Thursday, November 15, 2007

My heart just sunk...

It's not often that I publicly admit that I am feeling sad or blue, but today is quite the exception. I normally try to keep my blog posts upbeat with a light touch of humor, but I feel so much anxiety about the following situation, that I thought I would put my saddening problem out on the blogger world and see what advice I get back.

Problem: I left our new home today to meet George afterschool at grandma's house. When I arrived, George was standing across the street at the neighbor's house. He was in the yard talking with the little girl his age and her mother. As I pulled up I could see that he was clearly upset. George climbed into the van, and with tears rolling down his cheeks he mumbled through broken sobs, "the boys are mean to me." To find out more about what he was so sad about, I rolled down my window and asked the neighbor girl what happened. She informed me that the other boy they walk to school with everyday had started teasing George. George asked the boy to stop many times and told the boy that he didn't like what the boy was doing. Apparently this started happening over the last week, and today it escalated to other boys joining in. The first boy was incouraging the other boys to tease George as well. George told me how the first boy started by calling him names and telling him that he didn't like George, and today the first boy got a group of older boys to join in.

George was so upset and he didn't know what to do. I too feel upset because I am not sure that I know what to do either. I told George to just tell the boy to stop and if he doesn't to walk away and not walk home with that boy. I practiced with George a few times so he would know what to say to that boy. What should I do to make sure this bullying stops before it catches on? Please share all your advice, I feel at a total loss.

15 SPLURTS:

karina said...

Poor little George! I can't believe kids his age act like that! Do you know who the parents are? Maybe you could find out who the parents are and address the problem with them
before the bullying escalates. Good luck with all that! Tell George to be brave and don't listen to the mean things the kids say.

Leslie said...

How sad! That sounds like more than a little teasing - it sounds like a bully has targeted him (especially since the bully got older kids involved who should know better) and probably won't let up with a nice request. If you know the kid (or multiple kids)and the kid's parents, I'd go have a talk with them asap and explain that this isn't acceptable. Bullys can make life miserable for kids and start to affect their grades, self-esteem, etc. p.s. We're coming down there Saturday - want me to sic Troy on them, ha ha?

But seriously - I'd hunt the bully down and nip this in the bud quickly.

OHANA said...

I agree totally with leslie, I would go and find that boy's mom and let them know what happened. Or your could conveniently run into this parent and bring it up then. Or maybe you should just sick Troy on them. hee hee I like that Idea best. Would the teacher do anything at recess or something. Maybe she could intervene? I hate bullys

Slacker Mom said...

Erin, the school is very big on NO bullying so I would talk with his teacher about it. If any of this happens on the school grounds then the school needs to know about it. The teachers and administration are usually really good to deal with in situations like this.

If you don't know the bully's parents then you may be able to get their number from George's teacher. If the problem is happening on school grounds I bet my George would be willing to go and pick your George up from class and walk with him. My George would probably love that.

This is the way that the kids learn about bullying at school. If someone is doing something you don't like first you ask them to stop, then you TELL them to stop and if they don't stop then go get an adult. It sounds like George is handling it the best way he knows how and now it's time to bring in the adults. (((hugs to you and George))).

Carterista said...

Slacker Mom, Are you a r.a.d.KIDS Instructor? I told Erin the same thing yesterday. Good advice!

The kids' parents should know that if their kid is standing around just watching, then they are enabling the bully. They need to stand up for the other kid, but they need to learn how. Firmly tell the bully to stop, then tell the kid he can walk/play with you instead, etc.

Our principal said today that if the bullying is affecting how the the kid feels at school, the school can get involved.

Sorry to be so verbose, but I'd love to have a little "talk" with those meanies. Keep in touch.

Tammy said...

Ew...these kinds of situations just STINK!! The very non-confrontational me really can't stand the thought of having to approach the parents, but, it's the only way to go. The thing that bothers me is, sometimes the parents of the bullies are the biggest enablers and end up doing nothing to help the situation. They have to be told, though. Most of the time it works. A couple of weeks ago some older, bigger boys that were playing in the empty lots next door started to say mean things to Nicholas and then started throwing sticks at him! I was so upset! All Nick wanted to do was make friends with them and talk! I had the pleasure of tracking down the parents (who are complete strangers to me, which makes it easier) and explain the situation. To their credit, they went right out and delt with the problem, and it hasn't happened since. You be sure and give George big hugs for being brave enough to tell what was going on. Like I said, not my favorite thing to do, but when it comes to your kids, Big Mama Bear comes out!

James Family said...

I can't believe that! Too bad we couldn't get some local boys from out here teach them a lesson! I think those boys need a little sasa if you ask me!!! No, but really, the advice about talking to the school I think is really important. Notify George's teacher to be on the look-out for it and also the school couselor I think...man...that just isn't fun to deal with. George is such a nice boy and doesn't deserve that!

haley said...

Since you have already gotten lots of good advice, I will tell you what I would want to do...hide in the bushes while they all walk home from school, and when they get near, jump out and give them a good scare/talkin' to. Although I am sure you have already given him lots of hugs, give him another one for us. I dread the day I have to go through this myself...

Peggy said...

That is really terrible! Sadly, Kyle has gone through this a lot (one of the pitfalls of being a bigger kid), so I asked him what he does. He said he makes a comment like "What was that whispering sound? Ah, I think it must be the wind," then he walks off.

Being a non-confrontational mom myself, I also have a hard time going to the parents. I find it helps to enlist the help of a stong (emotionally) kid that walks with them. Just ask him/her if he/she will stand up for George if it happens again. Maybe suggest that they say "Hey, don't say that to my friend!" then put their arm around him and walk a little away from the mean kids. Bullies don't usually continue when they are up against more than one kid.

Also, I have explained to Kyle reasons that bullies act the way they do (because they are having problems at home, things like that), and that helps him to understand that they are acting out because of their own problems, so he doesn't take it so personally.

Jason,Tiffany, & the Crew said...

Erin, I think you have already gotten the best advice, but I just want to tell you what a GREAT MOM YOU ARE! The fact that you took the time to really discuss the problem with George, and even role play with him shows HIM how much he is loved and valued. You have already done wonders for him just by being there. What a lucky little guy to have such wonderful parents! -Tiff

JayandCassandra said...

Looks like you got some great advice already, stuff I'll keep in the back of mind for when my little guy is older. Keep us posted on how it turns out. And please tell George that I think he is amazing and I miss him sooooooo much!

kellieanne said...

Seth has had to deal with stuff like this a good portion of growing up. All the advice you have received is right on the mark. I think the best thing for Seth was to have a few good friends that look out for him and won't let others treat him poorly. Of course they are not always around and Seth has to work it through himself. He has a hard time expressing his feelings on anything so you are lucky George will talk with you. Keep encouraging that!

kami said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kami said...

Erin-

As a little girl I was bullied and teased relentlessly because of my birth-defect. It never got better. Still to this day I get grief on a regular basis about it.

The best thing my parents ever did was to build up my confidence at home and encourage and support the good friendships I had.

Invite George's nice friends over to play. Encourage them to "stick together." Just as this bully will be "rallying his troups" George should have back up too.

Let him know that every kid who bullies, has bigger problems than he does and they will keep doing it as long as he is reacting to it.

"Whatever" is the greatest word I have ever learned. Being able to walk away with out reacting to bullies was one of my stregths. But, I knew I had friends and that it didn't matter what anyone else said.

Good luck with all this...as a mom, this will probably scar you more than George. :)

(P.S.---I need your new address, if you want a Christmas Card. )

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