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Boosting self esteem post bullying

(16 Posts)
ksld Fri 24-May-13 13:03:42

It has become apparent that DS1 in Year 4 has been bullied pretty constantly probably for quite some time. I feel stupid for not realising sooner, but DS has not spoken about it. He has never been popular or invited round to parties/playdates, but always seemed happy on the periphery of the core group of boys in class.

This term he has mentioned a few comments from one of the boys which I felt were not appropriate (eg the boy told DS he was not allowed to go to an after school event which was open to all). So I went in and talked to the teacher - she spoke to both boys and said would keep an eye. Since then I have talked to her 3 or 4 times about on-going problems, and DS has been in trouble for fighting this boy (after he was unkind to DS). Each time I get the usual 'will keep an eye on him' etc but nothing concrete.

This week the boy has been caught, along with someone I thought DS could count as a friend, actively bullying DS. School called me in to tell me, have praised DS for having courage to tell them, and say parents of other boys have been spoken to. Not sure what else they are/should be doing. My observation from yesterday and this morning before and after school is that the upshot of this is the boys have probably been told to leave DS alone (by school/parents/both??) and as a result DS is now left out of the group as the 2 boys are v confident leaders of the group of 'friends' DS has felt he has. So by reporting the bullying DS has, in his view, made the situation worse as better to have a group of people to play with, with the occasional unkind remark, than be left out completely.

Watching him today I could see he had no idea how to approach this group of boys. I think his confidence has taken such a knock he doesn't expect anyone to want him there, and doesn't know how to push himself back into the group. So what can I do to help him? Even if I could sort out logistics and finance to move schools how do I make sure he doesn't end up in the same position in the next school? He is very down on himself about everything and doubts himself and his abilities.

Periwinkle007 Fri 24-May-13 13:28:31

oh poor lad. Would you be able to invite one of the other (nicer) boys in the group to meet up over half term? If he could make a proper friendship with one or two of the nice boys outside of school time then this will quite probably translate into them not bothering with the bigger group and the nasty boys during school time.

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 13:48:41

I am a huge fan of moving schools, a fresh start can work miracles.

If you want to try staying where you are, the school could try to help him with friendship games. They called DS and a few nominated boys in to the school play room and they just played short games together, just over a few lunch times over a few weeks, it was almost that simple. It has done a lot to help DS build links with the others again.

Don't suggest moving schools until you are sure you are confident to make that link, you don't want to get his hopes up only to find you can't work the logistics.

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 13:49:39

ps: the other thing can be a social or sport club, but NOT with the current sent of boys who he has damaged relations with. Something like Cubs, and again, all new peer group is optimal. Just to show himself he can make friends and be just another one of the lads.

simpson Fri 24-May-13 13:53:06

Are there any other kids in his year group that he gets on with and so he can avoid the bullies?

I would encourage after school clubs/activities like cubs.

My DS was bullied badly at the start of yr2, he is now coming to the end of yr3 and it still affects his confidence sad

GooseyLoosey Fri 24-May-13 13:54:01

I too am a fan of moving schools - moved ds in Yr 4 after years of low level sustained bullying. Have to say it has been amazing. Bullying him had become a habit and I think whatever I did with that group of boys it would not have made a difference. We did try everything over a number of years and to be honest, nothing ever really changed.

Can't say that everything is now perfect but it is so, so much better. His new (independent) school are engaged with preventing any problems arising and do more than just say they will keep an eye on things.

VonHerrBurton Fri 24-May-13 13:54:34

I do also think Y4 is a year where hormones start to kick in and this sort of stuff that maybe wasn't a problem suddenly starts to rear its head.

Does he do any after school activities? With any other, nicer, kids you could ask round or do something with over the half term? A complete break for him, change of scene may be good. Even neighbours' dc - suggest swimming or something. You'd be amazed how quickly his self esteem improves away from the same old alpha male types.

greenformica Sat 25-May-13 18:55:40

Can you invite the boys he likes home for play dates regularly? Build up firm friendships?

Try various routes but at the end of the day, do consider moving schools if he is still unhappy.

Schmedz Sat 25-May-13 20:36:15

GooseyLoosey the Sam etching happened to my DD and it was at the end of Y 4 we finally moved her to another school.

Wish we had done it sooner! The difference in self confidence and self esteem was remarkable.

Sadly the negative patterns of interaction and perceptions of other children were irreversible at the old school.

If changing is not an option, then go with the clubs and activities out of school to help with self esteem and deliberately foster play dates (horrible word...but you know what I mean) with a range of friendlier children in the year group.

Good luck. Being bullied is a horrible experience and sadly there is little teachers can do about the low level/underlying stuff that goes on. Circle times about positive inclusion etc... can only do so much!

Schmedz Sat 25-May-13 20:36:34

I mean...the same thing. Darn iPad!

learnandsay Sat 25-May-13 20:42:31

If I ever find out that my daughter has been bullied an the school are crap about it I'll put a micro-camera on her.

learnandsay Sat 25-May-13 20:47:35

I know a lot of children are below the age of criminal responsibility, but even so, in certain cases I'd make it widely known that I was pressing charges even if I knew damn well they couldn't be levelled in fact. I'm sure the experience would have a sobering effect on some parents and teachers.

ksld Mon 27-May-13 20:30:11

Sorry coming back to this late. Have already suggested a change of school to DS without knowing how could possibly work (oops) and he is adamant he doesn't want to go anywhere else. I think he is terrified of the unknown and lots of others boys he doesn't know who will just be mean to him. He just seems to expect boys his age to treat him badly.

Those of you who moved their children did they not start the new school expecting to be picked on, and therefore get picked on? I see DS with boys his age and he just doesn't interact with them in a jokey casual way, he is more on the sidelines staring in waiting to be picked on or noticed in some way. Sorry am feeling very negative about it all tonight as DS is very miserable.

I am worried that no one will come on play dates and that will just make him feel worse. We have invited a few boys before and had lame excuses. DS reports that bully boy has told him he can't go to a party the whole class were invited too. Maybe he has told other children they can't come to play with DS? Or they just really don't like DS? Aaahh am just making it worse need to stop overthinking this.

Thanks for all advice.

iseenodust Tue 28-May-13 11:36:39

DS was persistently bullied in KS1 (I wouldn't have believed it in such young kids but saw the physical results). School was useless. DS started crying every morning before school which was just not him. We pursued it over a number of months to complaint to governors.

Then we moved him in year in Yr2 and never looked back. I don't think he automatically expected to be picked on at the new school. Neither DS or new school have ever reported a problem. DS has never cried about going to school since the swop not even on the first day.

I strongly believe having friends outside school (DC of friends of our family, at a couple of sports clubs) 'saved his sanity'. If your DS doesn't want to move school then I would agree get him into scouts, street dance, judo, cricket, kids theatre, anything with a new set of faces. Get him to choose at least one and agree he must give it at least 10 weeks.

GooseyLoosey Tue 28-May-13 15:38:44

When ds started his new school, we made it clear that the majority of the problems were with the other children not with him. There were however some behaviours which he needed to work on and we talked to him about how some people might perceive the way he acted and what he might do to change that perception. We also had a full and frank discussion with the new school and looked at what they could do to ensure that the patterns did not repeat themselves.

There was one incident at the new school and I was terrified it might all be starting again, but the school were on top of it straight away. There was no hoping it would get better or telling the boys to play nicely. The transgressors were told that if it happened again they would be suspended. Ds was delighted - he said that it was such a relief to know that if anything did go wrong, the school would support him.

The problem now is ensuring that his "self esteem" does not grow too much!

lljkk Wed 29-May-13 08:34:30

I was bullied until I left primary, I moved bullied DS to a different primary for start of y6.

Those of you who moved their children did they not start the new school expecting to be picked on, and therefore get picked on?

I don't remember about me, probably I expected to be bullied, didn't know any different. It didn't happen at all. I made new friends easily. DS did come home a few times crying & complaining that it was all starting again. And then it cleared up within a week or 2. I think school (had plenty of other failings but they knew his history, exactly why I had moved him) got on top of it, and that was that. It took 3 months for him to fully click in and then he was happy & had plenty of friends for following 18 months, when I moved him again and he's even happier at the current school (now y8). Sadly the legacy of bullying never leaves you, though, I know DS is scarred.

I am worried that no one will come on play dates and that will just make him feel worse.

It's such a pain when they won't let you invite anyone. DS2 is paranoid about befriending anyone with a low social status. That's what happens when you get near the bottom, you worry about not slipping down any further.

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