ok, so do we start using the "Bullying"
word for this situation and if so what do I do about it?
It's a year 2 boys problem.
There's child A - devilishly handsome, football crazy but very insecure and shy inside. He's decided that everything is either "cool" or "babyish" and that he needs to lay down rules on which is which.
There's my child, child B, who's only in child A's gang because his best friend is.
And there's child C, lovely boy from an adult perspective, but some very immature social skills, tends to "blow it" by giving unwanted hugs, poor sense of personal boundaries, mum has worked hard to help him overcome this.
My child B is caught between his desire to include his friend Child C and his fear of being excluded from child A's gang (and hence losing best friend). It's a pain and it means playtime isn't fun, but worse things happen at sea, all a good learning curve (it's teaching him that sucking up to child A won't work) and he'll get through it.
But here's what child B tells me about child A's treatment of Child C.
- Child A calls child C "fatso"
- Child A "hates" Child C
- Child A says that anyone who plays with Child C is babyish and therefore can't play with child A
- Child B sometimes runs away from child C for fear of Child A
I have not told my friend Child C's mother any of this. However, she is aware of Child C's immaturies, concerned about his loneliness on the playground, and has had reports from child C such as "Child A's group made me eat grass". She finds it very painful (as you would).
At parents' evening, I said to the teachers that "the playground doesn't seem as benign environment as it used to be, DS1 feels under pressure to reject another child he would like to include for fear of losing friendship with a more mature child - could you talk to the boys about what is "cool" (letting others join in) and what is not (ie name calling)."
It will not escape your notice that Child B and I have our own agenda - we wish Child A would vanish in a puff of green smoke! We want to play peacefully with best friend and also child C and also Child A (but not at any cost). So we are not objective.
Do I - (a) stay out of it and just keep listening to what my own son tells me and helping him to work out how to protect his own position?
- (b) pass on the reports to child C's mother so she can decide whether to raise it with school. She has raised various concerns with them before and they seem to have her down as a neurotic mother so I'm not sure how much they listen to her.
- (c) mention it to the teachers more directly than I have done already?
Please help. This is a real dilemma and I know that I'm not objective.
or (d) both you and child c's mum go to teachers together and as a united front it might make they do more to help A, B and C.
Otherwise I'd go for c.
Hi. What you are describing is the scenario in my DS's class. I'm afraid my DS plays the child C role - even down to the inappropriate (although not malicious) physical contact. I would be hugely grateful if someone passed on that sort of information to me. I too have been written off as the problem parent with the problem child because I have suggested that things aren't a bed of roses in the playground. It is my feeling that the school may take a bit more notice if reports of bullying (persistent name calling and exclusion IS bullying)were coming from 2 children rather than the 1 child. If I were you, I would tell mother of child C and offer to corroborate with the teacher if necessary. She is lucky to have a mum like you in the class!
I would talk to your friend, kindly but honestly, and keep pressing the school - what was the teacher's reaction? Did she promise to do anything?
Also worth contacting Kidscape who know everything about bullying and how schools should be handling it.
This is going to be dreadful.
Child A's mother is lovely.
Are you all unanimous that I can't ignore it?
The reason I believe my child is that he doesn't know my agenda - he is only telling me the Child A/Child C stuff as an aside in describing his own problems. In so far as he describes his own relationship with Child A, I'm sure it's a very one-sided account!
Well, you could ignore it, but given you know about it you kind of have a responsibility to do something. Esp. as child C's mother is a friend.
Plus if you tackle this now, it might wake the school up so if your own ds is ever unlucky enough to be a target, it's sorted out PDQ.
I think I'll have a word with the teachers without speaking to either mother first and without telling my own child.
I'll just pass on my child's reports and the context in which they were given and be done with it.
DH suggests that I say "DS1 has been discussing some social difficulties to me and in the course of this he has, as an aside, mentioned several things about the treatment of Child C that I felt I should pass on to you." Then pass on the bullet points and leave it at that.
Sounds fair enough - hope teachers tackle this one, sounds miserable for C but also for everyone else.
<manly pat on the back>
You will be doing a good thing, you know. Give yourself a Brownie point!
hold on to that brownie point and then you can pin on my badge on Monday when I've done the deed.
Please put those comments in writing otherwise if the school doesn't want to deal with the issue they will just brush it aside.
Cargirl - funnily enough, I'm much better in writing than I am face to face, so how about if I send this to Child C's teacher?
"Dear Miss X
DS1 has, in the course of describing some problems within his own friendship group to me, told me some things about the treatment of a child in your class, Child C, which have caused me concern for Child C's welfare.
1. DS1 reports that, whilst he would like to include Child C in his friendship group, this is impossible as Child A "hates" Child C and calls him "Fatso".
2. DS1 reports that he, DS1, sometimes "runs away from Child C" even though he would like to play with him because "Child A says that anyone who plays with Child C is babyish".
DS1 appears to fear that Child A will encourage others to "run away from" him also if he dares to play with Child C.
My conversations with DS1 have centred not on Child C but on Ds1's own tricky relationship with Child A, and DS1 has described Child C's treatment only in the course of explaining to me why he cannot simply "go and play with Child C instead" as I have suggested. It appears that associating with Child C requires some bravery.
I have not told DS1 that I am contacting you about this issue, and have tried not to show him my concerns about the treatment of Child C. To be clear, I do not see the tricky relationship between DS1 and Child A as itself requiring intervention and have no doubt that there is another side to the story here - rather, it is the treatment of Child C that I felt should be brought to your attention.
sounds good to me, perhaps you could also add something about "how is the school going to address these ongoing friendship issues, is it going to be through circle time, SEAL or some other means?"
Basically you need to get them to respond to you in writing because then if they don't do "something" then you have evidence that they agree they should be IYSWIM.
This Year 2 Alpha boy concept seems to be quite common on MN at the moment, see my thread about a charismatic (and indeed very goodlooking) boy dominating the social structure in year 2 to the detriment of my son. *"ds close to tears at bedtime over lack of playmates"*
I have nothing against the boy he seems lovely and his mum seems lovely/fun/intelligent/caring too. It's just that all the other boys look up to him and he therefore by default indicates who is cool and who isn't, but I'm guessing that at 7 he doesn't have a clue as to the potentially damaging social and emotional effect of doing so on the school life of the less cool children in his class at breaktimes. His mum will have no worries as he has plenty of playmates etc etc and he's not being outright mean to other children as far as I can gather because he is at heart a nice boy, with lovely parents.
I'm worried that having acquired such power at an early age is as bad/stunting for his social and emotional development as it is for the "uncool" kids who are just looking to be included without judgements passed on their suitability.
I did it - I spoke to Child C's teacher today. She was appreciative and is going to speak to everyone on the ChildA/Child B friendship group about treatment of Child C.
So far I have had the strength not to mention it to Child C's mum which I know would be a bad idea as she is great but indiscreet.
<tries to stay strong>
Well done, as the parent of a DD who has been excluded/bullied at school I applaud anyone who attempts to put a stop to the self esteem eroding behaviour.
Good for you.
I so hope it improves the quality of school life for child C.
Hopefully you'll get some casual, "what happened today" kind of feedback from your son about the chat.
A little word of caution about you hopes though.... many parents feel that general chats with groups of children actually achieve very little. It was certainly the case for us in year 1.
IMHO, culprits need to be told, in a private one-to-one chat, that their particular behaviour is noticed by the grown-ups and it is unacceptable.
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