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AIBU?

to report a controlling kid to the school?

49 replies

KidsWhoControl · 26/01/2024 15:57

DS has a really great group of friends. He is now in Y12, they have been together since Y7.

One boy has been a problem since the start, and has caused many of the others untold upset over the years. He manipulates the whole group, plays them off against each other in small group chats (either in real life or on snapchat etc), rules over who can be invited to which meet-up, which party. One minute someone is included, the next they are not - it's all him. Individuals hear rumours about themselves that are not true and they are quickly traced back to this boy.

So why don't they just get rid of him? The issue is, he seems to have unlimited control. Fortunately I have never been in an abusive situation, but have had to undergo safeguarding training for a couple of roles. You hear the case studies, really awful stories, and you wonder how the perpetrators get away with it. And then you see the power this kid has over the group. If anyone challenges (my DS has dabbled) they are instantly bad-mouthed in many small off-shoot groups - belittled, made to look like the bad guy, etc. They are all aware of it and yet no one seems to be able to stop it - it takes incredible strength to stand up to it.

So now the kids are planning their first short, parent-free holidays for the summer. The first small group booked a trip. They made it clear that they didn't want to be away in a massive group and that they just wanted to be the 6 of them - no problem! Then this problem kid's small group booked a trip. Amazingly, he declared that the only hotel they could find in Europe was the same one as the first group, for the same dates... how funny! Except the first group didn't find it funny. But it was booked and paid for, so tough.

DS is in the third group. They were looking elsewhere, but now that so many friends are going to the same place, they thought they'd go too. First group are fine with it now, as more people being there dilutes this problem kid. But DS's group are not allowed - by order of problem kid! They have been told to find their own holiday, it would be "tragic" of them just to tag along on a trip they were not invited to. Er, hello! That's exactly what you did mate!

So, I am posting this today because DS is irate, but instead of being willing to just rise above and book it, he has surrendered. They all have. It's just too nasty to face the wrath. I'm posting today, but I could have posted the same question dozens of times over the years.

So, round to my AIBU... should I be speaking to the school about this? I mean, they are YEAR 12 for goodness sake, you think they'd be over this playground nonsense. But this kid gives me the creeps. You can just see the shoots of coercive control growing, I fear for any future partners. I feel this sense of duty to stop him in his tracks - yes, so that DS can have a happy summer but actually, more importantly, so that there is one less abusive man wandering through society. Do I speak up? Would I just make things worse? Do I sound vindictive? Do I let them just get on with it (DS and group can find somewhere else to go, I'm sure) I feel this sense of obligation to stop him before he does some real damage. They still have a year and a half together before DS can shake him off.

OP posts:
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KidsWhoControl · 26/01/2024 17:05

No a mixed school and the three groups are all mixed too

OP posts:
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TomeTome · 26/01/2024 17:12

This is the best outcome for your son. He can go elsewhere and have fun without the agro.

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Dirtyoldtomcat · 26/01/2024 17:12

School are probably well aware, but I can't see what harm it would do to tell the school. They won't actually do anything, but head of pastoral care usually keeps an wye on friendship dynamics (at least in my dcs' schools).

Regarding your ds, any YouTube video on abusive relationships is an eye opener. The most useful stuff is about narcissistic abuse, even though it's wider than that.

It's all about spotting the pattern of control and manipulation and putting boundaries in place. This applies to friendships as well as relationships, and I think it's useful to learn young.

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Sofiabella · 26/01/2024 17:15

What on earth would you expect the school to do?

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tinytemper66 · 26/01/2024 17:19

Like others, I would take this as an opportunity not to go on holiday with a prize knob to be honest.

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Rummikub · 26/01/2024 17:19

I’m my place we would keep an eye on the situation.
in my dc school they ran classes on healthy / unhealthy relationships

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LlynTegid · 26/01/2024 17:22

This is a young adult who could be doing the same or will try with teachers and others, so alerting the school even if they cannot do much for your DS is worthwhile.

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Phonedown · 26/01/2024 17:23

This isn't a one to one coercively controlling relationship though. It's about group dynamics. He's clearly positioned himself as some kind of alpha and the rest of the boys have allowed it to happen. The school can't do anything to stop it. At this age it is up to the boys themselves to stand up to it.

I had a situation similar to this in high school. The controller went off for a two week family vacation and the rest of us met up. It took one person to say to the others " they are really pissing me off" and the flood gates opened. By the time they got back from their trip the group dynamics had completely changed.

It is fantastic that your son has the opportunity to bond with some pals away from this guy. Maybe they need to be the first lot to break away from the bigger group... Others will likely follow.

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Lemonyyellow · 26/01/2024 17:32

I’d be relieved ds is in group 3 and able to enjoy his first holiday with his mates away from this kid. Poor group 1 who probably really wanted this

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Thebookdragon · 26/01/2024 17:33

FofB · 26/01/2024 16:29

I think your son has been handed a gem- a holiday, where they all have a massive laugh together, bonding, without that idiot with them- priceless! They will be able to cement their friendships without any input from that boy.

And lesson learned for the other boys in the 1st group- don't tell people when you are going!

This

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Dacadactyl · 26/01/2024 17:36

Jollyoldfruit · 26/01/2024 16:02

In your shoes I would prefer my ds not to be at the same location as this lad. Eventually there will be an incident and far better not to have your ds involved in any way.
Let your ds keep his head down and get through the next 18 months quietly if possible.

This. He's a right troublemaker.

Your DS needs to cut ties with this kid. Even if he has to branch out totally alone. If your DS doesn't like him, he's not going to see him again after college anyway.

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Gymmum82 · 26/01/2024 17:39

This is amazing for him though. He just can’t see it right now. This bully lad is going to ruin the holiday for the other 2 groups. But your son gets to have an amazing holiday with his mates without anyone ruining it! That is priceless.

Sure he might get FOMO and the lads in the other groups might say they had an amazing time, but you know they won’t actually. It will have been controlled by him and be all about him Your DS has the best deal here

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ThatsMeThatIs · 26/01/2024 17:43

My good God have a word with yourself!

So he's king bee, most school year groups have king and queen bees, it's just part of life.

These are 16 and 17 year olds so let them sort their own squabbles out!

You can just see the shoots of coercive control growing, I fear for any future partners.

That ^^ sort of OTT dramatic statement is too Mumsnet even for Mumsnet 🙄

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Sparklfairy · 26/01/2024 17:46

The school won't deal with him. However I wonder if you can suggest that they bring someone in for a talk on coercive control, especially as its now illegal.

We had a few talks from outside sources when i was in sixth form, rather than teachers. And I know we paid more attention to the outside ones.

We had ones on things like managing anxiety iirc, and as I say, now coercive control is illegal its an important issue. To know if you're a victim, or a perpetrator.

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BubbleBubbleBubbleBubblePop · 26/01/2024 17:55

Could your son discuss the controlling kids behaviour with the others during the holiday and make a plan of action to oust him?

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neverbeenskiing · 26/01/2024 17:59

You can just see the shoots of coercive control growing, I fear for any future partners.

The lad sounds like a prize dickhead, but this is really clutching at straws.

I work in a school in a pastoral role and have worked with post 16. I think it's absolutely fine to mention to the school pastoral team about the dynamics within the friendship group and ask them to keep an eye on the kids involved. But making sweeping assumptions about a child being a future domestic abuser is way over the top.

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KidsWhoControl · 26/01/2024 18:20

Such a brilliant range of responses thank you. I like the idea of asking for a speaker on the subject, they have done a few things on consent etc.
I’ll spend the weekend talking DS into looking on the bright side, we’ll see if we can find some other places to suggest.

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exLtEveDallas · 26/01/2024 18:47

DD was in a group a bit like this where one girl kept all the others on their toes, and again it was throughout secondary. DD branched out in Y9 and was much happier in a 'rejects' group, but unfortunately Queen Bee surfaced again in 6th Form and DD had to deal with her for another 2 years.

DD went her own way with Uni, and is doing brilliantly, has made a ton of friends and is happier than I've seen her in years. QB did try it on again, going to a diff uni in the same city, with a number of girls from the 6th Form group and giving DD grief about how alone and friendless she was going to be, which caused a great deal of upset in Jul/Aug but thankfully DD was brave and found her tribe very quickly in Sep.

Now I'm probably being unreasonable here, but I have to admit I felt actual joy when I heard on the grapevine that QB had dropped out in Nov... with her being quite vocal on SM about how awful her uni had been, and how unfriendly the other students were... sorry, not sorry.

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Shinyandnew1 · 26/01/2024 18:51

You can just see the shoots of coercive control growing, I fear for any future partners. I feel this sense of duty to stop him in his tracks

I can’t imagine what you think the school will be able to do!

Your DC is going on holiday without this kid-sounds like a result as far as I can see.

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coxesorangepippin · 26/01/2024 18:56

How on earth do you have the energy to immerse yourself in this drama??!

They're 17!!!

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JVC24601 · 26/01/2024 19:01

The school can’t do anything about this specific holiday scenario, but if you’re worried about wider behaviours and influences they would very much appreciate a heads up from your perspective. You can’t expect any conclusive action from them (that they could share with you, anyway), but it would allow them to be more alert to safeguarding issues.

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MorningSunshineSparkles · 26/01/2024 19:45

Time to speak to the school was many years ago, god knows why you didn’t then. They’re near enough adults now, you’d be laughed out the building.

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Wanna17 · 26/01/2024 19:49

This is one of his first introductions to someone who needs to be shown boundaries, unwavering boundaries!! Even if your son is the only one who will refuse to do whatever this other kid wants, he has to refuse, or people like this kid will walk all over your son forever! It's only uncomfortable the first time you put your foot down and the chances are he won't know this kid as an adult, so use him as practice for what every day being a grown up will soon be like!

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EggTheFirst · 26/01/2024 19:58

I can’t too angry about three separate groups of teenagers that are not only allows to holiday in Europe alone, but can actually afford to…

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