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bullying is happening *outside* of school - any advice??

(3 Posts)
spiker Fri 30-Sep-11 01:04:23

New kid moved into the street 3-4 weeks ago. There's a few boys round here and they often play outside together. It's difficult to describe the physical setup, but suffice to say it's a safe little area, basically open garden with private road, kids know the rules and keep to them, and parents do keep an eye out - but it is round the corner from our house so out of my sight.

Anyhow, New Kid is trying to exclude DS1 from the other boys and it has started to get physical. I didn't even know this boy existed until DS1 (who's been behaving oddly for last few weeks, getting very angry about nothing, lots of stamping and slammed doors) burst into tears tonight. He also says the terrible grazes and cuts he came home with 2 nights ago were due to NK pushing him off a wall. DS2 backed him up in all this (and he wouldn't if DS1 was making it up or exaggerating). The other lads are not taking part but are not standing up to NK either (and I wouldn't expect 6/7/8 year olds to either really). DS1 says NK has a big brother who sometimes tries to intervene "but it doesn't work".

This kid is the same age (Y3) and goes to same school as DS1, but thankfully is not in the same class, and DS1 says there's no trouble at school ("yet" I mentally added when he told me that).

I've had a trawl through old threads but couldn't find any advice about dealing with bullying happening purely outside of school - can anybody help me? I'd really like to nip this in the bud. Ideal would be to equip DS1 to stand up to him but is that even a reasonable expectation?

I've thought of:

-speaking to the other parents (have they noticed anything? could they speak to their DSs? might turn into a bit of backup for DS1)
-getting some books from library to read with DS1 (to help us both work out a plan and to talk about it generally)
-mentioning it to school at parents' eve (am hoping DS1's teacher might have some ideas, also she might have spotted some behavioral changes)
-rehearsing DS1 in a few lines to combat the exclusion, e.g. "I can play with who I like, it's not your business", "It's up to 'Johnny' if I can ride his bike, it's not your decision". Also DS2 will absolutely stand by DS1 and I can rehearse him a bit too.
-generally reassuring DS1 that if he's being targeted repeatedly by this boy then this is bullying and it's not OK, and it's not 'telling' to talk to grown-ups about it.
-supervising the play outside (maybe this will make things worse though? and I can't always be there, doesn't feel like really dealing with it, but maybe the odd appearance to make it obvious that DS1 has parents who give a damn)

What the hell do I do if he comes home with cuts and bruises again and says it was NK? I know which house NK lives in but have no idea what parents are like - how on earth can I go round to a stranger's house and start accusing their son??

Any advice or links gratefully received.

AKMD Fri 30-Sep-11 13:57:18

It sounds like the other boy comes from a basically decent home if his older brother is stepping in to tell him he's in the wrong. It also sounds like you live in quite a close-knit street with lots of kids.

I'd use both of those factors to your advantage. The other child is possibly a bit messed up from the move so I would give it a week and if anything else happens, go and have a chat with his parents so that they are aware of what's going on and can take action. Follow that up a week later with an invitation to a Halloween party, including all the kids under 10 on your road, with trick-or-treating only on your road. I'm not generally a fan of trick-or-treat but in a road like yours where everyone knows the children and their parents it would be fun and harmless. Throw a fantastic party, thereby giving your DS's social status and confidence a boost and helping the other boy out by inviting him to be part of your road's little community.

Your other ideas (coaching your DS's on what to say and generally reassuring your DS) are good for teaching assertiveness. I wouldn't personally start supervising but maybe bake a batch of fairy cakes to take out mid-play session so that you gain visibility without making your DS the odd one out for the wrong reasons. I would also hold off involving the school for now as it might be better to let this boy make a fresh start.

spiker Sun 09-Oct-11 22:27:27

thanks for posting AKMD. Weather has put an end to a lot of outdoor play at present, so it has all died down at present. when they start up again I think i will try appearing with fairy cakes/similar. will have a think about the trick/treating - not a fan of it as an activity, and DH quite opposed - party is a definite no-no.

DS1 seems a bit down on himself generally at present, I sense there's something else bothering him, so am going to ask school just about that at parents' evening.

thanks again.

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