to not speak to my son about how his manner might have meant he asked to be pushed and taunted?(73 Posts)
Ds Is 7. He came out of school sad yesterday because at break time 4 boys were pushing him, pulling his coat and bag and calling him fat.
I didn't get a chance to speak to the teacher but spoke to my son and agreed I'd go to the line with him this morning and speak to her. From what he said it was being dealt with, they went to the head and are losing break today. I just felt it's important for me to speak to the teacher so he knows I take him seriously.
She seen us approaching and asked if we were o.k. I said 'we're fine, miniKeith is just a bit apprehensive about break after what happened yesterday' so not accusing, not shouting or anything. She goes onto say 'yes we'll be talking about it in class today and could you speak to miniKeith at home? The way he approaches people to join in games sets him up for this sort of thing'
If he does need any steer with his social skills I would leave it out for now, myself, and maybe bring it up in a while when this incident has been forgotten. It's too confusing a message - "Yes, the boys were naughty and they are being punished BUT you could change yourself anyway."
Just seen that the teacher is going to be "talking about it in class today" I presume that will be in general terms "This is how we play nicely" etc and not public victim-blaming!
I bloody hope so!
That's the bit that got me she said 'we'll be talking about it as a class and doing some work around it' so hopefully it's going to cover all bases.
I'm not saying that he "asked" for it or anything awful like that, and obviously the boys should be punished for the pushing and the insults. And the teacher phrased things incredibly badly.
But. At about this age, my ds lost his temper with a friend, and thumped him. The heavens descended on him both at school and at home. However, when all that was over, the friend's mum and I had a meeting with the head teacher, and the other mother started the meeting by saying "Honestly, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner- X would try the patience of a saint!" X was very bossy and inclined to police the playground, and the school put in place some strategies to help him learn better social behaviour. So while it's obviously never the victim's fault, sometimes an incident like this can be a wake up call that the victim needs to modify their social behaviour a bit too.
Without knowing the specifics I can only comment generally so if after hearing what the teacher has to say I thought my child could improve the way they interact with other children I would definitely talk to them about it.
There are two separate issues - I'm sure no one would ever say the bullying was acceptable but that doesn't mean that your child doesn't need help with social skills as well. There are some things that, looking back, I wish my parents had spoken to me about when I was younger that would have helped me as a young adult.
It wasn't until I went to university that I realised that I interupted people while they were talking - not a biggie but an irritation that I could have learnt to avoid as a child if someone had spelled it out to me. I really was unaware how much I did it.
Well, you kind of are saying he asked for it, Seeker. "sometimes an incident like this can be a wake up call that the victim needs to modify their social behaviour a bit too." It's hard to know how else to read that.
But regardless, I think addressing a social skills problem well after the main kerfuffle is all over and punishments have been dealt out is a different thing. If it all happens as basically part of the same incident and fall-out, the victim will get a mixed message.
This makes me sad, ds is 6 and really dosnt know the best way to approach people or pick up on ques to back off, he really gets in people face and dosnt get the concept of personal space at all, he often gets shoved out the way and i do worry that as his peers age they may lash out, i would be furious with the teachers reaction. Yes children like this can make themselves a target but there is no excuse for others lashing out, all children at the school should be taught to be understanding and to never hurt others or call them names no matter what.
I suppose what I am saying is that sometimes people do ask for it- but that's no reason to give it to them! Responsibility for the thump always rests with the thumper, not the thumpee.
Sorry, pressed to soon- but it isn't doing the "victim" any favours not to try to find a way to help him manage social situations better.
No, I just don't think it should be part of the same process - ie happen on the day after the incident.
I think you definitely need an appointment to speak further about this. You need to hear what she thinks your son did and what she thinks the other boys did in retaliation. Her story about what the other boys did may be different from what your son says, so you discuss this
I agree with Seeker, I've seen socially awkward children trying to play and fit in after school and it would be a shame if no one helped them to learn. I'm sure lots of us have come across adults who just don't know how to interact with others (not talking about SNs) in work or social situations and in most cases it's probably very easy to fix.
I don't read Seeker's comments as condoning bullying though.
I agree with seeker- sometimes a row is begun by one child. Bullying is always unacceptable, but if, for example, he nicked their ball and said my game is better than yours, the ensuing melee is wrong, and hitting is wrong, but would not in that case be bullying. You need to find out exactly what she meant, as bullying should not mean your ds should change, but if he is behaving inappropriately then you can help him.
Wow. There would need to be a HELL of a lot of missing context in what that teacher said for me not to think she's basically blaming this wee boy for being bullied! YANBU.
I'm afraid I don't have any advise
We've been there though. The school was so determined to blame everything on our child and our parenting. We moved schools and all our children are thriving (I would say beyond thriving as they are excelling) and there is no bullying or leaving our tolerated. As Beer said its just not tolerated and they are all helped learn how to deal with other people and not by sating 'oi you, youre doing it wrong!'
As far as I can tell from your posts the school have taken it very seriously, they have punished the boys, spoken to them and are doing work in class to deal with it.
I think the teacher is just trying to give you a (badly worded) heads up about the manner in which your son approches others. It could end up with him being ignored if you don't deal with it.
If a teacher said this to me I would be inclined to have a chat with my dc.
I think sometimes when kids goad other kids it's because they just don't have the skills to make friends the normal way, so when they are continually rejected they take out their anger and frustration on the other kids by goading them. They perhaps think that having negative attention from other kids is better than being ignored. (I'm referring to the boy Kethryveris mentioned rather than the OP's son.)
Perhaps you could advise the teacher that her way with phrasing things could lead to being pushed and shoved by a parent that wasn't as decent as you and perhaps she should address this.
We are all adults discussing this. We know there is no equivalence between hitting someone and having poor social skills. We are able to spot that there may be a problem with a child's social skills but that this nonetheless does NOT mean that thumping them is justified or invited in any way shape or form - we can hold those two thoughts in our heads simultaneously.
Children at this age, surely, are just learning this stuff. That's why I would think it's best to be very clear about it - treat each strain of behaviour in isolation. Not go down the route of trying to be somehow "even-handed" saying "On the one hand x was wrong to do this but on the other hand y was wrong to do that", because a 7 year old isn't necessarily going to appreciate the underlying subtleties that we do about which thing is just a problem to be solved, and which thing is actually wrong.
I agree with Seeker.
Have you read 'the unwritten rules of friendship'? My ds is typical of the provocative/vulnerable child and also the sensitive child. He does need help knowing how to approach other dcs, how to join in, how to understand how he comes across to others and its unhelpful to let him flounder based on the idea that other people should be more accommodating of him. Its akin to not getting him glasses because its not his fault he is short sighted.
#thats the thing isnt it. You cant just take him to one side and say 'you're doing it wrong you should do this' you have to help them learn by doing and those around help by reacting but not overreacting
I agree with seeker too. I've seen it from both sides.
Dd2 can try and join a game along the lines of "I'm playing with you now and this is the way we're going to play it. No you're wrong if you want to play it differently". Then she goes crying if they say "no she's not playing".
We've been working hard at the way she plays, giving her ways of suggesting, not ordering, and if everyone else disagrees, even if she sees they're wrong (as long as no one is going to get hurt, or is breaking a rule) then she goes with the majority vote. She's getting better, but still forgets sometimes. She has often been hurt at not being allowed to "join in" but if they let her, expects them all to do what she wants. That's not going to win her any friends and she has to learn to be a friend not be the boss.
Ds had a child in reception who would target him with irritating behaviour. Things like he'd be doing a jigsaw and would walk past and pull one piece out and drop it on the floor. Another time he kept squashing the sandcastle he built. But he doesn't do it once. He'll keep doing it. So Ds would tell him "stop it" in increasing frustration until he'd snap at round about the 4th time and hit him.
Then he'd be in trouble for hitting (which is right, and I supported that) but it wasn't bullying. Actually, as his long suffering teacher said, it was more the other child was bullying him as he was making a target of ds, whereas ds would have hit any child who did that. But I know that they were struggling with the other child's parents because they were just saying "he's only playing", and feeling hard done by.
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