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Help! My Son is Being Bullied

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There is a kid who keeps PUSHING my son at school. And I don't know what to do about it!

boy hanging

Guest blogger Traci: My second-grade son is being bullied.

He keeps getting pushed by the same kid. This child is at least a head or two shorter than my son.

The kid pushes him on the playground a lot. Yesterday, he pushed him in the lunch room. HARD.

I would love to go up and say something to this child. I would love to throttle this child. I would love to push this kid and see how he likes it.

Of course, I will do none of these things, because I feel like it would only make things worse. My son needs to fight this battle on his own and show the kid he will not take this kind of behavior.

We told him to tell the bully to QUIT PUSHING HIM (in a mean voice!).

But if that doesn't work, should we tell him to push the kid back? Tell the teacher? Go to the principal?

Bullying expert Ross Ellis, president of Love Our Children USA, says my son should say something to the bully like "This is boring ... stop it!" or "Stop doing it -- I don't like it." If that doesn't work, she suggests he just say: "ENOUGH!"

If it continues, she suggests he tell the teacher. If the teacher doesn't do anything, she said I should go to the principal and tell him the situation, then ask what the school is going to do about this. "Too many schools have an anti-bullying program but do nothing," she says. "Because he's at school, they are his caretaker, and they need to handle the situation."

Moms: What would YOU do?

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25 comments so far | Post a comment now
Carmen February 5, 2009, 5:27 PM

I say try to get ahold of the bullies mom and talk to her about it, maybe she can talk to her son, I bet she doesnt know what a bully he is, Carm

Ann February 5, 2009, 5:29 PM

In the first instance my advice to the child is ignore it. Often the bully is looking for a reaction and, if they don’t get one, they move on. If this doesn’t work then the advice given by Ross Ellis is pretty much the advice I’d give you.

GSThomas February 5, 2009, 5:37 PM

My move when I was a kid was to fight back, but not engage in full combat. You have to push them back just out of view of a teacher, then drift back into view so that any retaliantion is seen, stopped and punished. You have to capitalize on the its always the second guy who gets caught adage.

After that the bullies would usually focus on verbal abuse, which if you just ignore completely will usually end without much problem. Bullies definitely enjoy the reaction from those they pick on. If you deny them that and get them in trouble they will, at least subconsciously understand the cost-benefit ratio is not in their favor and cut it out. Young boys are programmed to fight, you just have to make sure they do it intelligently.

Chriss Barr February 5, 2009, 5:52 PM

This may sound odd but I’m telling you it will help. Turn your son’s bed so that the headboard is on the wall of his Relationship direction. If you don’t know what it is e-mail me and I’ll send it to you.

Put a copy of your son’s class photo in the relationship area of his room, too. Set your intention that his all classmates support and respect him (even those not in his actual class).

You should see a turnaround in 9 weeks or less.

Monica February 5, 2009, 5:53 PM

I have no problem going to the school and talking to the teacher, principal or the parent themselves if I can convince them to call him/her. I do tell my confrontational daughter to seek an adult and get some help but if she needs to let somebody have it (and there is no adult to go to first) go ahead, come tell me and I will be the one to handle the aftermath. My son on the other hand is not confrontational and I frankly worry about him defending himself if need be. To him I keep telling him to be sure to tell an adult and then come tell me. If it happens at a bus stop, I have more than once talked to the kid myself, gave them the fiercest Mama Bear look I have while I told them that I AM WATCHING and they do have have permission to touch my child - ever. Then I promise to pull in their parents if my child comes to me even once about them again and I have had no more problem after that. I do believe kids need to learn to fight their own battles but those are a couple of the tools they know they have at their disposal. Now I just pray that my daughter is never the one bullying someone else!

Anonymous February 5, 2009, 7:25 PM

Hi guys, im Rachel from the uk, i think that the only thing bullys respond to is either, a child who stands up for himself or a child who totally ignores them…. a bully is, after all, looking for attention, and has only learnt that behaviour from somewhere (eg parents/family/friends) so i would tell my own son to shove him back and say ” how do you like it?” and if that doesnt work i would possibly pull that child myself, and warn them that i will be speaking to their parents/teacher…but at the end of the day, ask your son what he thinks…he has to face them each day … hope this helps….my blood boils when i think of bullys because i have dealt with so many on behalf of my brother as a child, but as an adult (and a childminder), i have to stop and think why that child is behaving in that manner xx

robin February 5, 2009, 8:43 PM

You need to call the other parent immediatley and if they do not respond then you go to the school..if they do not put a teacher on this kid then it is up to you to scare the living daylight out of this kid with a very harsh look and voice and threats that are not anything realistic that an adult could misinterpret…such as whatever you do to my child I hired somebody to do to you..and let him prove that you said it because you say it when no one else is around..bullies are always bullies and unless they are stopped they will continue to do this forever and why should your so suffer because of a rotten child…don’t let this kid get away with it make his life as miserable as he has made your sons

jw February 5, 2009, 10:15 PM

Talk to the parents first. Chances are they have no idea that their kid is being a bully and most parents when told their kid is exhibiting this kind of behavior will talk to their kid and make sure it doesn’t happen again. If that doesn’t help or if they tell you that your kid started it, then you should arrange a meeting with the other parents and the teacher.

Mr. TAYLOR  February 6, 2009, 12:55 AM

As to all the kid’s and parents, A bully is one thing and the best way for a win win situation, is to attract attention to yourself, by screaming or yelling very loud. I think new kids in school who dont know anyone get picked on the most. I like to tell you a true story, there was this young, 6-th grader girl, who was getting picked on by to 8-th grade girls. The first time she told the teacher and they left her alone and were kicked out of school for a couple day’s. But they kept coming back and picking on this sweet, shy little 6-grade girl. So one day in PE- glass, they started to pick on her and were going to beat her up or Rob her, or god knows whatelse. So luckley she had a Security Backpack with a personal alarm built into it that, once she pulled the cord it throws out 130-DB. It brought the teachers and students to her rescue, Priceless!
Ross T

karon  February 6, 2009, 4:52 AM

I’m having two boys at my 5 yr old sons school picking on him at the moment. My son is the youngest in the year and if born one day later would be in the year below. These boys are taking advantage of him though my son does not realise he is being bullied. On Weds one “punched him to the floor” and another “jumped on him and wouldn’t let him get up”

I have discussed it with my son’s teacher and in thge first instance we are seeing how often this is happening and what my son thinks of it. They will also all have a PSE lesson about friendship and acceptable play. we are keeping a note to see if it is the same children and if it is they will be dealt with eparately and personally by the school.

I have also told my son to shout”NO” as loudly as he can if they start and of they carry on to hit, smack and kick till they stop. I don’t approve of violence but bullies tend not to like getting hurt and my son is well aware not to hit first. I have also advised the teacher that I have told him to stand up for himself and she was fine with this.

Just some ideas of how we’re dealing with the situation.

Jenny February 6, 2009, 6:43 AM

this happened to my daughter in 2nd-4th grade. Teachers did not see it and for a long time she was afraid to tell us. she figured if we stood up for her, the bullies would get worse. When we found and and stood up for her to teacher and principal, she was right the bullies got worse. One day she was dragged around the bathroom by her hair. Principal said for her own safety I should put her in private school. We homeschooled from 5th through Highschool. She took many of her H.S. courses at the community college and graduated HS with Her AA college degree. Today at 21, she has her masters, bright, well rounded and happily married with a good job. Bullies don’t respond well to “physcological” pressure. They don’t care. Either have your kid stnd up to them or remove your kid to a better environment

j February 6, 2009, 8:33 AM

We had a problem with our daughter being bullied. During a school assembly about bullying, she was being drawn on, had paper thrown at her and hit by the bully. My husband and I went to see the principal. He was really great about it. He talked to my daughter and one of her friends who witnessed some of the bullying. Next he talked to the girl who was the bully and let her know it was not to continue. He also gave my daughter a pass to go straight to his office if she had any other problems. He was really great about how he handled it and we haven’t had any problems since. Also, at home we practiced ways for her to stand up for herself.

ame i. February 6, 2009, 9:48 AM

I would tell the teacher and the principal. It is their responsibility to inform the child’s parent(s).

Anonymous February 6, 2009, 9:56 AM

I am a teacher. You need to first ask the teacher to deal with it. If it does not stop, then you go to the principal. If the principal does nothing (which seems to be common these days) then you go to the school district. You don’t stop until this child is dealt with. The school has a responsibility to inform his parents and ask them to correct the problem. If it were my child I would go on the news if I had to to protect him. There is tremendous research that proves that if bullying is not dealt with, it can become detrimental to the future of the victim. Bullying needs to be taken VERY seriously.

Dayna February 6, 2009, 11:32 AM

Jenny, congrats on your daughter’s success. But, I am in shock over the principal’s suggestion. Why didn’t he do something to protect your daughter…like, SUSPEND! the child that was ABUSING her? When he made the suggestion to put your innocent daughter in private school, did he offer to pay the financial expense of such education?

Barb February 6, 2009, 11:56 AM

Another mom gave me this advice once, and I haven’t had to use it yet, but I’m happy to share it (the mom did this and it worked like a charm): Invite the bully over for a play date, and when he’s over, stay close-by and be involved. In her experience, by giving the bully some extra positive attention (she ordered pizza and let the kids play video games), he quickly came around and though the kids weren’t best friends in school afterward, her son wasn’t being bullied anymore. And note: when she called the bully’s mom to ask if he could come over, she didn’t mention anything about the kids not getting along; she honestly gave the boy the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t a bad person. It worked in this instance, and I like the approach. Good luck.

Elizabeth Bennett February 6, 2009, 8:18 PM

Like Mr. Ellis, I am also a expert in the field. One thing I tell children when I talk to them is that when someone says “NO or STOP” and they don’t do either, they are going into bullying behavior. Someone needs to teach these children this. NO means NO and STOP means STOP! I am sorry your child is dealing with this. Its not easy I know. Hang in there.

Elizabeth Bennett, Los Angeles

Anonymous February 12, 2009, 7:18 PM

Talk to the teacher, principal, any/all school authority. Tell them what is going on and tell them it needs to stop. If they can’t stop it, then they need to talk to the parents. They should talk to the parents first because you don’t know the enviornment of the bully. Make sure you keep communicating with your son. Let him know he can talk to you, that it’s not his fault, and don’t ever blame him for getting bullied. Let him know that bullying is not okay. Don’t take it lightly and don’t let other’s take it lightly. It because of bullies there are school bombings and shootings. We can avoid them if we start taking it seriously at an early age.

Pax February 12, 2009, 11:31 PM

Bullying is not a problem to be ignored. It’s good that your son came and talked to you, it means he trusts you to know how to handle the situation.
If you know the bullies mother talk to her, if you do not know her you may find yourself talking to an adult bully, getting nowhere.
Your son is in the second grade, adults are supposed to help and care for children, I would intervene through the teacher, enlist the teachers help in putting a game plan together to stop the bullying. If your child does not feel safe in school he will not be free to learn, stomache aches may develop etc. Many times bullies escalate their attacks if you ignore them.
Karate classes may help build confidence.
The safewave site has some help.
Good Luck !

Ouisie February 24, 2009, 11:46 AM

Hi Parents,
I’m writing a book on bullying (to be published in 2010 by Albert Whitman & Co) and am looking to interview kids between the ages of 7 and 13 to hear their stories and comments and advice for other kids.
If your kids may be interested, please contact me at ouisies@gmail.com
thank you.


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