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Do I need to teach my 5 year old to be more assertive?

(6 Posts)
alwayssleepy Wed 07-Jan-15 10:12:34

My 5 year old son is in Reception class. He is having some problems at lunchtime with being hurt by other boys in the second reception class (they all mix together at playtime).

His problems started at nursery with one particular child who would hurt him every day, this child seemed to have a very short temper and this resulted in my child getting hurt on many occasion, one time being punched hard enough in the stomach to leave a mark. The child was removed at each occasion and made to sit on a chair outside class. My child was encouraged to stay away from this child by his teacher, and to tell a teacher if anything happened. This got him through the year.

So now he is in reception and this child is has be moved to the other reception class, so they only mix at lunch and playtime. At playtime the child is still attacking him. He has also been hurt by other boys in the second reception class, and yesterday was slapped hard in the mouth after being punched in the stomach. He describes being 'bullied' as they have had some bullying chats at school already.

For a bit of background my child is kind and generally well liked by his teachers and friends at school. He is quite passive and sensitive, and gets very upset by any aggression he receives from the other children. He has at times been defended by his more assertive friends when someone has hit him. He doesn't hit back, and prefers to try and block the attack or run away. He enjoys playtime with his friends in general, they play the normal playground games of tig, hide and seek, and an invented game called 'mario cart'!. He plays with the boys and the girls, and is happy to horse around and play physically with the other children, it's the direct acts of hitting, slapping and punching he is obviously upset by.

The times when he has been attacked he describes the games they are playing being disrupted by someone who 'didn't want me to play', or that he 'lost my friends' and ended up isolated with the attacker.

When I ask my son about what he does, he says he tries to move out of the way, or run away. He describes the other child chasing him and pushing him over. He has come home with various injures already since September. In one particular incident he was attacked and two older children from the next playground picked him up and took him to a supervisor. I ask if the teachers do anything but he says they dont see. He is not keen to tell the teachers as they said he was 'telling tales'.

I feel my child is telling the truth, he is very factual about most things in life and not known for embellishing his stories or lying. He is a good communicator has told me he is worried about playtime sometimes.

Chats with his teacher have resulted in the them keeping more of an eye on the child he was having problems with at nursery during playtime. So incidents with this child have reduced. But he still manages to get hurt by other kids.

What can I teach my child to help him stand up for himself? He no longer feels he can tell a trusted adult, so I would like to help him handle the situation and show the other children that he wont just stand by and be hurt. But I don't want him to hit back?

Spoonme Wed 07-Jan-15 10:17:58

I have taught my little boy, aged 3 to look somebody in the eye if they do something he is uncomfortable with, and very firmly say, 'I don't like that. Please stop!' And repeat.

alwayssleepy Wed 07-Jan-15 10:32:53

Hi, he was quite good at that age with dealing with stuff, and also used to tell kids 'that wasn't very nice' quite loudly. As he has got older I feel I need to ramp up the advice somehow, or perhaps I just need to get that assertiveness back again.

crazykat Wed 07-Jan-15 10:51:17

I'd be speaking to the teacher again and telling them that if they can't keep your child safe then you'll be telling him to hit back.

I know it's far from ideal but there was a child in my dcs reception class that would regularly attack the others, hitting, punching, biting and on one occasion strangling my ds. It got to the point that every day my ds would be telling me that x had punched another child or the teacher. I spoke to the teacher and said that x's behaviour was getting ridiculous and if something wasn't done I'd be telling my ds to hit back. Thankfully it was resolved before I had to resort to that.

It's not ideal to tell your child to hit back but if the alternative is constantly being bullied then imo it's the only thing to do and him standing up for himself might make the others see that he won't just quietly take it but will hit back.

alwayssleepy Wed 07-Jan-15 11:19:04

crazycat - that is what another parent advised me to do, and she has worked at the school as a lunchtime supervisor.

She told me that there are two supervisors for 60 kids, and that they tend to stand around chatting most of the time. She said that if the kids do come to them to say what has happened then they tend to be branded as 'tattletales'. She has told her children to stand up for themselves and to hit back.

This also fits in with what my son has said about playtime, they are mostly left to it. So this is why I feel I need to arm my child with some tactics, but I was hoping to avoid telling him to hit them back.

crazykat Sun 11-Jan-15 20:55:09

I don't like telling them to hit back either as there's the chance that they could be seen by a teacher/supervisor and labelled as the instigator/bully.

If you make it known to the teacher that your ds is being bullied at playtime then there should be a record to show that your ds is only standing up for himself.

I've always told my dcs that if someone hurts them on purpose then they should tell the teacher straight away and if the same child does it again to hit back.

I don't normally advocate violence but if the alternative is my dcs being hurt daily then it's the lesser of two evils.

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