Consequences re son's behaviour at school(23 Posts)
Apologies as this is likely to be a bit long:
My son is in year 6 at school and a few months back (end of year 5), another mum approached me about him upsetting her son with something he was repeatedly saying to him. I have chosen not to say what this thing was as I don't want the thread to become all about that but I apologised to the mum concerned and assured her it would be dealt with immediately then duly went home with my son, sat him down and had a good talk to him about it, telling him it must stop immediately which he assured me it would. Then last month we were contacted by the same boy's father saying that this was still happening and that this time it was our son plus two of his friends saying it. Again we were extremely apologetic, assuring him this would be dealt with straight away so this time as well as talking to our son, and him admitting he'd said the same thing to another boy too, we made him promise to apologise to both the boys first thing the next day (which I know he did) and we stopped him seeing any of his friends outside of school for a week (this is something he loves to do so we felt and hoped it would be an effective punishment). I also went in to see the Head as it transpired that my son and the other boys concerned had been spoken to about this behaviour, and I told him how sorry we were and assured him we had taken action. The Head thanked me for my support and assured me that my son was a good, well-behaved boy on the whole but had just made some bad choices of late which he reiterated was fairly common in year 6 particularly, when they're 'top dog of the school' and perhaps getting a bit big for their boots at times etc. So imagine my dismay when I received a call from the Deputy Head just this week to say that my son was still doing this but this time to a different boy. This time I called my husband at work and he came home for school pick-up so that we could sit down with our son and talk to him together. Again we have made him apologise to the boy concerned, which I know he's done, we have put a stop to all his after school clubs this week, we have stopped him seeing any friends for the next two weeks and we've taken his electronic devices (another thing he loves) from him for the foreseeable.
FWIW (and I'm in no way excusing his behaviour) from speaking to my son, and knowing him as I do (he is a lovely boy really) I honestly don't think he has deliberately meant to pick on and upset these boys. I think he's just been thoughtlessly using a silly word (I will say it's sex related) that he doesn't know the full meaning of but knows it's a bit rude, risqué etc. I also know that he definitely isn't the only one saying this as both myself and my husband have heard it being banded about between a few of the boys on many occasions (as have other parents as we've discussed this with them). However he obviously needs to understand that he has upset these boys causing parents and the school to intervene, that it has happened far too often and that it's completely unacceptable. It has just been so hard this week as he's been crying his eyes out about the whole thing, giving his side of the story etc but I have been tough and stuck to my guns re the consequences he must now pay. I suppose I'm looking for advice/reassurance really and asking if anyone else has been in this sort of situation before and, if so, how did you deal with it?
So sorry for the length of this, just wanted to explain the full story!
I think at this point I'd be looking at punishing for longer than a week, as you are doing - it would be more like a month. He's either bullying or verging on it, and he needs to learn to think for himself and not follow his friends. That doesn't mean he's a terrible person, or that you are bad parents, but really enough is enough. Let him cry - he should be crying at this point, he's upsetting a lot of people.
You need to explain to him exactly what that word means so he can grasp how upsetting it is to be called it.
He needs to know what the word means. Fully.
Two weeks isn't severe enough. He has taken no notice at all - so it's clear it's not sinking in. He has repeatedly ignored any guidance.
It's just the after school clubs that we've stopped for a week and that's largely because we are tied up with other people and risk letting them down IFSWIM. The contact with friends will be at least 2 weeks, possibly more, and even then we'll bring it back gradually, just an hour or so here and there depending on the situation. His devices are gone indefinitely. I know what you are saying re the bullying, that has been my main concern. The other thing that my husband mentioned to me that may, or may not, be a contributing factor is something significant that happened to him at the start of this year within one of the sports clubs he was involved in. I won't go into details but will just say that he was excluded through no fault of his own, and bullied to an extent too. We hoped we'd come out the other side of that but, as my husband reminded me, it really knocked him sideways at the time. Again, not looking for excuses, just trying to get my head around it all as we've always brought him up to remember his manners and be kind and respectful etc, which he normally is and his friends parents regularly comment on this too. Just really struggling and thrown by it all tbh . Do appreciate the response though .
OP you've taken this seriously and put measures in place that your son had chosen to ignore. I think you need to make any sanctions a lot longer. What are the school doing to deal with this behaviour? A joint approach may help.
When you say he's putting his side of the story, what does he say?
Sorry, took ages to type after the first response! Thanks for all your responses and yes Polter totally agree with values being strengthened at home which we do both practice and preach. There are some words he'd never dream of using but with this one I'm struggling to drive the point home. Thanks again to all.
Can't you tell us the word-even in code?! I think it's significant to the answers.
We had a spate of y6 boys calling other boys 'benders' a while back-they had no idea what it meant or what they were saying.
It really depends on the word.
Children say all sorts if offensive things without having a clue what they mean. Without knowing what's been said to who it's very hard to know what the appropriate response is.
Yes rollonthesummer that is the word being used, or thereabouts.
Crumbled he enjoys sport but isn't particularly high achieving at it, there are others who are much stronger than him at it and he's not singling out anyone who isn't good at it. However Polter I think you could be right re the 'bravado' thing, this is what my husband tends to think too.
Penfold the first time the school weren't involved but the second time, only about a month ago, he and his friends were taken out of class and spoken to by the Deputy Head and he was also moved away from another boy in class. He actually told my husband about this after being unusually subdued and quiet after school and just before the boy's father contacted us, so we really thought/hoped it had hit home with him. I went into school voluntarily the next day and spoke to the Head and he told me that it hadn't yet reached the point where we would be called into school about it but he thanked me for my support and I asked to be informed straight away if it happened again, hence my call this week. This time he was taken out of class again and spoken to by the Deputy and he missed his breaks that day.
Bertrand he says that he gets called this all the time himself and that other boys use it all the time too and I do know this to be true. Somewhat ironically it was the first upset boy who told him and his friends the word in the first place and called them all it which I also know to be true. I think what is happening is that the boys in his immediate friendship circle are saying it to one another as silly banter but when he is saying it to someone who is not within his close circle of friends it ceases to be so and is obviously very upsetting for them. None of this makes it right of course, I'm just trying to get a handle on it all really.
And sorry Crumbled I wasn't implying that my son is 'top dog' at the school at all, it was a comment that the Head made to me regarding how some of the year 6 boys can often typically behave. Can see it wasn't that clear though.
The children on tje outside are already feeling excluded, without being called names.
DD was bullied, 6 months of sleepless nights, tears, violent tantrums, anger, frustration, school refusal. Its not just names.
If he goes to high school he will struggle to make friends as first impressions last.
That said, deal with it now, and next time make him apologise to the parents as well. This works. He wont do it again.
I think you need to talk to him about homosexuality and homophobia OP. Homophobic banter and bullying are rife at dc's school (primary). Neither is acceptable, and my boys would be in deep, deep trouble if I heard them using such language- even though I'm sure their classmates and some friends do.
Yes agree with you both Barbarian and Polter, it is rife but totally unacceptable. Now that I'm thinking about it, as a family we don't really know anyone who is gay and it's a subject I haven't yet discussed with him, or my daughter who is just a year younger, as I hadn't really felt they'd understand it fully as yet, they're only just really starting to be curious about sex in general, and then not to a large degree. That was before all this though so I concede that we need to have a talk about the meaning now and my husband did actually start this very discussion with him last night. Sally I'm sorry to hear about your son, that must have been awful for you both. I have to say though that the boys concerned are not excluded or anything, they do have their own groups of friends too, I just meant they weren't especially close with my son and his particularly close knit friends but, having said that, they are still boys he's been friendly with previously, they've been to our house and his parties, and he to theirs etc. I think it's now they're all a bit older that they seem to be breaking off into tighter groups IYSWIM. I think the apology to parents is an excellent suggestion though and I've just informed him that this is one of the things that will happen if this should ever occur again. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to respond.
Sorry Sally meant to say 'your daughter'
the thing is if he has been called this name , he wd rather be on the dishing out end than the receiving end altho you are steadily increasing the punishments. I think the punishments are becoming way too severe and need to stop. When parents complain to you tell them your son was also called this name. Plus behaviour dealt with in school shd not be double dealt with at home. Support your son in understanding what is going on with this name calling and help him to figure out how to stay away from it without becoming a victim himself - which is what he will be afraid of.
I honestly think this should stay within school and the school should lead in dealing with this. Obviously have your own sanctions in place but I disagree with apologising to the parents. Any further communication should be via the school either you or the parents. The school don't stand a cat in hells chance of dealing with it effectively otherwise.
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