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8year old can't cope with teasing.

(19 Posts)
Mezley Mon 02-Nov-09 19:46:47

My ds has many fine qualities - he is funny, bright, enjoys school, is entertaining. BUT he doesn't deal with being teased. He generally falls apart and is overly sensitive, becoming very tearful or withdrawing from his friendship groups. I have tried to give him a range of strategies to cope but like many children, can't take advice from his parents. I have also tried to ask him what he thinks he could do so he is coming up with his own strategies. He doesn't seem to have a clue. I was also an overly sensitive child so I really understand what he is going through. Anyone out there with any suggestions or advice?

Jamieandhismagictorch Mon 02-Nov-09 22:02:15

Me too, and DS1 is fairly sensitive. Sounds like you are sure in your own mind that he is not being bullied ...? In the past there have been one or two friends who I think have been verging on bullying DS, and I have spoken to him about trying to spend his time with people who mostly make him feel good about himself, who think he's funny and who support him.

One thing I've done with my DS to get suggestions out there is to write them on a white board. Get him started with ridiculous or funny suggestions, like "call him pooey plop pants", and encourage him to do some too, even if they are over the top. The aim is to help him get his feelings out uncensored. Then get him to help you narrow them down.

I try to tell my son that some people are encouraged by a strong reaction, and to try and get him to control his emotional reactions at home to practice this. But it is really hard, because you don't want them to have to suppress their emotions too much ....

Jamieandhismagictorch Mon 02-Nov-09 22:06:45

DS is just 9

Mezley Tue 03-Nov-09 09:48:17

Thanks Jamie. There has been some bullying which I have dealt with through the parent of child concerned, but on the whole it is his own attitude that is exacerbating minor teasing.
I really like your idea of brainstorming solutions, especially by using humour to draw ideas out of him. I think it may be positive for both of us.
I have explained to him about how his reactions affect the level of teasing. He is aware that this is part of the problem, but when it happens he doesn't seem to have the emotional capacity to ignore it. That seems to be the main difficulty - not so much the teasing, but how he copes. Thanks for the suggestions, they are really helpful.

Mezley Tue 03-Nov-09 09:49:41

DS is nearly 9

Jamieandhismagictorch Tue 03-Nov-09 09:54:29

I hope it helps, I know it's really hard when you see them being a bit self-defeating...

Another thing that I think has really helped DS1 with his confidence and attititudes to things he finds difficult, is Cubs.

It was his idea to go, and the good thing is there is no-one from his year in his troupe, so he gets to sort of re-invent himself in a way, away from familiar faces/roles.

The leaders are sensitive, but sort of old-fashioned no-nonsense at the same time, so he can't get away with being over-emotional. He's done lots of outdoorsy stuff and had to get on with it. Actually I really admire him for getting on with it ....

Might be worth considering for your DS.

Mezley Tue 03-Nov-09 12:45:24

We clearly have parallel lives here! My son is also at cubs, with only one child from his school in the pack. He hasn't had any problems apart from one older boy who used to go there from his school, and he was generally a troublesome lad anyway. He has really enjoyed doing "manly" stuff and it has been good for his confidence.

Jamieandhismagictorch Tue 03-Nov-09 13:05:33

Spooky ...... grin

How are his friends reacting to him getting upset - are they teasing him about that, or is it more that you are worried they might ? I have been quite surprised at how tolerant many children are of their friends' "funny little ways".

Has the teacher flagged it up as an issue, and how does school deal with it ? Sometimes someone more objective can help (my DH is good at dealing with my DS1 because he doesn't identify with him as much).

One of my friends said to me that sometimes we can't take our DCs problems away from them, that they have to walk their own path and suffer the natural consequences of this sort of behaviour. That does make sense to me, but I find that easier said than done, especially if it is a personality trait we identify with.

Anyhoo, just rambling now.... Worrying little buggers aren't they ? smile

inthesticks Tue 03-Nov-09 19:32:47

My DS1 was exactly the same. Even used to get a quivering lip at the mildest tease from DH.
I used to stress over and over that people only tease those who give a satifying response. It becomes boring to tease someone who just ignores it. Easier said than done though and we had lots of tears.
The good news is that he's 13 now and almost grown out of it.

toffeeapple Tue 03-Nov-09 20:49:21

Hi, I'm relieved my DD is not the only one like that. She's only 5 and very grown up for her age, but highly sensitive (I've read the "highly sensitive child" and it's my daughter all over.).
Recently she's had a problem with a boy from her class, and she worried about it FOR THE WHOLE of the half term holiday. When I say problem, it really sounded like a minor problem, but obviously, to her it was awful, as she had been slightly teased by him (twice).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, after reading "the higly sensitive child" which gives you loads of practical tips, I practised role play with her and pretended to be that boy (or someone else) saying nasty stuff to her (well, I didn't manage to be that nasty, after all she's my daughter!!) and taught her "not to react". All in a playfull, light hearted way.
She did an amazing job, although she's not so good when it's not pretend, but apparently, that boy tried to tease her again and she ignored him.
She then told me that the teacher told her "well done for ignoring him darling!!" so she was really pleased with that.
I was highly sensitive as a child, in fact i am a HSP (highly sensitive person), and I just can't let DD cope on her own, I think they need to know we're there for them, personally I could have done with a bit more support from my parents, because kids are amazing observers, but very poor interpreters, so it's our job to explain things to them (ie: she didn't mean it like that, what she meant was...).
I guess for you guys it might be a bit different as yours are older, but with a 5 year old you constantly have to explain things.
In fact it's sapping my energy.
From Inthesticks it sounds like I've got another 8 years of it... or longer.........
God help us!!!!
By the way, if you found that cubs was good for your boys, any ideas for a girl? Or can girls go as well?

Jamieandhismagictorch Wed 04-Nov-09 08:22:22

Thanks for the book recommendation toffeeapple - yes, Beavers are open to girls age 6-8, and I believe the Brownies still exist as well. The no. of girls in the scout movement varies from troupe to troupe, but I gather it suits some girls better to be in a mixed group rather than only girls. There's a Scout webpage.

I do agree with you about supporting your DCs, and of course toffeeapple, and spend a lot of time helping DS understand other peoples motivations etc.

toffeeapple Wed 04-Nov-09 14:01:21

Thanks Jamie that's very useful.
I'll have a look. I know camp helped me tremendously as a child, I'm french and I went to camp every year from the age of 9. Each time for about 3/4 weeks in the summer: the best times of my childhood/adolescence!
I thank my dad for insisting on me going now, although at the time I was positive I didn't want to go and was quite annoyed with him because of it.
My confidence grew tremendously, I discovered I had plenty of hidden talents (we did anything from horseriding, hiking, cycling, canoing, archery, wild camping, cooking for our friends, singing, dancing, acting, making things... you name it we did it.). It was AMAZING!!!!
I don't think they are so hot about camps in this country are they? come to think of it, I would find it really hard to separate from any of my kids for 4 weeks, especially when they are so young. Also I don't think I would have the heart to force DD, my dad probably felt really bad when he forced me, being highly sensitive himself, so it must have taken a lot of courage.
In fact I will ask him about it next time I see him, it might be quite enlightening!!

thekidscoach Wed 04-Nov-09 14:09:02

Hi there I work as a Life Coach for children and with your child I would start off by talking about what is happening and what he wants to happen. Get him to imagine the GOAL i.e he may imagine himself walking thorugh the playground and them being friendly to the boys - how does he get from where he is to his GOAL. Does that make sense?

Jamieandhismagictorch Wed 04-Nov-09 14:10:38

No, camp is not really a traditional thing here.

My DS1 went away fro the first time on his own last year (age 8) with Cubs, just for a couple of nights. He did not bat an eyelid about going,because he loves cubs so much, but I cried after the coach left.

Also, at my sons' school all the children go on a week-long trip to an outdoor centre when they are in year 5 (age 9/10).

Mezley Wed 04-Nov-09 18:54:05

Wow, you guys have given me lots of really good and useful PRACTICAL ideas to try out. I like the role play idea, and the GOAL. It is interesting to hear you talk about being highly sensitive yourselves as children, clearly traits we have passed on to our children. I personally feel that my ds is on the very edge of the Autistic spectrum - nothing you could classify, but high functioning (very intelligent in some areas particularly maths, music, reading, art) but yet he falls down in lots of social situations. Thanks for all your suggestions.

With regards to girls joining cub packs, my friend's daughter is the only girl in a cub pack. She is accepted and enjoys the challenges far more than she did in Brownies which was too girly for her tomboy nature.

Jamieandhismagictorch Wed 04-Nov-09 19:21:36

Mezley That has occurred to me about my son too.

He was very tantrummy as a toddler, has had some problems understanding sarcastic-type humour, is not "cool" ie not able to hide his feelings very well, is very sensitive to noise such as balloons and fireworks, is fussy eater (much better now but almost food-phobic when younger).

All these things are improving

CarGirl Wed 04-Nov-09 19:29:54

Have you all read "the unwritten rules of friendship" it is often recommended for children who struggle with social clues.

Jamieandhismagictorch Wed 04-Nov-09 19:31:59

CarGirl Another one to add to my list. Thanks smile

katiek123 Wed 04-Nov-09 21:46:25

My 8 yr-old DD is highly sensitive (i must read that book - have been meaning to for at least a couple of years!) and cannot cope with even mild teasing, or indeed with being told off - again, even mildly. she either collapses into a miserable heap or flies into a raging tantrum hmm
...however is slowly improving with age, things were an awful lot more difficult a couple of years back. thanks for the suggestion!

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