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Am I over reacting?

23 replies

mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 13:53

Ds is 6 and in YR2.

Last year there were several low key incidents that gave me cause for concern. Three boys in particular were being very rough with him. DS is smaller than average and wears glasses, we went through a stage where every other day he would come home with a bump slip from school, or his glasses had been bent/broken. I spoke to the TA responsible for playtime activities, and this stopped. In all of this DS was never distressed, and was happy to go to school. So I don't think it was bullying, as such, more rough play that got out of hand.

Fast forward 12 mths from there, and it's been happening again. I wrote to his teacher, and this improved things, it's now been 6 weeks since we last had to get his glasses repaired. He has however changed his friendship groups to now include the boys that were so rough with him, and I witnessed them "playing" this morning.

It involved two of them holding DS while the other one thumped him.

I went and retrieved my DS who was still laughing and oblivious to any concern that I had. Another parent came over to ask if he was ok, because just as I intervened she was on her way over to do the same. He was fine. Infact he asked me to hold his book bag so he could go back to "join in".

On questioning him more closely, I found that they play like this a lot at playtimes.

My initial reaction was to go to the school and ask about their playground monitoring policies, but I don't know if I am being PFB about it, as he seems happy. So I have been stewing all day over it.

I know boys will be boys, I have a younger ds too, and they are very physical, so can accept rough and tumble as standard, but I'm not sure about this.

DS has changed over the last 3 months, including these boys in his friendship groups. Now I am afraid that it's been a case of "if you can't beat them, join them".

He is still happy at school and as far as I know he is still doing well, although we don't have parents evening til next week and his teacher is not good with communication to parents.

So what do I do? Am I over reacting? Tell me straight.

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mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 13:54

Sorry, that was long

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choccyp1g · 17/03/2009 13:57

I don;t think you are overreacting. My rule on playfights is simple. One on one is fun. Two against one is unfair. Three or nore against one is bullying.
Have a chat to the teacher or playground supervisor.

choccyp1g · 17/03/2009 13:58

that would be three or MORE of course.

Rhubarb · 17/03/2009 13:58

This is unacceptable. Any physical violence, whether in jest or not, is not allowed on school grounds. The TAs should be monitoring the playground and ensuring that this does not happen.

I would go to the Head and report what you have seen. Mention all the other incidents too. I presume you've had to pay to get his glasses mended? Suggest sending them the bill next time.

Yes, boys will be boys, but thumping, hitting, kicking or pushing are not allowed in the playground for the very reasons that children get hurt. The school is being irresponsible. Don't wait until parents evening, ring and make an appt to speak to the Head now.

The fact that you and another parent had to step in when the TAs were around is unacceptable and needs dealing with.

sagacious · 17/03/2009 13:59

Agree with choccypig (I have a ds who's in year 2)

mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 14:02

Sorry, I did not make it clear, this happened this morning, before the school bell, there are no TA's in the playground at this time, just children and parents. But DS has said they play like this at playtimes, when the TA's are about.

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mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 14:02

I will go into school this afternoon, thank you.

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Blarbie · 17/03/2009 14:06

You're not being unreasonable. Thank goodness your son takes it all in fun, but 2 children holding another so they can punch is VERY wrong! Rough and tumble is fun and fine, but I'm thinking more of wrestling or with cushions etc or games like british bulldog that require you to put the other person/child on the grass (we loved this at primary, but it got banned!). Pinning someone down to punch them is not fun or a game it is out of order. I'm sure you would react just as strongly if your son was the one doing the punching or pinning down.

Rhubarb · 17/03/2009 14:13

Can you observe a playtime at all?

mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 14:14

Blarbie, you are right I would.

Since he started talking about these children as friends we have had several talks about what is acceptable or not, and how his behaviour makes other people see him.

To be fair he says he steps out when it gets too rough, but one of these days he won't and he will be in the middle of it when it all kicks off. I have explained that if he plays rough like this in turn then other children that he is friendly with may start avoiding him.

He is so friendly, like a puppy, eager to join in.

I think I have put too much responsibility on a 6yr old, and everyone is right, I need to put the ball back in the schools court.

I just don't know how they will react though, given the fact that the "play fighting" does not seem to bother him. Just me!

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mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 14:17

Rhubarb, not really, since this term they have been playing on the big field at the back of the school, as they are slowly getting them used to the Junior areas of the school grounds.

Up til this term I could have, as they were at the front of the building.

I will double check this with DS though, as they may still sometimes use the smaller ground.

I was totally shocked by how much I wanted to thump the other kids.

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Rhubarb · 17/03/2009 14:37

I would approach the school and ask if you can observe the playtime from a distance. They shouldn't refuse you this.

mankyscotslass · 17/03/2009 14:38

Thank you!

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mankyscotslass · 18/03/2009 07:46

Just to say thanks again to everyone.

DS has said they still play in the infant playground in the morning, so I am going to wander past today.

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cory · 18/03/2009 08:21

None of our schools have allowed rough play; it is impossible to police the borderline between play and bullying and even when it is playing the accident risk is way too high. Makes sense to me. Boys can burn off energy in other ways.

sinpan · 18/03/2009 08:56

Something very similar going on with my DS in year 5. He came home in bandages on Monday. Like your DS he is very relaxed about it and doesn't see himself as a victim. He thinks it is all part of the game and may well be encouraging the other boys, but when it gets out of hand he is always the one who comes off worst. I'm going to see the school on Thursday. Like you i don't want to make a drama out of it when he's happy and seems to be handling it well himself - he sticks up for himself pretty well and is also good at talking himself out of sticky situations - but obviously I can't ignore the injuries.

I agree it's a thin line between bullying and rough play and of course our adult perspective on this is different to theirs, but as someone else said two against one is unfair, and when it's always the same two against the same one, that seems like bullying to me.

wannaBe · 18/03/2009 09:05

boys will be boys? I don't think so!

If my ds behaved like this towards another child there would be hell to pay.

this is not acceptable behavior and I would be wanting to know why adults are allowing this to happen on a regular basis and appear to only intervene when you speak to them. While at school your child is in their care, and it is their responsibility to ensure his wellbeing.

lljkk · 18/03/2009 09:34

Is school actively allowing this or just not getting to them fast enough? At our school they would hide to play thump and only do it briefly, the supervisers would break up any play-thumping they saw.

OP, does your lad ever take turns being the one who 'thumps' another boy (while a third child pins the beatee down)?

You don't want his glasses being broken, so I can perfectly understand you want the rough play to stop.
But in itself, it doesn't sound that bad what your DS was experiencing. Wrestling with each other or their dad my lads sometimes play thump each other, and this may involve the one receiving blows to be pinned down.

Main thing is that there is a reasonable power balance. For instance, you don't want one child who is always taking the victim's role just so that he can have friends at all.

mankyscotslass · 18/03/2009 12:54

It's always DS who is being held, from what he says. Some of the other boys have corroborated this. But I am worried that if he does become one of the ones who thumps he will be the one who gets in trouble!

I didn't time my saunter past school well today, I will try again over the next few days.

Sinpan, I hope you get answers from school.

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TotalChaos · 18/03/2009 13:01

no, it doesnt sounds like you are overreacting at all, it sounds like the ?playfighting has got completely out of hand.

thecloudhopper · 18/03/2009 21:12

Rhubarb i am sorry but our school would not allow a parent to come in and observe as you cross the confidentiality line.

smee · 19/03/2009 19:11

I think you should definitely find out what their policies are on playground, etc. If they don't have one, then that should tell you a lot in itself. Most say no fighting, some take it further and say no play fighting either, as that way it's clearer to all. Definitely that's not an acceptable game though.

mankyscotslass · 19/03/2009 19:46

I just thought I would update you.

I got a note back from the deputy head today.

The two year 2 classes have had a special assembly on playing together, and what is acceptable and what will not be tolerated.

So now I wait and see, and I plan to lurk near the playground to observe as often as possible.

Thanks for all your help

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