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Spiteful "friend" - DS1 Yr 8

(16 Posts)
ibbydibby Fri 18-Sep-09 16:01:23

Am struggling to work out what to do to help DS1 deal with bullying "friend".

Background: moved to small village when DS1 halfway through Yr6. He is shy and struggles to make friends, and so found the change really difficult. However made one v good friend - Fred (not his real name). They are v similar -small build, shy, lacking in confidence etc.

One day in Yr 7 DS1 came home v upset that Fred had slapped his head 3 times on the way home from school. I think he did it in "fun" but DS1 upset, and so I told him to tell him the next day that he was upset by this. He did so and nothing more seemed to happen. Fred then off school for long period of illness and so I wondered if being in pain could account for his uncharacteristic lashing out.

Fast forward to Yr8. DS1 v upset again yesterday that it had been happening again this week, either on way to, or from, school. Slapping head, punching side etc. Never sufficient to inflict great pain, but enough to be upsetting. Suggested that DS1 tell Fred that friends don't hit each other and also suggested that DS1 tell form teacher. (I'm afraid that at this point I may come across as not doing enough at this stage - but also feel that if DS1 could sort it himself, it would be good for his self esteem etc, rather than parents getting involved etc)

So DS1 told form teacher today - DS1 said it was as if form teacher did not believe it - ie slightly incredulous that mild-mannered Fred could do such a thing. He said he would have chat with them, called them outside class, said that the "silliness" on the way to school should stop and made them shake hands. Fred asked DS1 later what it was all about, so presumably not aware that form teacher referring to hitting incidents. DS1 did not talk to Fred on way home.

I'm struggling to work out what to do next - my instinct is to contact form teacher on Monday. Once I do this, I suspect Fred's parents will be contacted - should I contact them first? I do not think they will believe it. I am convinced that DS1 is telling the truth, because he told the teacher, and he is usually very reluctant to speak up for himself.

I think DS1 sees Fred as his only "friend"
and thinks if he gets him into trouble he will lose his "friendship". DH and I have been impressing on him that he (DS1) needs to get out and make new friends by joining lunch time clubs etc.

Any suggestions? Thanks..

inkyfingers Fri 18-Sep-09 20:49:14

Gosh - I'm sorry to hear all this. I hope someone with more experience will help here. I agree that the best way is to encourage new friends and may be better to sort without school getting involved too much. What about afterschool clubs to avoid having to deal with Fred on his way home. Is there any other boy who he could spend time with that he's knows from year 7? If so, try to get together with that child on a Saturday, try a social activity - come round to play or go bowling, swimming whatever. I've got a 13 year old boy and it's just about possible to organise this before they feel you're interfering/cramping their style. Ask to see the school's anti-bullying policy (may be on-line) and check that the form teacher is acting in line with it. Good luck.

risingstar Sat 19-Sep-09 08:47:51

how well do you know freds parents? if you know them reasonably well, i would be tempted to call them and give them a chance to speak to the child. you could point out at your concern at the fact that when this happened before, it was just before fred was ill. emphasise how upset your son is at this turn of events.

you never know, it maybe a good thing. it sounds as though your lovely boy has become dependent on this one friend. maybe him stopping being friends might just give him the shove he needs to find alternative company. its a difficult age though. have you tried bribery? join a club, go for a term, get a reward?

ibbydibby Sat 19-Sep-09 09:35:08

Thanks for your replies.

DS1 and I have agreed that if/when it happens again I will speak to Fred's parents. Luckily we do know them fairly well, and I am sure they will be horrified when they learn of the upset that Fred is causing. I really hope that I do not need to speak to them - they have had a stressful time with Fred being v ill in hospital (op went wrong). If I do have to speak to them, it is likely that Fred and DS1 will fall out completely - ultimately this may be a good thing. But in the short term it is possible that DS1 will end up with no-one. Once I talk to parents it will become a far bigger "issue".

I am trying to impress on DS1 that he needs to make other friendships, but I know he finds this difficult. We had a big talk about ways of getting to know other people, last night, and I hope he is going to try a few lunchtime clubs next week.

Risingstar, you are right - he has become very dependent on this friend. However he got off to a bad start when we moved - as I said in OP we moved in the middle of Yr6, and his first day was horrendous. The boy who was supposed to be looking after him abandonned him at lunchtime, and he spent an extremely miserable lunchtime wandering the playground looking for people to talk to. No-one would. I feel this is a feature of where we live - eg in the first 6 weeks of standing outside DS2's new classroom at hometime, not a single parent spoke to me.....Am beginning to feel very guilty for moving, and dragging DS1 out of his "safe" haven. I know he would dearly loved to have stayed our old place and gone to secondary school with all his primary school pals....

Inkyfingers, will look out for anti-bullying policy, thanks for this suggestion.

Sorry this has turned into a marathon!

Thanks again for reading, means a lot to me!

ibbydibby Fri 25-Sep-09 07:47:09

Just thought I would post an update on this...there is nothing to report, actually, other than the fact that nothing has happened this week, so far. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for suggestions.

ibbydibby Sun 27-Sep-09 12:03:34

Posted too soon. On Friday DS was talking to someone else, Fred butted in and asked what they were talking about. DS tried to explain but before he had finished doing so, Fred had slapped him on the back twice. Not hard enough to leave a mark, but I asked DS to do it to me with the same force, and it hurt. They travel to and from school on the bus, and soon after this they arrived at the bus-stop where DS gets off, so he was not able to say anything to Fred.

On a previous occasion when Fred has hit him, DS has asked why and Fred has said that it's because he is bored.

Writing it all out now it seems blindingly obvious that DS really does not need Fred to be his "friend", and I have suggested to him that he no longer sits with him on the bus. He has agreed to this, and also recognises that Fred is not a true friend. I suspect that DS has been clinging to the hope that things will change (as have I). I am really hoping that DS can sort this by avoidance, but also worried that he will find it difficult to make more friends - and Fred may get others to gang up against him.

Thanks for reading - just need to get this all off my chest! Is causing me sleepless nights.

cocolepew Sun 27-Sep-09 12:09:25

Poor Ds, my Dd has started High School and a 'friend' from Ps has started to pick on her again, and influence others to stay away from her. She has others to sit with and I'm encouraging her to try to stick with these friends at lunch etc. Your DS does need to move away from Fred, maybe then Fred will realise that he has lost a good friend. I'm sorry you're going through this, I've had a sore head all weekend I'm so cross about what this girl is doing to DD, though Dd isn't that bothered!

Good luck.

ibbydibby Sun 27-Sep-09 12:18:33

Thanks for your reply cocolepew, and sorry too that your DD is going through this. Good that she seems not bothered. With DS it seems, at the moment, that he comes home all upset by the situation, tells me, then goes off and does something quite happily, singing away.

Sorry about your sore head - I admit I have not thought of much else all weekend, either. I really want DS to feel "empowered" to be able to walk away from this situation himself, rather than for me to intervene. Which I will do if necessary.

cocolepew Sun 27-Sep-09 12:32:24

Thanks smile I hope this week is better for your DS.

cocolepew Mon 28-Sep-09 16:28:48

Hope it well for your DS today.

ibbydibby Tue 29-Sep-09 11:17:35

Hi Cocolepew!

Thanks for asking, have just read your post.

Well, DS went to off to school yesterday armed with a new strategy of not taking to Fred. Fred obviously in a hump about this. DS found some other boys to hang around with, and told some of them about the hitting - they went and challenged Fred about this. I didn't really want the situation turning into a taking sides issue, but felt pleased that DS had found others to "hang out" with.

Anyway his worry last night was with a certain lesson today, when he usually sits with Fred. At this point I felt it was all piling up (on me as well as him) and felt, if he is needing to work out "strategies" every day then it was becoming too much of a burden. So, called Fred's mum - v apologetic & shocked and she was due to speak to Fred last night. Also today have called schoool and left a message for form teacher asking him to call back.

In the mean time I am trying to impress on DS that Fred may want to "make up" - but it is up to DS if he wants that friendship or not, but he also needs to work on other friendships too. He seemed pleased with his efforts yesterday at being able to join others at lunchtime.

Thanks again for asking. How is DD?

cocolepew Tue 29-Sep-09 12:31:58

That's sounds good, it's nice when we see them trying to stand up for themselves. I'm not surprised Fred wants to make up. I think he shot himself in the foot, he didn't realise your DS might find someone else and he'd be left with nobody. DD not too bad, she sat with others yesterday, her other 'friends' were loudly saying "I don't want to sit with her" and I think they were a bit begunked when she walked straight past them to somebody else! She has the problem that one of them sits next to her in a few lessons but she said she would deal with it shock grin.

Hope the rest of the week goes well smile.

ibbydibby Tue 29-Sep-09 13:42:37

Am not a frequent MN poster (or haven't been so far) but am appreciating being able post about this. Thank you.

I think I may have missed the form teacher's phone call - I was in the kitchen, phone rang, I rushed into other room where my list of incidents was, picked up phone there, answerphone switched on - and caller hung up. Number withheld. Boo hoo.

ibbydibby Wed 30-Sep-09 09:27:13

Thought I would post an update: spoke to form teacher yesterday afternoon who was v concerned (and suprised) and agreed it needs to be nipped in the bud etc. He is going to talk to them both - although after the conversation I did wonder if he meant he would do this one-to-one with each, or both together. Assuming DS has done nothing to provoke this behaviour, I feel at the very least that Fred needs a stern talking to.

Shortly after the phone call DS arrived home. I was hoping that Fred may have attempted to speak to DS (admittedly tricky though as DS not speaking to him!), and offer an apology, since his parents now aware, and had presumably spoken to him. But the only exchange that DS reported was one where he heard Fred telling someone else he "hated" DS. Just makes me even sadder because I really can't stand use of the "hate" word against other people.

Is DD ok?

cocolepew Fri 02-Oct-09 20:31:40

Yes thanks,she was crying, it was worse than she let on, nipping etc. I spoke to her teacher on Wed, and she told DD today that on Monday she was to go and sit next to her friend on a different table. The other girl was spoken to, DD heard the teacher whisper to her that she wanted to see her at break. She was whispering today but DD just ignored her. She seems very happy. DD wears her heart on her sleeve so there aren't many secrets with her.

Hopefully Fred will leave your DS alone, he obviously had been spoken to if he was saying he hated him.

Hope you have a good week smile.

ibbydibby Fri 09-Oct-09 11:36:42

Hope DD has had a good week this week.

Well teacher spoke to both Fred and DS again at end of last week, again to silliness etc. So I am a bit miffed that they have (apparently) been treated as "equals" over this, as far as I can tell it is not the fault of DS.

So Fred and DS are speaking again, but DS does seem to have established a few more friends, which he really needed to do. Time will tell I suppose. I am still v nervous on his behalf! (though have not let on to DS)

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