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DS will always be a target, how do we cope? (long and depressing)

(82 Posts)
MrsSnape Thu 10-Jul-08 21:56:58

My DS (now 9) has always been different to other kids his age and as a result has been bullied and left out since nursery. He has dyspraxia which means he cannot run very well, walks a bit odd (or "camp" as the kids put it), he has a strange habbit of talking in a posh accent (no idea why, even he doesn't realise he's doing it) and his only interests are karate and to a higher degree, computer progamming.

I just don't know what to do anymore to help him. All the way through year 1, 2 and 3 he was bullied, called names, hit and laughed at. I kicked up a fuss everytime and the teachers told me they couldn't "make" kids be friends with him. They did put him in friendship groups and everything but he's very stubborn, he won't pretend to like stuff (i.e. football) just to fit in, he won't even compromise or simply tolerate it. As far as he's concerned, he'd rather be on his own than do stuff he doesn't like (good in one way I know, makes him hugely unpopular though).

Anyway year 4 seemed to be going ok, no reports of bullying, I managed to talk him into playing football with the lads (something I now regret but he did manage to make himself a bit more popular because of it) and he seemed to be enjoying school. I thought "finally, maybe he's going to be ok after all". Anyway today he's been off school ill and has admitted that not much has changed. The kids in the year below him constantly kick him and try and knock him down (trying to prove that his karate is crap), one boy (the popular one) keeps calling him fat (he isn't fat or even slightly overweight, there is nothing on him), calls him "smelly teeth" and they're all saying he's gay etc. He said he didn't tell me because he didn't want me "Going on" about it.

Its not just the year below him either, the other kids in his class laugh at him constantly but won't tell him why (I'm guessing its either the way he walks or the way he talks), the kids in the older years are horrible to him too. He said he does have a few friends (and I know this is true because he was around at a boys house last week for tea) but as soon as the name calling starts, they usually join in or laugh along, I assume to make sure they're not targetted next.

People tell me to move him to a different school but its not just school, when I let him play out on the street once it ended up where he was laughed at, called gay, chased and knocked off his bike by the local kids. If I take him to the park the other kids take the piss or he says something to make himself a target (like once he said to one boy "climbing UP the slide really isn't acceptable, its called a slide because you slide down it, not up it" and the kid simply laughed and told him to shut his face).

I know deep down he will always be a target, the only place he is accepted is karate and thats only because its full of teenagers and they find him funny (in a good way) and its cool to be different when you're a teenager, also the girls think he's adorable because he's sensitive, cares about world issues and doesn't try to be macho. I think things will get worse for him at secondary school though.

Has anyone else had a child who was always "a target" and how did it turn out? I hope he creates a computer program that sells for millions so he can laugh in their faces when he see's them in the future angry

StressTeddy Thu 10-Jul-08 21:59:32

Oh MrsSnape this has made me cry

I am so sorry for you all. I have no words of advice I just couldn't let this go unanswered
Love to you
>>>>hug for you and ds<<<<

edam Thu 10-Jul-08 22:00:54

Oh MrsS, that sounds heart-rending. (But your last line reminds me of Bill Gates so here's hoping...)

Have you had a look round the Kidscape website? They are excellent on bullying and might have some ideas for you.

thisisyesterday Thu 10-Jul-08 22:02:02

oh poor him

you know, I really would think about changing schools.
sometimes, you can become set in your ways, and it'd very, very hard to change, even when you know it'd benefit you (and I talk as someone who was bullied her entire way through secondary school)

the move to a new school could be just the thing he needs to give him a boost, to let him make a fresh start.
where he is right now he knows that probably no matter what he does they will tease him.
why not give him the opportunity to start anew? with a fresh set of kids?

RubyRioja Thu 10-Jul-08 22:02:56

SOunds tough.

As DS fares well at Karate, can he do more similar activities out of school? To change proportions of accepted/rejected. What about stage school type thing through summer hols?

If he is techy - would DS or wii give him some common ground with lads?

FWIW my nephew stuggled with primary y3-5 but has found his feet in y6 - has learned to make friends and has a girlfriend too!

KerryMum Thu 10-Jul-08 22:06:17

You need only tell him that when he leaves school the cool kids aren't cool anymore. It is the kids like him, the ones that are quirky and different who go on to be cool.

Fact.

becaroo Thu 10-Jul-08 22:07:31

Oh, he sounds so lovely Mrs Snape....you must be proud.

Like you say, when he is a teenager, the very things they are mocking him for will make him stand out in a good way and people will want to be his friend.

Does he want to move school?

MrsSnape Thu 10-Jul-08 22:08:15

I'm still torn on the issue of changing schools but that is a whole other thread, the two secondary schools in our area are the worst in Hull and if he goes to them he WILL be bullied, no doubt about it. Some kids kicked a football into our garden earlier and knocked on the door to ask for it back. I tried to stop DS from going to the door (as he's very matter of fact and would tell them straight that they were pissing him off kicking stuff in the garden!) but he got there first, opened the door and said "maybe it would be a good idea if you didn't kick the ball in the garden in the first place? then you wouldn't lose it?" the kids burst out laughing...they are all going to the local secondary and they already dislike DS so there is no way I can send him there.

He makes friends online no problem, he is currently learning 3D moddeling, graphic design and forum scripting with some American kid...he is REALLY at home with the "nerds" (he proudly calls himself "mummy's little geek"!) but its still hard to watch him walk upto the boys in the playground and see them either push him away or burst out laughing sad

avenanap Thu 10-Jul-08 22:09:26

Hi Mrs Snape.
ds used to be a bit of a target. He's mega bright and used to tell other children off for things, which didn't go down very well. One of my first posts on mn was about him and his ability to piss people off. A lovely person recommended a book to me and it has changed him in a way that I am so thankful for. The books called the unwritten rules of friendship. I have recommended it so many times on here. It has chapters about the different types of child, the bully, the victim, the odd ball etc, all describe the child, then provide strategies to help them by first encouraging them to see how others see their behaviour. I would try the book and then think about what sort of school would be best for him in the long run. Children like these are a wonderful gift, full of so much hope and joy but others don't see this. It can be a hard place if they are not prepared to try to fit in, if they do try then they loose a bit of their spark so it can be a tough compromise. I would look for another school that will support him, no matter what. A school that has other children like him so that he finds a sense of belonging.

ds isn't a target any more. He left his school last week to take up a place at another school (where they are more tolerant) and he leaves so many friends. I will always be thankful to the mnetter that told me about the book. Give it a go.

Julie.

hunkermunker Thu 10-Jul-08 22:09:30

He sounds utterly lovely, MrsSnape - I adore eccentric boys. Very glad he has karate - and there's no reason to believe that he wouldn't find some girls who think he's adorable at secondary school, is there? Do any of the teenagers at karate go to the secondary school he'll be going to?

Pollyanna Thu 10-Jul-08 22:09:33

he sounds just like my ds (also 9, also dyspraxic). I feel so sad about my ds - he is also targetted, called "dork"or whatever, mocked and provoked deliberately by the other children to do something odd. He doesn't seem to realise he is odd, and seems either puzzled or oblivious to the treatment. He also won't join in when he doesn't wamt to, when it would make his life easier.

I don't have a happy ending I'm afraid - we are at the same stage as you. I sort of think he will be ok at university where he will meet other off the wall types grin. I really worry about his future.

my ds has recently got into warhammer and met some similar types smile

MrsSnape Thu 10-Jul-08 22:10:05

and yes, he does want to move school. Thing is he starts year 5 in september, isn't it too late to be moving him schools?

thisisyesterday Thu 10-Jul-08 22:10:26

god mrssnape, that would absolutely kill me

I don't suppose there is any way you could send him privately? or to a school anywhere else? (thinking secondary here)

bullying is horrible. it has affected most of my adult life. it isn't something he'll get over once he leaves.
I would be doing absolutely everything in my power to make sure he gets into the best school for him

frogs Thu 10-Jul-08 22:11:06

Oh Mrs Snape, so sorry to hear this. If you're ever passing through London, SSB and I have non-bullying, non-football playing 9yo boys who would be more than happy to meet up and hang out with him.

There will be like-minded souls are out there, but I think school is a tricky place to be a small boy who doesn't choose to conform.

RubyRioja Thu 10-Jul-08 22:11:31

Never too late if he is unhappy imo

waffletrees Thu 10-Jul-08 22:11:40

I think you should change schools. I have no idea where you live but is there a public school that he could try for a scholarship for? He sounds bright and articulate.

My DS1(7) sounds similar. He refused to play football which does make him stand out. He talks posh and we live in a VERY mixed catchment area. However, he has his own circle of friends who are all abit similar.

Moreover, my dad and big brother where both the same. Not really into joining in but also could not give a shit what people think of them. My Big bro is now extremely well off, happily married with a daughter. Some of the tossers who took the piss out of him have never acheived anything with their lives.

He may never be the most popular boy but he will probably be the best paid. He will happy but you will have to accept his differences too.

thisisyesterday Thu 10-Jul-08 22:11:43

no, it isn't too late.
if he wants to move then do it. you need to show him that you are doing everything you can to make it easier for him.

I really, really resented my mother for a long time for keeping me at my school when she knew it was so awful for me.

NigellaTheOriginal Thu 10-Jul-08 22:11:43

i think he sounds brilliant. and it is a reletively short time until he will be the epitome of coolness. not much help right now i know.

Piffle Thu 10-Jul-08 22:12:59

oh my ds would befriend him online too
and help him
pls email me for his ctc details
kiwisbird@gmail.com
my ds1 is gifted and was badly bullied constantly and never fitted in.
we moved a long way to get him into a school which we thought could help. It sort of has.
sorry no time now but ds has been through and loves helping others who may need support
he is 14 now btw
very sad mrssnape I'm so sorry x x fx

frogs Thu 10-Jul-08 22:13:07

Re the moving schools: if you have the option, go for it.

Ds was mildly picked on by the 'cool' gang in his former school (nothing he couldn't handle bit he had some grumps and anger related to that which was a bit sad). It vanished like the morning dew when he moved schools in Y3 (not for that reason) and found two little soulmates.

PeachyBAHons Thu 10-Jul-08 22:15:11

posh accent hmmm, has he been screened for semantic pragmatic by salt? just one of many signs mind you, dont psnic!

I used to be the target- nerdy, glasses (complete with regulation plaster!) and parents who thought no haircuts and one utfit a year were enough.

and you know what? it turned me into a Strong person. The capital S was intentional!. Each and every taunt gave me what it hasaken to fight for my kids, achieve personaly, etc.

ds1 is as so will also be a target, its heartbreaking I now. But please have faith- us bullied teens can go on yto be tomorrows winners.

Kayran Thu 10-Jul-08 22:15:18

It's strange that so many people value unique and yet fail to realise unique begins with 'different'. Your son sounds adorable - just the sort of boy I want my DD to bring home. Someone who is true to himself despite the quite horrid consequences of being surrounded by cretins. If he is this strong at this tender age just think where that determination will take him as an adult.

I was different at school. I also spoke posh despite living in very rough area of Wales (posh english as well as dad was in the army and we had moved around and that was just the accent I acquired). The first day at new welsh school I went up to a big crowd of girls and said 'Good afternoon, my name is ... I am so pleased to meet you'. I got boshed within seconds blush

I never did find my place at school was called fat, smelly, ugly and then 'slag' as I got older when being fat, smelly and ugly was not considered enough of a condemnation (go figure..) but excelled academically. Later rather than sooner I found my way and now am really happy. I now foster because I know what it is like to feel an outsider and it is amazing how judgemental people are.

Just try and be there for him if he needs you and carry on being strong and feisty - he certainly is.

Heated Thu 10-Jul-08 22:15:37

You shouldn't have favourites but I teach a lot of boys like your dc and I love their individuality and quirkiness. And KM is right; about their mid to late teens they become cool. It's protecting them in the meantime and giving them the skills to negotiate their way.

Are their options regarding his secondary schooling?

MrsSnape Thu 10-Jul-08 22:15:49

avenanap, thanks for the book suggestion, I will try that.

I'm hoping to god I can get him into the same secondary as his cousins but its a long shot its out of the catchment and over-subscribed from people WITHIN the catchment and typically, most of the kids from karate go there sad

Pollyanna, DS also wants to try warhammer and world of warcraft or something, I suppose I should give in and get him it, I know his friend plays it ALL THE TIME!

I do think DS will do better at university too, I just hope they don't knock all the confidence out of him before then sad I get scared whenever I hear about a teen suicide. He's already into the emo, black hair, sulky expression thing.

He even begged me to let him wear black eye liner for school hmm I was like "do you LIKE being bullied??" lol (he laughed too, I didn't say it to be cruel).

frankiesbestfriend Thu 10-Jul-08 22:16:18

How heartbreaking.

I agree in a way that even if you move him to another school the probability he will become a target again is quite high, as he is not your usual 9 year old.

He sounds fantastic, and you must be very proud.

FWIW, the 'cool' boys from my high school are mainly unemployed, still live in the same small town, and spend their days getting pissed in the local where everyone knows their name.

The quirky, shy or 'uncool' kids are the ones that have really gone places and made something of themselves.

At least you won't have a teenager who hangs around outside off licences getting drunk and skiving from school.
That is a much worse prospect, surely?

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