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DS, aged 9(10 Posts)
I'm posting here because it relates to my son and his relationships at school. I'll give some background which may or may not be relevant. Part of me worries that the background is making me make too big a deal of this than it really is.
DS was badly bullied in his last school. Proper, sustained, awful physically and emotionally. School were terrible and I withdrew him over an incident which became the last straw.
We transferred in year 3 and he hasn't really forged any close friendships. I had a word with his class teacher at the beginning of yr 4 to see if he could help a bit with this. He has a few buddies from his old school that we out of school and with them his is happy, outdoing, laughs etc.
A few months ago he told me a boy in his class was pushing him around at school. I spoke to his teacher who was marvellous. The boy admitted it, apologised and the teacher reinforced the need for my son to tell him if it happened.
I was at a party for my younger son yesterday and a girl from my older son's class told me that some of the boys were mean to my son. I asked him about it and he told me that they push him around and call him by a nickname derived from his full name. It turns out all the juniors call him this: think the name of a well known doll (like Sindy, the other one).
He says he feels worse than he did at his old school.
Some other background - I'm a lone parent and his father has just sustained some pretty nasty injuries and is in hospital. He also has a new family. Prior to the incident he saw his father sporadically at best.
Both boys seem to be coping well, although the older one is prone to anger outbursts. Lots of "it's not fair" which doesn't seem out of the realms of ordinary.
So. I am worried about this lates bout of problems at school. I worry that he is becoming a victim. When he was younger he was one of those kids that everyone followed around. Now he doesn't seem to fit in. On the beach last week (we met with a few other families) he went off by himself quite a bit, although again that might not be telling because he was mucking about in the sea and the others had already been in.
I don't know. I see a bit of arrogance in him. He's always been one to plough his own path and loves the company of older kids.
I've typed this and now I don't know what in asking. Am I too worried about the name calling given his past history of being bullied? We've had a chat about nicknames and he is adamant he wants to be known by his given name.
Oh, and it may not be relevant but he's the tallest in the class. He looks much older than the others and has filled out. I've met year 6s who look younger than him. He's had a tough start in life (alcoholic dad) and is bit of an old head on young shoulders.
He's great company. I love spending time with him. I just wish I knew how to help if, if indeed I need to.
Wow, that was long. Any ideas?
Human nature can be so nasty and it isn't helped when there's strength in numbers and one child is ganged up against.
It sounds like his current teacher takes bullying very seriously, so I think you need to get as much information as possible and speak to his teacher again.
They take bullying very seriously in my DS's school and it's surprising what effect a couple of days without playtime makes to young children. They also hate to being found out.
All you can really do is keep communications open with your DS and monitor the situation. If it carries on, you go back to the school and take it to a higher level if necessary. He won't be the first and he won't be the last, and it is up to the school to take care of its pupils.
Thank you Keepcalm. His teacher is indeed very good and the school has signed up to the UN rights of the child convention and are very strong on this sort of thing.
I suppose I don't know if I am over reacting because of what happened before, where the school was spectacularly bad.
I feel so sad for my poor boy.
So, DS refused to go to school today. I had a quick word with his teacher who promised to deal with things today. Juggled my diary around so I could work from home. DS is coincidentally not feeling well but I'm sure it's related to all this stuff at school.
Not really got any advice I'm afraid, but I too have a 9 year old dc who doesn't quite "fit in" and whereas she isn't bullied, she is being segregated for being different, which I suppose you could argue is a form of bullying. Her teachers talk the talk, but nothing seems to be happening. Of course, you can't force or manufacture friendships, but I'm terrified that she'll never really learn how to make and keep a friendship. Feel a bit as though we're on a time limit iyswim.
We have wondered whether dd has mild asd because socially, she really does stand out and struggles. She can't seem to do the chit chat with dcs her age, but she gets on with very young, or much older dcs. I can chat with her fine, although her behaviour can still be challenging. Is asd something you've considered? I only ask because you mentioned problems with social skills.
I dont know about school but one thing we did insist on with all three of our DCs was to find some sort of interest outside of school. We went through quite a few until each DC found their out of school interest:
- St John Ambulance Brigade
- County music/performing arts school (in our area this was a Saturday morning session which allowed participants to learn different musical instruments and there was also a drama element)
- Army cadets
Different things interested different DCs at different ages but what all of these did was take the pressure off school relationships. Each club/society had its activity as the main focus so we found friendships were easier to make. Maybe not deep friendships but they did make friends.
Your poor little boy :0(. My DS is the same age as your DS and I really feel for you.
As Notthestereo says, I was wondering if he may be very slightly on the spectrum as from what you say he sounds quite intelligent, likes older children - ie. can keep up with their level, happy to play on his own (perhaps gets a bit bored with children his own age) etc.
I am absolutely no expert, but my friend's DS is, and throughout his school life (until they moved him to a 'geeky' school) he was a bit of a loner/left out of the gang and very much ridiculed because he wasn't very sporty (he's actually not bad, but any confidence he had was knocked out of him).
Has he got any close friends in his year group that are supportive and look out for him?
How interesting that you've picked up on ASD. I had wondered if he was on the spectrum in some way. Interesting.
Anyway, I spoke to the teacher and he has made some progress, as have I. It turns out that my son has been pushing back at the ringleader and they've both done things that aren't acceptable. DS has admitted this to me.
One of the boys has said that my DS called his mother dumb. He denies this, and I think I believe him because one of his quirks is that he is very bad at lying. But who knows.
Teacher wants to do the restorative approach where they all sit down together and I think this is a good plan but DS doesn't. I've told him he needs to trust the teacher because I do and he has done this with lots of other classes and it works. He has also spoken to the class about nicknames so that should improve too, hopefully.
He does lots of stuff outside school. He's ace at sports so does a lot of that. He does swimming, water polo and a gym class. He wants to start rowing but we have to wait until next year for that. He'd love to play footy but I'm struggling to find a team I can get him to (I work full time) as obviously this will help with friendships.
The other thing I have considered is the onset of puberty. He's a bit angry and explosive. He's also tall and has filled out and has very hairy legs (he's very blond) and it has crossed my mind that there's confusing hormones at play. He's never been in trouble at school so I am surprised he has pushed the other boy around as he is a stickler for rules.
That was bit of a brain dump!
Hi there, my DS is 10 so I have some idea of how emotionally difficult this can be... my DS has ADD and has moments of anger outbursts due to what I believe is severe anxiety. He just doesn't know how to deal with the anxiety or the anger so I've decided to take him to see a child psychologist - this is simply so that she can help to equip him with the necessary tools he needs to learn to manage these emotions better. Perhaps someone like this could help your DS better?
The other option is sending him to martial arts/judo etc... these are very disciplined sports and they are anti-violence. I do feel that besides the exercise they help equip children with confidence and discipline - he may even make some friends there?
Really hope it gets better for him soon!
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