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AIBU to consider speaking to parent or school about boy's intimidating behaviour?

(21 Posts)
bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 12:17:09

More of a WWYD, this, but would appreciate MN views.

DD in Y3. She has a friend in her class, a boy who she plays with sometimes (in and out of school). He's a slightly difficult character, but my daughter likes him and they share a lot of interests, e.g. animals, moshis etc. The problem is this boy really loves to control everything, and if he freaks out if he doesn't get his way. My DD and I have spoken about this before - I've taught her to politely but firmly tell him that "you are my friend not my boss" and to generally stand up for herself.

However, he's recently become physically intimidating to my DD and another girl if they don't do what he wants. He windmills his arms right in her face, and makes to punch her and slap her. He hasn't actually hit her, but the threat is there (also, he's a good head and a half taller than her) and they are being intimidated.

Basically, I believe that most playground stuff should be sorted out by the kids themselves, barring systematic bullying or physical abuse. But this kind of behaviour is a bit disturbing, seems to be crossing a line, and my DD hates it. I've tried to give my daughter some ideas on how to deal with him, but should I have a chat with his mum, or the school? Leave it in hope that it will sort itself out? I'm really torn.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 12:19:22

YANBU but address it to the teaching staff and not the parent. Make sure they take it seriously and ask for an action plan and some follow-up to check that it's working. Suggest they should get the parents in to support. Physical intimidation is agressive bullying and the school should have some cast-iron policies for dealing with it. If they don't deal with it immediately, don't let it drop.

WorraLiberty Wed 07-Nov-12 12:19:39

Have a chat with the school, otherwise you're quite likely to get into a "He said, she said" row with the parents.

squeakytoy Wed 07-Nov-12 12:20:16

I would tell your daughter not to be friends with him and to walk away.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 12:22:13

With respect... 'walk away' is a too passive response. Children, especially girls, need to know from a young age that displays of aggression & intimidation are always unacceptable and will taken seriously by those in authority over them.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 07-Nov-12 12:25:06

Firstly I'd have a word with the school. I'd also encourage other friendships apart from him.

kenanddreary Wed 07-Nov-12 12:25:13

Definitely speak to the school. It is happening in school so they should be made aware of it and have the responsibility for sorting it out. Would definitely not approach the parent. That is a slippery slope and leads to all sorts of issues. BTW - your DD should not have to put up with this. Enough!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Wed 07-Nov-12 12:27:34

I also say speak to the school. It is happening during school time so let them deal with it. It could makes things really unpleasant for you if you talk to the parents. "How DARE you say that about MY CHILD!!" and so on....

bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 12:27:38

Cogito, you've kind of hit the nail on the head of my dilemma.

Ideally, I'd like my DD to have the confidence and skills to deal with aggressive behaviour herself. But perhaps that's just asking too much of a 7 year old, and she should instead know that "those in authority" will take this seriously and deal with it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Nov-12 12:29:32

The confidence and skills come from knowing that you will be backed up if you ask for help. Leave them to sink or swim, put it down to 'playground roughhousing' or rationalise it as 'getting corners knocked off', and the only message they take away is that there's no point complaining because nothing changes.

bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 12:30:18

Point taken, cogito.

Mrsjay Wed 07-Nov-12 12:36:43

dont speak to his parents confrontation however well intentioned sometimes doesnt go well Talk to the school about it make an appointment witht he class teacher you sound reasonable about the boy they are friends but he is scaring her,

Mrsjay Wed 07-Nov-12 12:39:43

I had issues with boys and dd2 and intimidation she in general could look after herself but they seemed to be throwing weight around and pushing her around I did ask the school to intervene as these boys should know they shouldnt be intimidating girls I am all for equality and I dont think boys are all like that however this kind of behaviour really needs to be nipped in the bud

bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 12:40:47

Okay this seems unanimous for talking to the school. Thank you for your input, much appreciated.

JennyWren Wed 07-Nov-12 12:41:26

At age 7, the appropriate skill for dealing with this is having the confidence to ask for help in stopping it, rather than suffering in silence, surely. Once her teacher knows, there can be a 'plan' for how she can respond in school, agreed with her teacher. She then needs to put that into action - that's where you can support her again.

bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 12:42:07

Mrsjay, could I ask you how you asked school to intervene? It appears we might have had a similar experience. Did they sort it?

Mrsjay Wed 07-Nov-12 12:45:08

I just said look these boys are much bigger than she is and they are scaring her it is not ok for them to treat her like a 'punchbag' she was friends with them at one point the school was really good about it and said they would speak to them and they did after that they did leave her alone they didnt stay friends though but that is alright imo , they were 9/10 at the time,

VonHerrBurton Wed 07-Nov-12 14:09:44

You see, I would maybe have a word with the parent(s) Especially as you say they are friends out of school as well, and as you say they are in Y3, presuming neither are new to the school, I presume you know the parents? Even just on a 'hi, how are things' basis?

My son was, er, difficult in this respect a few years ago. He went through a phase couple of years where he was aggressive and in your face with his friends. I am eternally grateful to the parents who mentioned it to me rather than go to the teacher. I understood that it was a 'final warning' for my ds and that if it continued, they would go in to speak to someone. It gave us time to work on ds's problems and he is still friends with the couple of boys he was mean to for a while. smile

I understand you may not feel comfortable/confident enough to do it, it would depend on your relationship with the boy's parents. Just a slightly different viewpoint.

bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 16:00:59

vonHerr that's a very interesting perspective. I must admit it seems somehow a bit, er... cowardly not to speak to the parents. We're not friends, but certainly very friendly, if that makes sense. And thinking about it, if the shoe was on the other foot, I would want to know and discuss it directly.

You may simply be a wonderful receptive and open person. But was there anything about the way the parents spoke to you that made things easier to deal with?

VonHerrBurton Wed 07-Nov-12 16:25:33

I think I am quite open and receptive, having dc is a real leveller, I've found. You don't always get what you think you're going to get grin ie pleasant, sweet, gentle, sociable, polite offspring that delight all around them! Ds certainly wasn't for that period I mentioned, started just before YR and through to Y2-ish. I was aware of his problems and tried to be as open as possible with all parents, I would ring to apologise if ds had done something mean, assure them it was important to us that their child knew ds was sorry and would try really hard next time not to get cross etc.

I just hated the idea of people thinking we thought his behaviour was acceptable and I think that's why people felt they could come to me, because I wouldn't get defensive and because they knew I cared.

I wouldn't worry so much about getting everything you want to say out word perfectly, if they are decent people they will get your drift. Start it in a 'this is a bit awkward, I hope you don't mind me mentioning it to you like this but X seems a bit different with dd recently, he's threatening to hit her and her friend, I know he probably wouldn't, it's just she's a bit upset and I'd hate them to fall out'

At least then you've given her a chance to address it. If she's in the least bit defensive or gets a bit funny with you - go to the teacher. You tried. It is very serious and the boy needs to realise his behaviour's not on.

bowerbird Wed 07-Nov-12 16:27:36

Thanks VonHerr

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