9.08.2010

Bullying Begins?


This morning I overheard my five-year old son, Dee, asking Jeigh (four) if he could come to her class from now on. I was confused. I was under the impression he loved school. Then I heard him tell her he needed new friends because "the boys in red shirts" were being mean to him.

What?!

I had to find out what was going on. When I tried to investigate without being accusational (innocent until proven guilty, right?), I was further frustrated. Getting details from a five-year old can be less than satisfying.

As far as I could gather from what Dee was saying was that there was a group of boys in red shirts at school that were pushing and pulling on him. Sometimes they'd even hit him. Mr. Cook (the principal) would get mad at them, but then they would hide from the principal and keep doing it. It was distressing enough for Dee that he wanted to go to preschool with Jeigh in search of new friends. When I asked if I should talk to his teacher about it, he said no.

I am confused. This is a first for me as a mom. Do I believe my son, who just may have been watching a little too much Karate Kid with his dad and mixing reality with fiction? or do I just let it go and wait to hear if it happens again, then take care of it? I don't dare ask his dad because I know what his response would be; the man has watched the Karate Kid series multiple times since we have been married. There's a reason.

It makes me so sad that this is happening already. The boy has been in Kindergarten for barely three weeks. Kids aren't mean at this stage are they? Or is this just the beginning of many years of bullying to come? (By the way, I am not naive enough to think it won't happen someday, but this young?)

The best I could do this morning was tell him that no one should be mean to anyone and if it happened again he needed to immediately find his teacher or the principal and tell them. AND to not be mean back. Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi might think it's okay to fight back, but the Savior would not.

Tell me, oh wise mothers, what would you do in this situation???

Post-Post: I forgot to add the morning family prayer Dee gave this morning:

"Dear Heavenly Father,

Please bless me to be safe at school. Please help me to be able to come home today. Please bless I can eat dinner again tonight.

Name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

14 comments:

Jeremy, Lana, Brenna and Mason said...

I have no experience, but I would tell the teacher. At this young age I wouldn't think that would complicate things like it could in older kids, but who knows. Definitely if it happens again... I'm so sad reading this! I love Dee and it makes me mad thinking of kids picking on him!

Jodi said...

I agree that you should talk with the teacher when Dee is not around and make sure the teacher knows Dee didn't want you to tell. Our school has a zero tolerance for bullying, I'm assuming Dee's school has something in place as well. Those little red shirts need to be watched, talked to and disciplined so they won't continue their behavior.

Also, I would tell Dee to ignore them and act like they don't bother him one bit (even if they do.) Maybe role play with him and help him think of things he could turn his attention to when they start being mean. We had to do this with one of our girls and it worked great. Good luck!!!!

Packer Family said...

Ok!!!! Grrr, It makes me want to cry that this is happening to him! He so sweet and It's just wrong! If D said the principle saw it and then the kids hide I would ABSOLUTLEY go talk to him and the teacher in his class! I would do it so that D doesn't know and let the teacher know that he doesn't want her to know. This should not be going on at a properly surpervized school!!!

Cannwin said...

First I would talk to other parents that have kids in the same school AND his teacher.

Kids think their teachers are going to rat them out in front of the class but it doesn't happen that way. Especially if you tell them you want to keep things on the down-low.

Second I would volunteer in the classroom. This might be hard, since I know you've got a little one at the house, but maybe find a babysitter for an hour or two a week and pop in. Make yourself known to the other kids and show him your unflinching support. You could also go to lunch with him, as far as I've ever seen parents are more than welcome to show up for lunch.

Also, keep him talking. I made these little notepad for my girl to take to school, it's a questionnaire sort of thing... how was your day *good *bad *silly... Today I played with ______... today my teacher made me feel *happy *sad *embarrassed.

It really opened the dialogue up between her and I in the afternoons and I've learned a lot about her days that I never got before. (I'll send you the pages)

Third, be sure he is telling these boys that what they are doing is hurting him. I know it sounds cheesy but have him practicing saying 'When you do that it really makes me feel_____' These are little kids we're talking about, they may not realize what they are doing is mean. Also if it is flat out stated then you have the power of their knowledge and disregard.

Fourth, and I might get flack about this from other moms, but give him the right to hit back.

I teach my kids that after all other options are exhausted. You know, the teacher knows, the principal knows, and if its still happening than they have a right to defend themselves. They have a right to hit back.

It hasn't actually happened before but the right empowers them and lets them know that they DO have control.

I hope you figure it out. Nothing makes me more mother bear than watching my kids hurt.

shortmama said...

I would talk to the teacher and not wait. Sometimes the longer you wait the worse it gets. I was never bullied as a kid but my hubs was bullied mercilessly because he was small. So far we havent had anything big with out 8 yr old daughter. There was a girl in her class that would call her mean if she didnt want to play what the girl was playing and would try to make my daughters friends not like her but I went to the teacher about it and havent had any problems with the girl since, that was last school year.

Sami said...

His prayer just breaks my heart! I have absolutely no advice to give. So far, Sissy has been fairly popular, and I've only had to discuss with her the importance of treating everyone kindly. Seems that she was on the giving end of some bullying, which is much easier to nip in the bud, if you ask me. Bubble has had problems with some of the boys not wanting to play with him, but so far it hasn't turned to violence or anything like that. I would agree with you that it seems really early for that to be happening. My only advice is to be involved. Volunteer if you can in Dee's classroom. I found that once I got to know the kids in his class, he had fewer problems, and I was able to direct him as to which ones would be good influences, and friends, and which ones he should probably steer clear of.
Does that help?

Lisa said...

Oh Eve!!! My heart breaks! Because Kirk is going through the same thing! And you know what's worse? The principal HIMSELF said something totally uncalled for to my boy. I don't know what to do either. I already volunteer. But it sure sucks. I hope you get results. No matter what - keep us posted!

Patty Ann said...

Oh, I am so sorry!! Unfortunately, I have too much experience here. Kids can be mean at any age, although at this young of one it is probably more of a group thing than a single kid. I would definately talk with the principal and the teacher. I would schedule a conference after school and leave both kids home with a sitter. Your son does not need to know that you went and talked with them. I agree with the volunteering suggestion, if it is at all possible. It will let you look with your own eyes. I would not minumize this at all. Especially with his prayer. Little kids just are not that good at making things up for an extending length of time. You need to fell like your child is safe too. Also, I ask my children what are some things that they can do to help the situation. Then we act out what they can do. This includes not responding when people call you names. There are some pretty good sites online that talk about bullying. Look at the Love and Logic site and see what they offer. I like most of their ideas and have found them to work really well.

Lind Family said...

Poor man. I think you should talk to the teacher without D knowing. It needs to get taken care of sooner than later. I agreed with everyones suggestions. Even Cannwin's last suggestion, if everything else fails.

Linsey said...

Unfortunately, it does happen this early. I have a first grader with a learning disability. Because of that, she went to a different school for Kindergarten for a developmental program. Because it wasn't her regular school, they bussed her in on a different bus. Well, one of the girls in her class figured out that she rode the "special bus" and then the bullying got even worse. I brought it up to the teacher and she was unaware, but she did say that if I could get specific names from my girl, that she would approach the other's parents. It did seem to get better after that. A few of them that ran around with the leader of the group started to play with her more, but the leader never did. She left her alone though.
It's a hard thing to figure out. It does start early and it's sad that it does. Good luck. I think the best way to handle it is to go to the teacher or the pricipal as a concerned parent and let them know how serious it really is. Sometimes they don't know unless it's brought to their attention.
Good luck!

Linsey said...

I forgot one thing. I agree with Cannawin. I think that protecting yourself and knowing that you can is a big confidence booster in kids that help them know that they can handle a situation. Now I don't mean that in the way that they just start whomping on others, but I think that sometimes just knowing that they have the option if it gets too brutal, is empowering to them. I've always taught my girls that hitting is wrong, etc, etc, etc, same thing all parents teach their kids, but I have always taught them that it's ok to protect themselves also. Even in a situation where it might be an adult trying to hurt them. I've never had a problem, so far, with them being the instigator or even them fighting back. We'll see how that goes. I might change my mind later. =)

Erin said...

You hit a nerve with me. As someone who was bullied all through school, I would say do whatever you can to get this to stop, now! While it's early. No one likes to be treated meanly, and if he wants to go to Preschool with Jeigh, my guess is that it's been going on for awhile, unnoticed, and will continue to go on until an adult intervenes.
There's no need for Dee to ever have to "just deal with" bullying.

Myya said...

His prayer breaks my heart. Poor guy! His principal knows & it continues WHAT??? How is it that at 5 this is happening??? What kind of people are raising kids, how do parents let their kids get away with treating other kids this way. I don't have any advice to give, but I hope & pray that something happens soon to give your little guy some relief!

Katy B. said...

Okay, I had this same issue with Hannah...but it was first grade that it happened. I spoke with the teacher and the principal. They were completely wonderful. I also started to do more stuff in the classroom during school. It was hard to find a sitter, but was so worth it. I would even stay sometimes to eat lunch with her. I got to know all the kids, not just in her class, but in her entire grade. And they got to know me. And I met the "bully". I didn't punch her (I so wanted to). But after that day, I swear she didn't mess with Hannah again. I became "Hannah's cool Mom" at school, stepping up her popularity level, let me tell you.

It's going to be okay. Just get over to that school and volunteer! You soon will find the kids calling you, "Dee's cool Mom". :):):):):)

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