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At what point does it become bullying?

(7 Posts)
Caligula Mon 07-Feb-05 10:21:26

I've got an appointment to see DS's (5.5) schoolteacher tomorrow. DS had 3 incidents last week with the same boy of being kicked, tripped, punched etc. - on Friday, he was punched in the stomach by this boy. He reported it once, but the other two times "forgot".

I don't know if it's a problem between himself and this boy in particular, or whether the other child has more general behavioural problems ("he punches everyone all the time because he's a norty boy") but I'm not quite sure how to approach the meeting with DS's teacher. Is it too soon to be having a meeting with her? Should I be even talking about bullying at this stage?

crunchie Mon 07-Feb-05 10:26:28

Personally I would simply act the concerned parent at the mo, without bandying around 'bullying'. However the teacher should be able to keep and eye on the relationship between the two boys, and either reassure you (or not) that this is an isolated incidence. If there have been previous incendents of this boy kicking other children, the teacher will be getting a picture of what he is like. Does your son have other close friends? As this is what I would concentrate on. Find out how your son relates to the rest of the class, and make sure he is happy overall.

I don't think it is too soon to be seeing the teacher, it needs to be nipped in the bud before it does become worse

zenia Mon 07-Feb-05 10:35:33

No way is it too soon, punching in the stomach can be extremelly dangerous, this should not be happening. Your ds is only 5, he cannot be expected to remember to tell someone everytime it happens, why has it not been noticed at school? Hope he is okay, let us know how you get on.

firestorm Mon 07-Feb-05 12:40:43

i agree with zenia. if it isnt stopped now where will it lead? in my book this is most certainly bullying & has to be stopped asap.
good luck at the meeting.

Caligula Mon 07-Feb-05 13:54:56

Glad you don't think I'm over-reacting.

I'd hesitate to call it bullying at this stage, but otoh, I only know what DS has told me about last week, and there could have been other incidents he hasn't mentioned.

I also thought I'd do the needing to be nipped in the bud angle. Problem is, it doesn't sound "personal" iyswim - I think this other little boy just punches everyone pretty indiscriminately, from the sounds of it.

Mum2girls Mon 07-Feb-05 13:57:03

Caligula, even if it's not personal, you still have every right to be concerned - I would be too. Good luck

Freckle Mon 07-Feb-05 16:15:22

Bullying is very hard to define. After all, one person's bullying might be another's natural rough and tumble of school life. Generally though it covers :

Physical. Pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching and other forms of violence or threats.
Verbal. Name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumors, persistent teasing.
Emotional. Excluding (sending to Coventry), tormenting, ridicule, humiliation.
Racist. Racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.
Sexual. Unwanted physical contact or abusive comments.
Homophobic. Any hostile or offensive action against lesbians, gay males or bisexuals or those perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.


I think the point at which it becomes bullying though depends on how it affects the target. Some children just manage to shrug off name-calling, pushing and shoving, etc., but others find it intimidating and frightening.

You need to judge really how your child feels about all this. Some children will find your intervention embarrassing, if the incidents are minor or part of the general relationship between the two involved. For instance, kicking and punching might be as a result of the "victim" shoving the "bully" or calling them names.

If the behaviour appears to be taking on a pattern which looks as though it might set the form for their future relationship, or escalate into something more, then you do need to nip it in the bud. I do think, though, that sometimes jumping in with accusations of bullying can make a mountain out of a molehill - and this is someone who has had to deal with her son being badly bullied recently, so I am not in any way trivialising or dismissing what is happening.

Perhaps just a gentle word with your child's teacher to alert her to what is happening will be enough to focus attention on the relationship.

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