What To Do About Bullying???

OK ladies, I need your help here. Blake is having a persistent problem with kids bullying him at school. Not physical bullying, but just being mean to him and it’s totally breaking my heart. As a mother, it just kills you when your child comes home upset because kids are being mean to him and you don’t know how to fix it. Naturally, my first instinct is to charge on down there and give those kids and those teachers a piece of my mind, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the way to go about it.

In the past, I have reported the problem to the teachers (he has two teachers who job-share) and the Principal as well. They are supposed to have an anti-bullying policy, but I don’t see them doing a lot about it. Two kids did get suspended for flipping him off at one point, and she talked to a couple of them, but that’s about it. 

In fact, the Principal had the nerve to say that it was Blake’s fault that these kids were picking on him. He’s got seven or eight different kids from his class being rotten to him and it’s all his fault – yeah right! I do know that the Mom on the next street removed her daughter from the school completely because of similar bullying issues last year, so I guess I’m not the only one who thinks that they don’t handle this issue very well.

I think there are a couple of factors here – one is that he’s kind of the “new” kid still. We moved into this neighborhood during the last few weeks of 3rd grade last year, so by then the kids were already established in their little “groups” and it was hard for him to make friends. The other factor is that he’s physically and emotionally more like a 3rd grader than a 4th grader and I think that makes him a target for bullying. Also, he does have some behavior problems in the classroom. He’s got ADHD and he has a hard time sitting still and not talking out and when the teachers criticize him, I think that just makes him a target for the kids to be critical of him too.

The issue right now is kind of an ADHD issue. They had the kids seated into groups and he and some of the other boys were talking and the other boys got moved. They decided it was Blake’s fault for some reason and now they’re all mad at him. It’s doubly hurtful because these kids were all the ones he thought were his friends. Several of them have been around to the house for play time and they’ve been the ones who were willing to play with him and now they’re not. They’re ignoring him, calling him names, playing mean with him and just generally doing anything they can to make him miserable.

Another issue was the whole birthday party thing. We had invited all these boys to his birthday party last week, but none of them showed up. To be fair, some of them were going out of town for the holiday weekend, but not a single parent called to acknowledge the invitation or RSVP and I don’t know if the kids didn’t come because of that or because they were mad at him.

However, there was one kid who was really making a stink over Blake’s birthday. He couldn’t come to the party because he was going to be out of town, so he decided that we needed to bring him to the new Indiana Jones movie with us on Blake’s birthday night. I thought that was kind of pushy. You know the old “I’ll be your friend…” routine, only this kid took it a step further. He decided that if he didn’t get his way, he was going to be as mean and nasty as he could to try and intimidate Blake into getting us to bring him.

Well, after hearing all this, I should have just called his Mom and talked to her about it, but instead I told Blake that this boy probably wasn’t his friend after all and that he needed to stop acting like such a “jerk” and if he would start being a better friend, we might consider bringing him. Well, that was probably a big mistake because now the kid is mad because he thinks I called him a jerk and we ended up taking another boy anyway because he was being so nasty, so now there’s a bit of retaliation for that too. I am so bad at dealing with conflict like this. It’s hard enough to deal with adult conflict, but I don’t even know where to start with kid conflicts.

At this point, there’s less than a week of school left, so I’m tempted to just let it run it’s course, but Blake is so miserable, it just breaks my heart to see him feeling so bad. As you know, I’m a big positive thinker, so I’m trying to get him to concentrate on the nice kids in the class and the few kids who are still willing to play with him, but I know that’s hard to do with these other kids all up in his face all the time. He just didn’t have problems like this last year. I don’t know if he was just with kids he had known for a long time and they were more accepting of him, or if kids just get a lot more aggressive as they get older. Now I’m wondering what we can expect in the 5th and 6th grades…

I really need your help here ladies. Have any of you had problems like this and if so, what did you do about it?

Update: Well, I went to the school and had a talk with the teacher. She thinks I’m over-reacting and I should just let the kids work it out. She said that she hadn’t really seen anything unusual going on between the boys and that this was just normal daily drama. 

She actually said that I should tell Blake to “grow a backbone”. She basically made me feel like I was being a “smother” rather than a mother. She wasn’t unkind or anything, but she was rather direct and now I feel like a real idiot for making such a fuss. Especially when we went to a school event tonight and he was playing just fine with these same boys who were supposedly making his life “miserable”.

I dunno. It’s hard when you’re so removed from the situation and you can’t really see the problems from first hand. I have to rely on what Blake tells me and I don’t know if I always get the full story from him or if I get the over-dramatized version because he knows I’ll feel sorry for him. Oh well, at least the school year is almost over – whew!

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