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AIBU to be concerned by this?

(16 Posts)
velvetspoon Thu 16-Jul-15 20:25:29

I don't know if this is bullying, or just normal boy stuff, or somewhere in between, so could use some opinions...

By way of background, I've got 2 DSs, aged 16 and 14. I have no parents, no other family to speak of. DSs do see their dad, but he's pretty useless. No other family involved, and no real male role model involved in their lives. Other than my bf, who I've only been with for a little over a year, so he's only been around relatively recently.

So DS2 isn't quite the typical 14yo. He's tiny in height (about the size of a 11/12 yo) - some of the boys in his year are 6ft plus. He's the smallest boy, indeed there are only one or two girls who are smaller than him. He's also quite sensitive, loves animals, hates any kind of animal cruelty etc. Is lovely with younger children too. Hates most sports although is good at them, just doesn't enjoy them. He is very into computers and gaming, and does play a lot on xbox with lots of different friends, but at/out of school mainly has 2 friends, one of whom in particular isn't always that nice to him (friend is a slightly spoilt only child, likes to dish out insults but can't take them back etc. I've tried in the past to encourage DS to find other friends but he still is closest to these two).

Anyway, because of his size and how he is, I've always perhaps worried a little he might end up being bullied. Until last summer DS1 and he were at the same school which reassured me rather, as DS1 is very much a larger than life character, takes no shit from anyone, and I think DS2 befitted from being known as DS1s brother. Anyway, for most of the year he's been fine - there was a period of time earlier in the year when he missed some time off school but that was more to do with just not having his brother there to chivvy him along etc there didn't' seem to be any more behind it than that and for the last few months he's been going to school fine and not missed a day.

So to the last couple of weeks..first he came home with pen all over his arm, he said apparently girls in his class had drawn on him. He laughed it off as no big deal. This happened 2 or 3 times and his reaction was the same.

Then last week he had a few bruises on his torso. I asked him about it and he said some of the boys had been going round giving 'nipple cripples' hmm. He just shrugged over it and didn't seem that bothered.

So then today he came home with a massive rip in his shirt (as apparently girls were going round ripping off everyone's pockets) and pen all over his face -the latter he was clearly annoyed about it, said it was one of the dumber boys in his class, and DS2 had shoved him off and then thrown a chair at him (but hadn't got into trouble because his teacher had already seen the pen incident).

The whole thing worries me...I never had this with DS1, I don't know if it's normal teen stuff though. DS1 has expressed concern, not based on what DS2 has said, but more on what he's heard from friends who are still at the school. It's end of term tomorrow, but would you do/say anything, or leave it??

AlpacaLypse Thu 16-Jul-15 20:29:41

Yes I would do or say something, this all sounds dodgy, but I have teenage dds not dss and hopefully someone with boy experience will be along soon.

Yarp Thu 16-Jul-15 20:40:25

The writing on the arm - this seems common in DS1's school. Depends what they are writing. In DS1s case it is often friends who do it, and I even suspect a girl does it because she fancies him.

The nipple cripple thing - if he's not bothered, if it's not solely targeted on him - much as it pains me to say it, that also seems to be a sort of run of the mill teen boy thing.

But taken as a whole, and especially the writing on the face (that is particularly aggressive and would have involved forcing him to stay still and potentially seriously hurting him), I would email the Head of Year to flag it up.

I'd do it now, tell him/her you don't expect a response now, but would like to discuss it further next term

At the very best it is unsupervised 'horseplay' that has gone far too far. At worst it's bullying.

velvetspoon Thu 16-Jul-15 20:54:08

the arm writing was stuff about One Direction and some other band all the Y9 girls like, plus a few drawings etc. I think DS is quite sweet on some of those girls so didn't mind too much.

It's today's incident that annoys/concerns me - destroying a perfectly good school shirt - which is now covered in the pen that wasn't on his face and has a massive hole where the pocket was.

velvetspoon Thu 16-Jul-15 21:19:57

I do worry he might be bullied, but if he won't admit there's any issue would the school even do anything?

oneowlgirl Thu 16-Jul-15 22:03:10

I don't have teenagers yet but none of that sounds right to me. I'd do what a pp said & contact the school tomorrow to lay out your concerns so that it's flagged for Sept & go in early next term to make sure it's ok.

junebirthdaygirl Thu 16-Jul-15 22:38:21

That ripping of the pocket always happened in my ds school to everyone at holiday time. You were nearly left out if it didn't happen to you. Is your ds upset or his usual Self? There is always high jinks on the last few days and if lads get into trouble for it now it could be much worse for your ds.

velvetspoon Thu 16-Jul-15 22:48:53

I've never heard of the ripping pockets thing - tbh if a girl had tried to do that to DS1 he'd have told them to do one (except less politely)...DS2 however is a different character.

He's a fairly quiet boy anyway. I don't know if he'd tell me if there was a problem. We are very close in that he still has lots of cuddles with me, but never says that anything's worrying him. But then maybe nothing IS worrying him, and I'm being over-anxious?

I was bullied in quite an unpleasant way at school from the ages of 12-14 (by boys, never by girls) and despite being very close to my parents I never told them sad So I'm reluctant to assume everything's ok with him just because he seems fine. It's so tricky!

TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 16-Jul-15 22:52:18

The arm drawing can actually be an expression of friendship, especially if it's sweet stuff about bands etc....I used to "tattoo" boys I liked at that age.

velvetspoon Fri 17-Jul-15 08:56:22

Well, I think there def is if not bullying then at least some unpleasant stuff going on. He got upset this morning and said he didn't want to go in because of the boys being horrible to him sad It's last day of term so I've kept him off and now drafting email to the school.

ohtheholidays Fri 17-Jul-15 09:08:03

It is bullying,the pen and ripping of shirt pockets seems to be happening in a lot of secondary schools all over the place now.But that doesn't mean it's right or acceptable!

Make sure that you report any and every worry or concern to the school as soon as possible.The same day is what's favored by the teachers,heads of year and headmasters/headmistress's.

Speak to your son about what's going and about how he's feeling about it all and one of the best things you can teach your child to do is to report any incident that makes him upset or makes him feel bullied or out of control of the situation as soon as it's happened.

Make sure he knows to go and find a member of staff and that he knows to tell them straight away.

Schools like to know what's happened/is happening straight away so that they can deal with it there and then,it helps to nip it in the bud before it goes any further or gets any worse.

With your sons size and your worries have you thought about getting him to join an out of school club?3 of our youngest 5DC all go to judo every week,they all really love it and it has boosted the confidence of all of them.

Another good idea would be for you son to join a club that he would enjoy that is run by the school,either at lunch time or just after school.
It would help him to make more friends and he would be making friends with children that have similar interests to his own.It could be a great boost to his confidence and he would have a larger social group that he could lean on.

PurpleHairAndPearls Fri 17-Jul-15 09:09:53

I have teenagers and this is not acceptable, in my view.

The drawing on arms, yes, very common (and drives me crazy) but ripping clothes, and leaving bruises? This crosses the line. My DCs' schools certainly would not be allowing that, or thinking of it as normal behaviour.

I think you are right to email HOY as damage to property and physical aggression should not be tolerated. It doesn't sound like harmless horseplay to me, I'm a little surprised at some of these replies , to be honest.

I find as well, velvet, that my DCs sometimes confide in siblings more. I've also said to my DCs individually that if anyone else tells them they are being hurt in any way, it is kinder for my DCs to tell me or another adult, and the act of a true friend, even if they feel they are betraying a confidence.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Fri 17-Jul-15 10:43:44

First of all what an amazing kind and sensitive caring boy you have there.
You should be bursting with the uppermost pride. No doubt you are though.
However ripped clothes and bruises. The poor little lamb. Is not right, well as you know and needs to be addressed. And as you have described him it does not seem like typical boys rough and tumble.

CrapBag Fri 17-Jul-15 11:05:34

I wouldn't care if its a supposed common thing, I'd be furious at my child being bruised, drawn on (maybe not the girls with 1D quite so much) and having his clothes ripped. Written down like that it is bullying.

It's telling that he didn't want to go to school today. If it was true horseplay type stuff he wouldn't have had an issue going in. Well done for keeping him off and emailing the school.

Yarp Fri 17-Jul-15 15:56:53

To answer your question, yes my DS1s school would want to know and would act. They have a brilliant anti-bullying team.

velvetspoon Fri 17-Jul-15 21:20:28

well, I've sent the email so we'll see what happens. If I don't hear anything I'll contact the school again at the start of term.

DS has done taekwondo - he was really good at it, did it for a couple of years and got several belts, but just got bored with it. He also went to a cricket club a few summers back...same result. At his school there are very few clubs, a couple of sports ones he wouldn't go to, and drama which he refuses to (although he likes drama and is doing it for GCSE he was worried it wouldn't be cool sad )

He's gone out with his dad tonight. I've had a word with DS1 who is going to try and talk to him and see if he can find any more out in due course. And he's also going to ask his friends who are still at the school to keep an eye out for DS2 if possible.

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