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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This is the hard part

My father called this morning to tell me about a conversation he had had with Number Two Son yesterday. My Dad and Number Two have a very special bond and therefore he has been privy to many secrets but this was one he felt he had to share and break the grandparent/grandson confidence. Of course, it was something I already knew about all too well. Number Two has been bullied by the same child since we moved here four years ago. It seems to ebb and flow but we have already had one conversation this year with the teacher which resulted in all the Grade Five boys having a meeting with the teacher to talk about the situation. The school has a very strict anti-bullying policy and they spend alot of time discussing the issue. But there is a real herd mentality amongst these Millennium babies, one that we have not experienced with our older son's group. Number Two and his friends are very aware of what and who is cool, they worry about clothes and hair and what they are doing and how they look doing it. They are all on facebook and because I monitor our son's friends closely I have already had to intervene in one on-line relationship with a girl who he sees only on weekends at the ski hill but who had invented an entire relationship with him including multiple break-ups and reconciliations, all posted on her Wall.

The bullying at school takes the form of teasing and put downs said to other kids about my son. But it has escalated to spitting on clothes such as his sweatshirt and laughing at him when he unknowingly puts it on. Number Two cares deeply about what other people think (don't we all?) and although I have tried to tell tell him that he is smart, cute and good at so many things, only what his peers say really matters at age 10. The herd mentality rears its ugly head and everyone in the class would rather go along with the bullying than risk being singled out themselves, my son included.

We are having another meeting with his teacher who unfortunately Number Two does not seem to like very much and I have talked to one of the Behavioural Specialists at the school who is a close friend who I thought he might be willing to talk to. Now I wonder whether I should call the parent of the bully whom I know (it is a very small town, of course) and ask her if she has heard anything about what's going on from her son? Will that backfire in my face? It might. Would I want to know if one of my sons was a bully? Yes, but having tried this route with another parent about an issue with another child, I know how different one's perspective can be regarding their own child. No one wants to think that their son or daughter is anything other than a kind and caring person. I don't believe that these kids are bad, they are just behaving in a very Lord of the Flies way. A leader emerges from the group and whether he or she guides the group in a positive or negative way determines what happens to characters like "Piggy."

I want my son to know we are doing something to help him but I also know know he is super sensitive and I want him to be able to stand up for himself and not care quite so much about what other people say and do. I have never been an over-protective mother, I like my kids to figure stuff out for themselves and learn the skills they will need to survive in life. But I hate seeing any one of them being hurt.


  1. oh, how this has made my heart hurt. the thought that any of our kids are getting bullied or hurt by other kids in their class just makes me so angry...and sad.

    my first thought about telling the parents was...do it. they need to know and if the bad behavior continues and a few years down the road there is another confrontation and it comes out that this has been happening for many years, the is a chance they will be "but...no one told us!!"
    that's one side....then there is that "not MY child" reaction and then, you will need documented proof of the bullying.
    Good luck with what you decide to do....not a fun decision.

    I personally think that it's important that your son not only knows he can count on you and his grandfather, (which is already very obvious!) but....that he can trust the school and teachers to be there.
    Is the school big enough that a change of classes would help? (my sister did that and her life became oh so very much better).

    Sending both you and your son strong, healing thoughts. sometimes growing up is so freakin' hard....

  2. I would demand that action be taken. DEMAND. Get your momma lion suit on and fight. That is not OK. I would tell the school that you will have no choice but to involve the authorities if they can't control the situation with the boy. He should be suspended if he bothers your son again.


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