Monday, 18 January 2010

Bullying: Being a Prize Idiot

 The Boy said he didn’t want to go to school last night. I really did not know what to say and so in desperation suggested perhaps it would be nice to see his special friends. He said he didn’t want to play with anyone and anyway no one would want to play with him.
I just wanted to burst into tears.

The litany of minor pettiness goes on and I can quite see why my eldest has no wish to go to school. He’s told me that he can’t play with certain boys even if Effy isn’t playing with them himself because when he does Effy comes over and he has to leave. But it seems Effy isn’t even satisfied with that. When The Boy and his friend were playing “Power Rangers” Effy ran past and said they were babyish.
If The Boy proudly announces that his Grandpa lets him help clean his shotgun after a days shooting Effy must say his father’s is better or his grandfathers is, or that he has his own gun. It seems that at every given opportunity The Boy is being put down.
On Friday I found out that Effy is even making sure that all the teachers know when The Boy does something wrong by drawing their attention to it. There was the incident in the loo just before lunch where the Boy, Effy and one other had gone to wash their hands etc. The Boy said he and the other landed up play wrestling to see who was the stronger. Effy said he’d tell the teacher that they were fighting. The teacher asked what had happened and the other said that he had accidentally banged past The Boy and that The Boy had then thumped him. Unfortunately when the teacher asked The Boy he gave two contradictory answers. Probably I would have done too by being flustered. But there again Effy said what the other had said was true – the awful thing is perhaps it was. But, and there is a but here, my boy isn’t aggressive like that. Bog Boy my youngest would hit back but not my eldest.
It was a one off incidence I thought. But the following day The Boy was, by his own admission grumpy and during Singing did not join in. Effy immediately brought it to the teacher’s attention luckily she told Effy to stop being a Tattle Tale and as far as the rest of the day went it seemed without incident.
He is perceptive and knows something is not quite right. I glean as much as I can from passing comments rather than immediately launching into what has Effy done today. He volunteers a lot many of it unconsciously because as he keeps telling me he does not want to get Effy into trouble. As far as The Boy is concerned although I am talking to the teachers, I haven’t identified anyone. I feel awful hat I have broken that trust.
It would be good if the effects of the bullying were just at school. But they are not. Behaviour that I had put down as him being tired, being a small boy etc or even attributed to his epilepsy I find fit the behaviour of a child that is being bullied. And it has been going on for ages. His inability to stop wetting his bed, his weepiness, his moodiness and lack of confidence. I am a prize idiot for not putting two and two together. For my naivety that because he is at a private school with small classes that he would be better protected against this sort of thing when in fact I believe the worse to be true.
I have SO let him down.
I promise I am going to get this sorted and I pray I do it right. II have found the most marvellous website so for any of you whoever have to go through this. Go here first:


Crystal Jigsaw said...

Oh, sweet Tattie. You have so not let him down. You aren't psychic are you? You are a lovely mum with a beautiful son who is experiencing something we, as parents, hope and pray our children will never go through. You know it has to stop and your determination will make it stop. The teachers and the head need to be brought up to date with what is happening and you have to stand your ground. Perhaps ask other parents at school if their child has experienced similar; you might be surprised.

You know the boy doesn't need stress. Neither do you.

Take care, CJ xx

Tattie Weasle said...

Ph CJ thnak you so much I am going nearly nuts here: I have been hopless about saying thnak you to everyone who has commented on my other blogs and I just want iot to be over - in fcat I just want it to be not there at all!

Grit said...

i've heard some pretty awful stories of bullying; where i've seen kids do it, it seems to be to create or exploit feelings of vulnerability in another, in order to feel powerful as a result. then the bully can continue to exploit the power difference they've helped bring about. the bully is the weak one : the bullied becomes the broken one. it's a horrible cycle, and very difficult to stop.

i would recommend working with the school at first as much as you can: asking them to make sure that every teacher knows about the issue.

I found bullying was going on in my classroom, but the head of year hadn't warned me about that situation, so i didn't know not to look out for it, not to allow the kids to sit together, stuff like that, until of course the situation became apparent to me. Lots of bullies work under the radar, and some of it may well go unnoticed by staff. But if the staff know in advance, they can act more effectively.

(i also worked in a school with terrible communications and little support, which is difficult for parents to know about on the surface, so maybe find out how staff communicate on bullied children, and what practical support is available in the classroom where incidents may be taking place.)

i guess you have to continue calmly to pursue all lines of inquiry into the school until you feel you have exhausted every angle. i have to say that is usually the point at which, if it doesn't stop, parents take matters into their own hands. some, literally, with a baseball bat.

Tattie Weasle said...
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Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Tattie, it seems from your post that you are ABSOLUTELY doing the right thing as a parent: you are listening to him, he is able to confide in you (that's a fantastic thing as many children don't tell anyone)and you are acting on the information. Hope the meeting goes well on Wednesday.
He is a lucky boy having such a lovely, caring mum xx

Mud in the City said...

You have absolutely NOT let him down. An dyou have not broken trust. He is a little boy you are a caring mother. You wouldn't be human if you didn't want to protect him and you are doing the right thing in talking to the school about things. As a private school you are very much the consumer and if you don't feel they are giving due care and attention you are within your rights to talk to whomsoevre might help. Does your son have a teacher he really rates and thinks highly of who might be a useful person to talk to rather than the class teacher?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You haven't let your son down and none of this is your fault .
Keep talking to the school , even if their eyes glaze over .
And show unbridled enthusiasm for Power Ranger games and little boys who play them . Could you ask this child home to play after school with your son's co-operation ? Perhaps you could ask child's mother for coffee too ?
You have to bypass bully's stranglehold and then your son will lose his belief in BB's ability to win .

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

Oh Tattie, that sounds awful... I haven't had to face this situation yet (they are only 3yo and 18 mo) but I am dreading the idea... I just wanted to wish you good luck and I hope it will get sorted very soon and become a distant memory quickly x

Suffolkmum said...

Hey Tattie - I chanced across this as I am trying to gently ease myself back into blogging by reading one or two a day .... so sorry to read about this situation.First - IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Second - don't panic. I don't mean that it's not to be taken seriously, of course it is and it sounds like you are doing the right thing, but this will not last forever, it CAN get better and the boy will not be a victim all his life. It is deeply unpleasant but I do know from experience that at this age things can change and turn around very quickly and children of his age are so very resilient. The important thing I would say is that you and he are communicating so well. I remember a similar thing happening to me at school and I was too ashamed to tell my parents, although I was close to them - I wanted them to think everything was fine and that I could handle everything, because somehow that made it true (admittedly I was older). So keep talking and showing him that you have confidence in him. I remember reading something that said that if child had even one person they could confide in, it made such a difference. Good luck with the school.

Pam said...

Tatttie, you might be pleased to know that school bullying took up the entire meal time conversation at dinner tonight, instigated by daughter,with husband and I having our say. Wildly divergent stances, me with a zero tolerance policy for bullies, she feeling that she had learnt resilience in later life by dealing with it herself at high school level, husband's view as a high school teacher, was focus on the victim and reinforcing and building his/her coping and confidence and self esteem mechanisms( as bullies, particularly in the work force, don't really change or actually have any desire to.)Bullies know their behaviour is not acceptable. Their attitude seems to be "...and I care, how?". Revenge, getting angry at them (or the situation) is water off a duck's back.Daughter thought that worse than bullies, were the circle of silent observers who let it happen without intervention or comment. MY thoughts on that were " not worse than, as bad as." The fact that he is in junior school means now laying strong foundations for dealing with this alarming but common aspect of human behaviour(which I stand firm should not have to be tolerated at all).I know you are tired of it, but these kinds of people are thick on the ground across the globe unfortunately. Build up his dear little resilience muscles, and good luck to him.He sounds like a good kid, and you have not let him down- you're a great Mum.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Look at the comments! They say everything so well... especially the fact that you are such a GOOD mother. Keep talking to your lovely boy and keep talking to the school. Tell them its not getting better. And when that doesnt work, tell them again.
Bless his heart... bullying is just the worst thing. You feel it in your bones, both your boy and you. Ghastly. Glad you found that website. Thinking of you and praying that it will all pass. xxxxx

Nicola said...

Oh this situation is so horrible. I really feel for you. As mothers we have such a sense of responsibility and I can only imagine the feelings of helplessness.

I wish I could be of help but I have nothing useful to suggest. I haven't encountered this situation yet with either boy, although I am probably bound to at some point. I remember reading somewhere about anti-bullying programmes that were in place in some schools, which were really focusing on developing key empathy skills and team building. The programmes were really successful in diminishing this type of behaviour.

Best of luck - thinking of you x

Glenland Ladybird said...

Big hug from another worrying mother, cyber bullying (Facebook) in my child's case.

Tattie Weasle said...
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