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How can I teach DS to accept responsibility for his actions?

(18 Posts)
Trepid Tue 27-Sep-16 12:10:18

He's 9 and everything is someone else's fault. He is being bullied a bit at school and has got in to trouble for lashing out at the bully (who of course gets away Scot free) and I want to empower him a bit to take responsibility for his actions. Are there any good books, or is there a best way to talk to him about it? We've had conversations with him about the reason he gets in to trouble, because no matter how much this bully has goaded him, it's DS who gets caught doing something wrong but it seems to go in one ear and out the other.

Beatrix22 Tue 27-Sep-16 12:37:43

Sounds like our LO! I too would welcome any advice

DerekSprechenZeDick Tue 27-Sep-16 12:40:31

I really don't blame him for lashing out. I got bullied for years in primary by one boy. It stopped when I kicked the shit out of him in year 5.

He is been bullied and you want to teach him to take responsibility?! What?

What do you mean by ' everything is somebody's fault'? Been bullied isn't your sons fault!

Trepid Tue 27-Sep-16 13:43:23

Derek.... I don't want him to take responsibility for the bullying, maybe I phrased that badly. He's done some terrible things at school because this bully has goaded him. I want to give him the power to feel he can say no. DS is on the surface very outgoing, very confident and top of the class but I know there's quite a bit of insecurity behind that front and I know that insecurity has led him to try and "befriend" this bully by doing the stupid things he suggests, but that's got him in to a ton of trouble at school. Because the bully's part in this is never evident to the teachers, my DS gets the blame. He thinks that's wildly unfair, but ultimately he's the one who did the stupid thing.

DerekSprechenZeDick Tue 27-Sep-16 13:46:05

Then speak to the school about their bullying policy.

He did the stupid thing thinking he would be left alone. He's 9.

Trepid Tue 27-Sep-16 14:28:56

The school are doing nothing! That's why I'm here!

DerekSprechenZeDick Tue 27-Sep-16 14:30:55

Then take him out Til they do something. Don't leave the poor lad been bullied

Trepid Tue 27-Sep-16 16:54:26

He's been excluded now. The school have done nothing to the other boy. Can I refer the matter to ofsted if the school aren't doing enough?

WombOfOnesOwn Tue 27-Sep-16 20:27:36

It sounds like your child is desperately trying to have some control. I think when you teach him about responsibility, he also needs trust and autonomy. Consider having him do little errands for you if it's not too dangerous where you live -- popping down to the store to buy milk and eggs, things like that.

Too often, children at this age feel (and rightly so!) that adults are putting onto them all of the responsibility but none of the autonomy or trust. I'd also consider finding your child some sort of club or activity where he can start to feel more confident and autonomous. It sounds to me like he desperately wants to show other people that he's not controlled by others (like his bully). Giving him control in other areas of his life could lead to a much greater sense of self-possession and responsibility.

CuddlesAndCupcakes Tue 27-Sep-16 20:27:44

Hello Trepid.

Firstly I hope your son is ok smile it is really unfair that your child has been the victim and now is the one that is being punished, in answer to your question unfortunately I don't have little knowledge on ofsted, sorry I wish I could be more help.

How long is the exclusion for?

I am mother to a little boy and pretty much collect parenting books, I purchased this book early this year, please take a look.

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B004QWZJI6/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1475003783&sr=8-6&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=children+responsibility&dpPl=1&dpID=51hKKEQ6MEL&ref=plSrch

Trepid Tue 27-Sep-16 22:38:11

Thank you cuddles, the exclusion is for 2 days. He's very shocked and upset but I'm trying to help him focus on the positives, to use the experience as a learning opportunity. How appeasing people who don't have your best interests at heart doesn't work in the long run. I will have a look at that book, hopefully it will help. I'm afraid I've been a bit emotional today but fingers crossed he hasn't picked up on that too much. I want him to really try to move on from this.

CuddlesAndCupcakes Wed 28-Sep-16 07:01:40

Morning Trepid you are more than welcome, when you take him back to school, ask
to speak to the headteacher as well as his form teacher, please ask them what are they going to do to insure that nothing like this will ever happen again.

I'd be very emotional too, I hope you and your son have a nice day today flowerscake

CuddlesAndCupcakes Wed 28-Sep-16 07:04:22

And reading back I don't think your son did anything stupid at all, he was being bullied, he couldn't take it anymore so he lashed out, that's how things usually end with older children, hopefully the boy in question will now leave your son alone.

Believeitornot Wed 28-Sep-16 08:16:16

Sit down with the teacher and explain the issue.

Explain that you want this tackled. That you understand that ds's behaviour isn't right but there's a cause. Keep at it. Look at moving schools if it doesn't resolve.

Re your ds, explain that the bully is doing this because he's trying to make ds sad like he must be feeling. And tell him to walk away. Explain that it's very hard but he has to walk away. And remind him of this constantly. Does he have siblings? It's the technique I use with my ds and dd who annoy each other.

Highlove Wed 28-Sep-16 09:16:57

I agree you need to press the school on this. The issue isn't your son not taking responsibility...it's the school here.

I was in your son's position 30-odd years ago at a similar age to your boy. It still upsets me now. Throughout primary I was picked on by one boy - never physical, just constant, daily teasing and humiliation - and every so often it would get too much and is lash out physically. Then I'd get in trouble and if I complained about the bullying, I was told to just ignore it. Even my parents focussed on what I did, not the fact it was triggered by constant, ongoing bullying. It wasn't ever raised with the boy so his behaviour never got tackled. And as his mum was very involved in the school and a gobby cow I ended up with a reputation for being badly behaved and viscious. It really damaged my primary years that I felt no grown-ups were on my side. When you're bullyed you feel powerless; when everyone is focussing on how you as the victim deals with it, you feel even more powerless.

Sorry, that was long. But my perspective based on all that is that by focussing on how your son responds, you risk making him feel that it's his fault/nobody's on his side and adding to his sense of frustration/powerlessness/injustice. Which may actually trigger further 'episodes'. He really shouldn't have to take responsibility here - the other child needs stopping.

Good luck - appreciate you're in a terrible situation made worse by the school not helping,

steppemum Wed 28-Sep-16 13:21:29

Hi Trepid.
Years ago I taught a class where there were 2 kids like your ds and the bully. At first the hitter got punished, but after a few times, I sat down to unpick it is bit further and the phrase kept coming back 'he was winding me up'
To be honest I wasn't very sympathetic at first, but I watched them for a few days.
Once I was watching, I saw that child A was quietly teasing and stirring child B all morning. Little commetns across the table. I think he tought some of them were funny, but child B didn't think so. Then they went out to play, child A said one more thing and it was the last straw, and so child B lashed out and thumped him.

So I was very clear to both boys. You both miss playtime. One for winding up, one for hitting. I also spent time with child B talking about alternative strategies to help him. (walk away, tell teacher, tell me after break, laugh etc)

I very quickly had child A's mother in wnating to know why he was being punished when he was the victim. I explained, she insisted that her pfb would never do that, I said he needed to learn not to wind others up.

It soon stopped. (not before she had bad mouthed me to every other parent in the playground)

My point is, it isn't always as easy and obvious for the teacher, especialy if the other child is clever. Go in and ask for meeting with teacher and HT. After a 2 day exclusion, they should be willing to do that. Explain what is goign on (not with ds present) stress that you support his exclusion for his behaviour, but that it is part of a bigger picture, and that the school needs to work on the bigger picture and help.

Sit down with ds and say some of the things you have said on this thread, that the bully doesn't want to be his friend, that he is winding ds up and then sitting bakc to see what happens. That doing as he asks isn't getting him a friend or into a group of friends, but is getting him into trouble.
Find some daft examples - if he asked you to pour a bucket of water over your head - would you? If he asks you to stand on one leg and sing twinkel twinkle - would you?
Then suggest some more serious examples - if he asked you to jump off the roof - would you? Why not? What about if he asked you to steal something that belonged to someone else? Would you? Why not?

Make a poster with him, one side - things I would do if asked - play football, join a game, lend a pencil. and on the other side, Things I wouldn't do - hit or kick, call someone names, etc etc, include a daft one to stop it being too heavy.

making a plan to make a good choice can really help kids to say no in the heat of the moment, because they have already made the decision.

At the end of the day you can look at the poster and ask him if he had ot say no today to something he was asked to do and congratulate him on sticking to his good choices

steppemum Wed 28-Sep-16 13:23:24

sorry, bit of an essay blush

Trepid Wed 28-Sep-16 21:43:51

Thanks for all your comments, they're really helpful. I had a meeting with the head today and she's very supportive of DS, she agrees with me about really trying to make this an opportunity for DS to learn a valuable lesson on handling someone like this. Sadly they don't see the other boy as a bully, the head actually said "that's a very big word" ffs, so nothing is going to be done for now with the other boy, however social services are now involved and I will make sure they're aware of the situation. DS is now in a different class so hopefully a fresh start for him. We're going to work on a few strategies for him to deal with bullies in future. Poor DS, no one really believes he was actually bullied because in his little mind the way to stop the endless goading was to make friends with him, and to play his clown so all the teachers actually thought DS was friends with this other boy!

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