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  1. #1
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    Default How do you tell if it's school bullying or just an irritating kid?

    A spate of school related threads from me. Sorry, long post, if anyone's reading.

    By way of background, dd1's behaviour has been different over the past six months or so - she's been quick to anger and get upset, basically her emotional regulation seems to have gone backwards. I've been worried about it and thinking about what the issue could be. She's seven.

    Today two things happened that made me wonder if it's possible that she's being bullied at school and I'm thinking about how I can get to the bottom of it. [Edited as too identifying. ] She says he constantly chases her, throws things at her, teases her, and that nothing she does makes him stop.

    [Edited as too identifying. ]
    So I'm thinking I need to get in early and speak to whoever her teacher is this year, but I'm not sure where to go from there. I don't really know what my question here is, I guess I'm just wondering what others have done when the possibility of bullying has crossed their minds.

    I need to give her some tools to deal with this kid.
    Last edited by Kalina; 06-02-2021 at 08:11.

  2. #2
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    Sorry that this has happened to your DD.

    Do you know he will be in her class? Being the start of a new school year, the first thing I would do would be to explain the situation to the school and try and get them into different classes. It may be difficult if the classes lists have been set, but I now you know bullying is going on, it would be worth a shot.

    Failing that, talk to the teacher. Although my sister has been through that with my niece and found the teachers to be useless. She ended up writing a strongly worded email to the principal and speaking to her in person. One issue my sister found was the teacher spoke to the kids in question and took their explanation at face value instead of looking at it objectively.

    had to delete too identifying
    Last edited by SSecret Squirrel; 17-01-2021 at 21:17.

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    Kalina (17-01-2021)

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    Sorry but that's not on. It's bullying at its finest.

    Whether I thought the person was unhinged or not, if anyone said they were throwing a DEADLY spider at me, I'd freaking scream too!!

    Your poor dd. He sounds like the ring leader. The school definitely need to be made aware, and should be willing to put things in place to manage it and protect your dd. They have a duty of care to her while she's there to ensure she's safe, and not treated this way.

    As for strategies- ask the school how they expect your dd to manage it, and how they intend to support her. Put the ball in their court.

    At home I'd try to work on her confidence, and let her know it's not her fault he's behaving this way. She's done nothing wrong.

    Were the boys parents are the party?? Did they step in? What are they doing?

    I feel so much for your dd. She sounds terrified, and rightly so with such a monster harassing her

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    Kalina (17-01-2021)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSecret Squirrel View Post
    Sorry that this has happened to your DD.

    Do you know he will be in her class? Being the start of a new school year, the first thing I would do would be to explain the situation to the school and try and get them into different classes. It may be difficult if the classes lists have been set, but I now you know bullying is going on, it would be worth a shot.

    Failing that, talk to the teacher. Although my sister has been through that with my niece and found the teachers to be useless. She ended up writing a strongly worded email to the principal and speaking to her in person. One issue my sister found was the teacher spoke to the kids in question and took their explanation at face value instead of looking at it objectively.

    had to delete too identifying
    Thanks. I don't know if he'll be in her class, he was barely on my radar at the end of last year. I feel bad, dd1 mentioned a few things he did last year, but it's only now that I see how it's made her feel. They were in the same class last year, but from what she says it all happens at lunch and recess so I'm not sure if being in different classes would help. Maybe it would shift his attention.

    I suspect our school would take a similar approach. The mum of another kid who had really big problems told me that she went to talk to her son's teacher, told her what was happening, and the teacher went up to the child who was apparently responsible and told him what had been said. The only effect it had was to make him double down in his efforts and be more cunning about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EnchantedGrace View Post
    As for strategies- ask the school how they expect your dd to manage it, and how they intend to support her. Put the ball in their court.

    At home I'd try to work on her confidence, and let her know it's not her fault he's behaving this way. She's done nothing wrong.

    Were the boys parents are the party?? Did they step in? What are they doing?
    That's a really good suggestion, I'll put it to them that way.

    Her confidence is really something I have been aware of and trying to build. I'm doing my best, but feel like such a crap mother sometimes.

    The boy's father was there - he was a big version of the kid. They're both physically imposing relative to others, I'm sure that gives this kid an edge at school, his physical size. The father was oblivious, talking to another guy - the physical similarity was the only reason I knew he was the father.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    Thanks. I don't know if he'll be in her class, he was barely on my radar at the end of last year. I feel bad, dd1 mentioned a few things he did last year, but it's only now that I see how it's made her feel. They were in the same class last year, but from what she says it all happens at lunch and recess so I'm not sure if being in different classes would help. Maybe it would shift his attention.

    I suspect our school would take a similar approach. The mum of another kid who had really big problems told me that she went to talk to her son's teacher, told her what was happening, and the teacher went up to the child who was apparently responsible and told him what had been said. The only effect it had was to make him double down in his efforts and be more cunning about it.
    My sister had years of trouble with a girl who was bullying my niece. Moving classes helped to a certain degree because it meant that the girl in question did make new friends. For a while.

    I would suggest being persistant with the school and not taking no for an answer. My sister found the school incredibly dismissive of the issues and in hindsight she wishes she hadn't just assumed the teachers would address it (they didn't). What the school did do was talk to the girl in question and not question her version of events (they should have).

    Not sure if you read the bit I deleted or not, but it culminated in an assault on my niece and my sister has had to send her to a highschool out of area to get away from this particular girl. She has just finished primary school and the bullying had been going on for several years.

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    Kalina (18-01-2021)

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSecret Squirrel View Post
    My sister had years of trouble with a girl who was bullying my niece. Moving classes helped to a certain degree because it meant that the girl in question did make new friends. For a while.

    I would suggest being persistant with the school and not taking no for an answer. My sister found the school incredibly dismissive of the issues and in hindsight she wishes she hadn't just assumed the teachers would address it (they didn't). What the school did do was talk to the girl in question and not question her version of events (they should have).

    Not sure if you read the bit I deleted or not, but it culminated in an assault on my niece and my sister has had to send her to a highschool out of area to get away from this particular girl. She has just finished primary school and the bullying had been going on for several years.
    I did read it before you deleted, awful. I'm really sorry your niece went through that.
    I don't know if schools don't take this stuff seriously enough, or if teachers aren't taught the skills to identify and deal with problems early. Maybe it's hard to tell when the line is crossed.

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    We have had experience with bullying and irritating kid with DS. DS is anxious and both scenarios really affect him. But the solution to both is basically the same.

    I will add we also have had a psych working with DS about his general anxiety who supported DS througha few hiccups.

    Firstly the school is amazing when it comes to dealing with bullying/conflict. They use a '5 finger' conflict/bullying solution. The kids run through scenarios. The parents are also encouraged to use it. I have had to use it with DS for various things.

    The most consistent issue with with a boy who was trying to force friendship and when was asked to give space or if DS said no the boy would start calling him names and getting angry.

    Basically it's trying to teach kids conflict resolution. It has steps for children to try which ends in talking to a teacher who then tries to help find a solution.

    The other thing we had to work on was DS'd reaction/feelings/self worth. Which is hard. But it is ongoing in helping his self esteem, helping him to speak up and opening up about feelings to address solutions.

    Basically I had sent a note to the teacher previously with information about what has been going on (with examples). The resolution always includes the teacher bringing up some discussion and role play. Depending on how serious the incident is would affect any other action.

    But basically a lot of work on DS understanding his feelings, working on his responses, improving self esteem etc.

    I will add - a supportive school/teachers seems to make a world of difference.

    I hope it works out for your DD. Its hard seeing and experiencing your children having these experiences.

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    Kalina (18-01-2021)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    I did read it before you deleted, awful. I'm really sorry your niece went through that.
    I don't know if schools don't take this stuff seriously enough, or if teachers aren't taught the skills to identify and deal with problems early. Maybe it's hard to tell when the line is crossed.
    We're often so powerless. We're not allowed to tell a kid they're being an ars3hole and kids like this are sneaky. As you saw, they often get others to do their bidding and it's lots and lots of little things (like the jeering about a past incident). So their 'book' stays fairly clean in terms of what they have actually done. As a teacher/school, this then makes it so hard to discipline them as it's just lots of tiny things (and we usually only get told about 1/10th of them).

    The last time I had one of these kids, I called them on their lies and sneakiness early on.

    I was then bullied by their parent for the rest of the year. Each time I was going to tell the child off, I had to decide if it was worth it as 100% it would mean I'd have their nasty piece of work parent on my classroom doorstep after school. So I'd have to decide if the reprimand was worth losing 20-30 minutes of my day and being left trembling in anger.

    I know I sound like a bit of a wimp saying this, but I've got some PTSD like stuff still hanging around from the experience.


    Anyhow, back to your issue. A lot of parents throw around the 'b-word' a bit too liberally. In your case this definitely fits the bill as bullying. It is ongoing and specifically directed at your DD.

    Make an appointment to talk to the teacher as early as possible. Just explain that your DD hadn't said anything about it until the holidays. Share your 1st hand experience of what you saw at the party too. Then it's not he said/she said.

    As already suggested, also work with your DD on not reacting. I had to do a fair bit of this with DD in grade 6 as one of the kids was just getting relentless. The school was very, (implied, not said in these words), "that child has ADHD, we can't control anything they do". I'd already hit a brick wall with the school in grade 4 when a group of girls turned on her, so I wasn't holding up much hope.

    DD got better at ignoring, turning it into a joke, etc and the boy quickly moved on to find his next victim.

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    Kalina (18-01-2021)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    I did read it before you deleted, awful. I'm really sorry your niece went through that.
    I don't know if schools don't take this stuff seriously enough, or if teachers aren't taught the skills to identify and deal with problems early. Maybe it's hard to tell when the line is crossed.
    One issue my sister had with my niece was the she didn't fit the stereotypical mould of a child who has been bullied / target for bullying. She is very confident and self assured. The bully in this instance did not present as a stereotypical bully either - she was very withdrawn. Manipulative, but withdrawn. I think this clouded the issue somewhat. The school also tried to reinforce getting the kids to resolve conflict themselves, however this particular girl my niece was dealing with has a lot of red flags for serious mental health issues that the parents were not addressing. There was a history and she had been pulled out of another school because the parents did not believe the teachers at the other school when they raised concerns about her mental health and behaviour and advised them to take her to a child psychologist (the mother of the other girl told my sister that was why they switched schools).

    So having said that, I think it is a good idea for you to bring the issue up with this year's teacher and get them to keep an eye on the situation. Easier said than done if they aren't in the same class and only encounter each other in the playground. On the flipside not being in the same class means that encounters are minimised as well and it may fizzle out, but the fact that he had the ability to rally the other kids into turning on your DD is very concerning and I think it needs to be monitored closely (my niece went through similar with the girl at her school). I think one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to believe your DD and advocate on her behalf (the earlier the better). Also talk to your DD and reinforce to her that she did nothing wrong.

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