Recently, I wrote a post about celebrating great progress. My son had been exited from Special Education and everyone was thrilled by his 5 months of consistent success at school. I was feeling quite confident about the progress, so I wrote about it. Two days later…things changed. It seems that The Universe has a funny way of reminding me that we still experience emotionally intense days.
Last Friday, my son felt that another student was teasing him. Although my son has a sharp tongue, he doesn’t take teasing well. There was a situation in the lunch room with a “friend of my REAL friend” and a physical argument took place. When I asked my son what happened, he said that the boy was teasing him and wouldn’t stop. My TBP said that he wanted the boy to know that he could not tease him again or he would “get it.” Actually, the one who “got it” was my son. He spent the day with the principal because he was the one that took the argument to the next level. Sigh…
I reminded my son that had he used his words, he would not have been in trouble. He was convinced that the boy would now “know better and stay away from him.” If only!
The unfortunate part about that situation, was that my son came home almost giddy that day. He spoke about how he got so much work done being in the principal’s office and how thrilled he was that no one interrupted his reading. He was able to finish his Pirate’s of the Caribbean book and even move on to a new book. He seemed refreshed, instead of his normal tired self. He did not seem to understand that the time in the office was meant as a punishment and NOT as a reward. The fact that he was glad that “none of the children could distract” him was a bit concerning and I hoped that this reaction didn’t result in a repeat performance.
Not even a week later, I got a phone call from the school that there had been another situation between my TBP and that same boy. Again, instead of using his words, my son reacted impulsively and physically. My son spent time in the office; however, he was not left to independently work. Instead, there was a long discussion with the school counselor and “The Taunter.” This was not nearly as appealing to my son as his previous office experience.
I think this was time well spent and according to my son, the two boys have worked out their differences. We also spent time as a family reviewing what “to do” and “not to do” when this happens again. I don’t mean to be negative by saying “when this happens again”… it is just that whether it is this boy or another student, there will be other times where someone says something that upsets my son. He must learn how to react appropriately by walking away, using his words, or asking for help.
We are hopeful that this was just a blip on the radar instead of a new trend. I ask you supportive and wise readers…How do you teach your child to ignore or react appropriately to teasing?
What about the other child? What happened to him? Was he spoken to? I don’t advocate violence but the fact that TBP feels confident to stand up for himself is a good thing – in my opinion.
I agree that the other student should be spoken to, I think that he was… but there wasn’t the same focus on the other student’s behavior.
I am concerned that this proves to this boy ( and those watching) how easily my son’s buttons can be pushed. Good or bad, he will always give a reaction…at least for now.
It also might show that the is not a push over. I hope the administration does not automatically look at your son because of his history.
I think you are right and I worry about that often. 😦
I have some of the same concerns. It has been a rough school year. I wrote about it here: http://larrydbernstein.com/not-so-independent/
Thanks so much for sharing!!
This is a hard one! If it makes you (and myself) feel any better… I recently read that those kids that beat to their own drum and don’t confirm, end up being the most successful entrepreneurs :). Someday our creative thinkers, rule breakers, nonconformists will be celebrated! Until then…we breathe.
They bring on grief when young and support when old?
Well, that is something to look forward to.
We have struggled for 2 years with name calling, teasing and fighting. I think I am now the super annoying parent at two schools. My son has reacted in both good and bad ways and been in the office each time. I feel that keeping the communication open so they talk to you is key. We can talk it over at home and he knows he is not loved any less and that we support him. I am also very involved in the school (not in the classroom, but events) so I usually hear through all the other kids what is going on and get to know kids better.
Two years?! Ugh!
I agree that being able to talk with my son is key. It is always hard to see our kids making the same mistakes again and again! Unfortunately, my son’s reaction makes him an easy target. I hope this changes with maturity 🙂
I should have clarified that I don’t live in a progressive place that does anything about this so we are dealing with Neanderthals!! I agree maturity will help. One of my son’s friends told him, “Don’t believe what you’re not”. Not sure if its what he said or that it was a peer, but it seemed to help him.
It is really hard when the grown ups don’t seem to understand the whole picture!! Although I hate to say it (as an educator myself) I think that if an incident happens and my son is involved-there are many that will believe that he is at fault-no matter what. He is one if those kids that everyone knows (not always in a good way) and assumptions are made 😦
I think if something had gone to the physical in school…especially for school staff to be “concerned”…then it is serious enough to be thoroughly investigated. And…If they are to have the mindset of truly stopping “violence and bullying” then to identify the TRULY guilty person (the AGGRESSOR and NOT the asserter…and NO…both in a fight are NOT always guilty. It is almost always an asserter against an aggressor)…then video recording surveillance cameras throughout the school (expense no longer a valid excuse…very inexpensive now) would be installed. Any administrator worthy of his/her job would have already installed them.
How easy it is to blame both participants in a scuffle and be done with it. Both are guilty…not OUR fault! Even worse… is to speculate and to automatically blame their choice of the wrongdoer without KNOWING.
EVERYONE has the right…the sacred duty…to fight against oppression…domination…through various means. It is the bully who is wrong. It is all of the otherwise good people who go “Monkey” (see no evil…hear no evil…speak no evil) who do and say nothing out of fear for themselves who allow the bullying to continue. It is the silent administrators who should not have the responsibility of bully identification put onto the students (although it is still no less their duty)…they simply don’t care. They are of the incompetent…elitist (they feel themselves untouchable in their small fiefdom. They are of the many in so many of our public institutions). In a private company…they would have been fired long ago.
Me…Angry? NO….Morally outraged. To have our children in the sacred trust of an educational institution and to have them pretend that there is nothing more for them to do about children preying upon one another is inexcusable. A place where children must suffer ANY indignation is where children are not going to learn to their potential…period.
And no…I was not the victim of constant bullying. Don’t get me wrong…there were numerous attempts…I just fought back (usually a jab to the nose solved things quite nicely). The schools were investigatory in attitude. I was never punished in the slightest because I was always in the moral right. I was always the asserter…never the aggressor. Now days…the bullied child has no where to turn. If he doesn’t fight back…he will be tormented relentlessly. Should he fight back…he would be punished by the ones who should have protected him in the first place. This further emboldens the bully…he knows of the no win situation the other child is in…and so he gets away with intimidation on a wide scale.
I say…good for your son. He will one day grow up to be a MAN. One who stands up for himself…and all that is right. He will one day have to be able to do that for his family. Where many would have gone “monkey”….you son is of the correct moral fiber….you have reason to be proud of him.
I always love your insight and thoughtful comments!
It seems that the women in our lives are upset by my son turning physical and the men’s opinions seem to be focused on the importance of him standing up for himself. It makes me wonder if because elementary schools are largely women, if this is seen differently than say…at a high school where there might be more men teachers.
My son is a good boy with a good heart. Do I want him to use his words to explain himself, yes but when he feels that someone continually pokes him to the point that he reacts, then I tend to agree more with the men 🙂
BTW…I continue to follow the great successes in your home! I know it is hard work and determination and I am so happy that your son is doing so incredibly well!
Thank you very much. Always remember…it is usually the introverts who are picked on. Because they are quiet…they are seen as weak. They are unusually sensitive, observant, and they tend to think deeply. Because they see many things (that others do not)…many don’t feel the need to say what they think is naturally implied. They think others see and feel the same as they do because it comes naturally to them. A kind hearted person doesn’t wish to impose himself on others.
He certainly doesn’t wish to dominate others. He may start out slowly…but he is the one who usually finishes strong. He eventually overtakes the extroverts because he develops himself from the inside out. His true talents have time to mature and he seeks to master them instead of developing them just enough to impress others.
The introvert loves his solitude because it gives him time to work on himself…and those things which are important to him.
Introverts also inherently realize that the more one talks…the less one observes. The less one observes and reasons out…the less one learns.
An introvert also realizes that a few deep friendships are far better than many surface ones. He is fine waiting for the great friendships in his future instead of artificially pushing that what shouldn’t be in the first place.
I say…give me the kind hearted and observant person every time. It is a sign of a truly intelligent person…and the type of person with whom a true friendship has depth and meaning.
Although I am not religious…I think the attributes of an introvert encompass the true meaning of “The meek shall inherit the Earth”.
Thank you for these kind and supportive words. My sweet boy is highly introverted and self aware about his needs for recovery after school and on the weekends. Thank you 🙂
I think there is a lot of wisdom in Shiroi’s thoughts regarding bullying, and understanding the difference between being a aggressor and merely standing up for yourself. With my son, however, it is oftentimes difficult to figure out the true context of what happened. When my son claims other kids were being mean to him, we often piece together information that makes us think that he was just jealous because he did something that lead to him being punished while the other students were not. Fortunately, at my son’s school, the students get so much supervision that it is hard to imagine bullying going unnoticed. In your son’s case, I think it would be good to find out, if possible, the full context. Was the other boy the taunter? Or did both boys go back and forth for awhile (perhaps over many days) before your son reacted the way he did? Regardless, I think it is good to teach both kids how to work out differences by using words before fists. And it is good that the second trip to the principal’s office was not seen as a respite by your son.
Fully understanding what happens at school during recess and lunch time , has proven to be a bit tricky. I believe that my son struggles during these times and could be more sensitive because of it. I do believe that my son felt “taunted” but I think that he was also challenged by the fact that this other boy is also interested in playing with a boy that my son considers “his friend” and that complicates it.
Apparently, they spent a great deal of time problem solving with the help if the school counselor and they now have an understanding.
Thank you for your continued support and thoughtful comments 🙂