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to tell DS that he doesn't "have to be friends" with this boy

(10 Posts)
BillyNotQuiteNoMates Thu 27-Feb-14 19:38:06

13yo DS came home from school really upset on Tuesday. He is a sensitive boy who enjoys HIS chosen sports - which don't happen to include football. So, PE lesson, football hits his hand. So called "friend" laughs at him and encourages the rest of the class to do the same, telling him that he's rubbish etc. School policy always seems to be that "everyone is friends" regardless of likes and dislikes. So, AIBU to tell DS that he doesn't have to be friends with this boy, and that he can refuse to associate with him if he wants to. The behaviour seems pretty standard for this boy, he's done similar things to other people before but the "school" always put pressure on them to let it go, without even insisting on an apology. DS is worried that if he stands his ground he will get into trouble. He doesn't want me to say anything to his tutor/ PE teacher.

Wellthen Thu 27-Feb-14 19:43:26

In what way does the school insist they are friends? Or do they simply mean that everyone must be friendly and therefore ds can't say 'go away'. I'm not sure what you mean by sand up for himself, your op is confusing.

Ds should certainly not have to friends with him.
He should stand up for himself but that varies on context - I kind of agree at 13 that laddish teasing needs to shrugged off.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Thu 27-Feb-14 19:49:20

DS and other boy have always been in the same group of friends. Every time this kind of thing happens, the boys are told that they are not allowed to exclude him, that they all have to get along and just forget it. I think that DS should insist (or at least be allowed to insist, if he wants to) that the boy acknowledges that his behaviour is upsetting and hurtful. The boy isn't learning anything about acceptable behaviour if he just keeps doing it and facing no consequences. As an adult, I would not associate with anyone who ridiculed me in public.

Wellthen Thu 27-Feb-14 19:57:39

He can't insist that the boy acknowledge it as the boy is allowed his own opinion - he may feel that his behaviour is acceptablr. But I think it is fair to expect the school to explain that his behaviour is not socially acceptable - have you spoken to anyone about this?

When you say 'can exclude him' this suggests that he has been excluded from the friendship in the past so they boys are clearly acting on this boys actions. It sounds like the boys are learning to deal wit this themselves which is what the should be dong.

cansu Thu 27-Feb-14 20:01:33

The problem is that yes your ds can decide to stop associating with this boy but he cant expect the rest of the group to do so. Trying to avoid this boy may mean that your ds end up outside this group or that others feel they need to pick a side. The better option would be for your ds to remain friendly but should try to distance himself from this boy whenever possible without making a huge issue.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Thu 27-Feb-14 20:08:51

I'm not explaining very well. The group of boys have tried to exclude this boy before because of this kind of behaviour to one or other of them. Teachers have then stepped in, telling them that they can't do that, claiming that they are bullying him. DS would have the support of the friendship group but is afraid of being accused of bullying by teachers (and being punished for it, as bullying is taken very seriously in his school), which is genuinely not the case. I'm just letting things take their course for now, but I wanted to know whether it would be better for this this boy to be confronted about the way he makes the other boys feel, or whether it was better to just ignore it and pretend that everything was fine.

lazyhound444 Thu 27-Feb-14 20:12:44

I think it's really weird that the school are getting so involved in it. Pretty sure my DS (who is almost 13) wouldn't have this kind of input from his school if a similar situation arose. Surely they should be allowed to resolve their own conflicts?

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Thu 27-Feb-14 20:23:04

I think it's because the school had quite a bad name for bullying at one point, now they see it everywhere.

LexiLouise Thu 27-Feb-14 20:24:48

Of course he doesn't have to be friends with him but your post seems to suggest the friendship group have bullied this boy, or been perceived to bully him?

Are you 100 percent sure that there is no fault on your son/son's friendship group part?

Do you feel this individual is a bully or just maybe unpopular as he acts a bit dickish and annoys everyone?

Trogladad Thu 27-Feb-14 21:15:59

"Acknowledge his behaviour is upsetting and hurtful"? Well that wouldn't be a problem because as a 13 year old boy teasing other 13 year old boys he would be very proud of that, and it would be a humiliating victory over OP's DS if DS even admitted that was the case. He would probably just get a round of high fives from his friends after saying it.

DS needs to shrug it off, and he needs to be coached into understanding how to laugh at himself mainly and take the piss back in a well-timed and amusing way if possible. You don't have to have fights all the time to stand up for yourself, you certainly don't paint a big target on your arse by saying "I insist you admit you have upset me!" and you don't want to encouraging behaving in a visibly perturbed way eg: giving people the cold shoulder, because that's like a red rag to a bull, and boys in secondary school will not stop escalating the bullying if you show them you might have a glimmer of victim about you. I'm not professing to be an expert, but I was a sensitive lad who moved around some really rough schools, so you never know, I might not be wrong. smile

Most of all, I would seriously make your child aware that "the school" will not teach him how to look after himself, because what they do is encourage boys to crumple and feel sad and point the finger rather than being strong individuals, and if your boy is at all sensitive that's a recipe for disaster.

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