thu 07-Jul-11 21:56:47

OK, DS has been going to nursery since he was 10 months old, just turned 4. Has a younger brother and sister so by no means unsociable - quite the opposite in fact, very chatty, bright little man.

Today we visited a soft play centre we had not been to before, quite a few of the boys there seemed to enjoy going around pushing and punching (to my horror) the other children rather than actually play and I am talking pre-schoolers btw too.

I'm unsure if I have actually taught my DC not to do this to other children or if its just not in their nature, maybe a bit of both. But I do say unsure because I have no memory of having to tell them not to and when we go to these kind of places I do keep a keen watchful eye on them. Anyway at this point in both my boys lives they don't do it but who knows what the future holds!

I hate violence of any kind but watching my DS get aggressively pushed to the ground twice today and I do mean aggressively i.e both hands on the shoulders and a real good shove for absolutely no reason - we had literally just arrived, he got to top of slide, stood up to go down and this happened to him. I am now worried about him starting school in sept and will he become a victim? He doesn't cry about these kind of things, just picks himself up, dusts himself down and goes about his business.

What do you teach your child to do? I just can't see myself telling him to "hit him back" as it goes against my principals but I don't want him to become the one that runs to tell the teacher all the time either......I also heard bullies pick on the ones that don't retaliate and the minute the bullied child finally is pushed to their limits and does retaliate said bully moves on....

shakey1500 Thu 07-Jul-11 22:03:17

I worry for my ds as well sad It will do me no good I know. He is an only child, very chatty, funny at home but very quiet and shy at preschool. He'll be the youngest in the class. When he started preschool I introduced talking about his day during dinner. No pressure etc, just "who did you play with?" type thing and I throw in "did everyone play nicely". Thus far he's only once said that so and so pushed me but AFAIK no being picked on as such. I wonder if it is because he seems like a loner and it makes my heart break!

He's also not very physical bless him. I'm dreading him being picked on. Not a great idea for my sanity to pre-empt something that may not even happen and I know IABU but it still plays on my mind.

No help at all yo you OP sorry!

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 22:07:52

He doesn't have to push/hit back to stand up to them. One of the best ways you can teach him to stand up for himself in this situation would be to stand back up, look directly at the child who's just pushed him over and say "Don't do that" as assertively as he can and quite loudly. At this age, the other child is more than likely to back off. In a school environment this would also attract an adult's attention without the need to tell tales and because your DS hasn't retaliated he won't get into trouble himself. You could try role playing this with him if you like, so he can see for himself what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Tillyscoutsmum Thu 07-Jul-11 22:09:03

No help to you either OP but I shall watch with interest because I fear dd is the same sad. She can be a bit of a loner and seems to be on the periphery of her peers. She stands back - doesn't push herself forward. I have watched her wait patiently in a queue for a slide and just allow everyone to push in. I've seen her be pushed and shoved and have toys snatched from her and she doesn't retaliate in any way sad

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:11:43

You need to teach your child to tell the teacher about ANY violence - that's not telling tales. They need to know!

mercibucket Thu 07-Jul-11 22:12:43

don't worry - school will be different, they don't let them loose to behave like little thugs there
I personally lead by example and march over and give child an evil stare or telling off if it is age appropriate (I don't scare the toddlers!) at those soft play areas - they can be a zoo. all of mine have had 'incidents' at one time or another at those places but never had any trouble at school
you can't go against the nature of the child. my tougher ones I tell to hit back and harder, preferably when the teacher is not looking, but the gentler one would never do that so I don't tell him that cos it would stress him out more.

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:15:04

my tougher ones I tell to hit back and harder, preferably when the teacher is not looking

Then expect your child to get in just as much trouble as the child who hit first. hmm

diggingintheribs Thu 07-Jul-11 22:16:04

My DS has developed a fine shout of 'No - I don't like it'

We went to a party and a little boy was shoved over and it really upset DS. He kept asking why they did it.

I have told him to tell a teacher or shout as above. He asked what he should do if he sees someone else being pushed (which I thought was sweet) and I told him to tell a teacher or if he felt he could to help him up and use his shout!

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 22:18:13

Good point about how telling the teacher is not telling tales Feenie.

I still think it is vital to teach your child how to have good boundaries though. A teacher is not always going to be around, and some bullies can be very good at presenting an alternative reality that gets believed.

You can't make an introverted child an extrovert and you can't make a shy child confident, but nearly every child can be taught a set of coping techniques to minimise their risk of being bullied, in the same way as learning to read. The younger they start, the easier it becomes instinctual.

bosch Thu 07-Jul-11 22:20:13

My ds3 will be starting school in sept. With three boys (and being a wimp myself) I've always told them there is NO excuse for hitting. Not even hitting back someone who has hit you. When ds's have forgotten this at school they've been unlucky enough to be seen and been told off and they've learnt that it's better to tell the teacher rather than get told off themselves. Having said that, it doesn't happen v often, don't worry your ds won't be going in to a den of thieves. Oh, and ds's also learned sunshine's lesson that loudly saying 'don't do that please' tends to attract teachers attention in a 'favourable' way...

(btw, apologies to pedants, some of that looks v badly written. Learnt or learned eg?)

mercibucket Thu 07-Jul-11 22:20:23

I would always support my children if they acted in self defense and have told them so - every person has the right to act to protect themselves, no reason why children should be excluded from that right, and let's face it, if you are going to hit back, you want to make the most of it and make the person not want to try it again, right? Obviously if you are a pacifist, this advice is not going to work for you.

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:21:13

I still think it is vital to teach your child how to have good boundaries though. A teacher is not always going to be around, and some bullies can be very good at presenting an alternative reality that gets believed.

The bully wouldn't have to present an alternative reality if the other child hit back harder!

I disagree - we are talking about early Primary school, especially Reception - there are generally lots of adults around.

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:23:03

That's fine, mercibucket, but you may need to be prepared for the reality that in that circumstance - i.e. where a child has '*hit back and harder, preferably when the teacher is not looking*, then the school not support your child.

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:23:16

will not

sunshineandbooks Thu 07-Jul-11 22:25:11

Feenie, I think you're confusing my posts with someone else's. I didn't advocate hitting back. I never do. I think that only makes things worse TBH. I abhor violence and the only time it is ever acceptable in my book is when not using it could result in significant risk of physical harm to yourself (so in a self-defence situation then), which really isn't going to apply at this age.

I'm talking about boundaries. Even shy children can learn how to project assertiveness so that bullies don't make a beeline for them.

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:28:41

No, I wasn't confusing you, but reiterating my point towards another poster. And I agree it doesn't apply at this age.

ChristinedePizan Thu 07-Jul-11 22:29:52

I'm in your shoes too OP. I have seen DS get punched in pre-school and just stand there so the kid did it again but harder. And the other day he told me that a different boy punches him in the face sometimes and that one is going to be in the same class as him sad

sunshineandbooks - that's a good idea. I shall tell him to do that. He's not an unassertive child, he just doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body. I certainly won't be telling him to hit back harder hmm

AKMD Thu 07-Jul-11 22:30:56

DS is 16mo and I started worrying about him getting bullied at school before he was even born blush so YANBU.

I think what sunshine is teaching her DS is brilliant - it's assertive and letting the rougher kids know that he isn't going to take nonsense but in a very positive way.

Something I've learned with DS is that some children just don't know that they need to be gentle with babies and toddlers. I was sitting in a ball pond with DS once and a group of boys started throwing balls at eachother and then at DS. I told them calmly that they needed to be gentle with DS and they were genuinely surprised that he wasn't old enough to want to join in their game; they were tryign to include him. I was quite touched really!

glittercheeks Thu 07-Jul-11 22:33:38

So glad I am not the only one with this worry, thanks everyone.

Sunshine - we shall be role playing in the morning! - fantastic advice, thank you. :0

mercibucket Thu 07-Jul-11 22:35:20

you are right, feenie, we have discussed that and I tell them it's their choice but I would 100% support them if that was how they chose to react. of course the school won't see it that way. I want my kids to know I would back them though and they would never get into trouble at home for retaliating. I'm not that bothered what the school say to be honest, if someone else hit my child first, they deserve what they get

on a related topic, to the op, we have found football to be very good at teaching assertiveness and team spirit - I'm sure most sports do similar

mercibucket Thu 07-Jul-11 22:38:10

I'm not unusual you know grin most of the parents at my children's school tell their kids the same. at least we haven't signed them up for karate so they can learn to hit harder yet grin
perhaps I live in a somewhat rough area grin

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:38:13

It doesn't matter if you support them at home if the school has already punished them though, does it?

I think it's extremely unhelpful to post that kind of 'advice' on a thread about a child starting Reception, tbh. A child that age wouldn't understand it. It's not as if we are talking about secondary school, where your attitude might be more understandable (but still not excusable).

Feenie Thu 07-Jul-11 22:39:38

I did karate for ten years - they would teach them to run away first, and to only use their karate in a dojo with a qualified instructor, if they can possibly help it.

I would recommend it for confidence and discipline, though.

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