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Question
Posted by: Lin | 2011-10-12

Helping son deal with bully

My son is the youngest in his grade R class. His birthday is the 13th of December. He''ll then turn 6. He has a bully in his class that terrorises the whole class but especially my son. This bully once got hold of the teachers knife that she uses to cut the kids'' apples, ect. and threatened to kill another boy. My son now have nightmares and he''s truly scared of this boy. This child has been misbehaving since day one but always manages to get away with it. I''m now fed up! Last night my son asked me what I''d do if the bully actually stabbed him with a pen which he treatened to do yesterday when the teacher stepped out of class for a while. How do I help my child deal with this kind of kid?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Firstly, this kid is more than a bully, he sounds like an uncontrolled potentially psychopathic brute who can endanger children and perhaps even teachers. He must be formally reported to the teacher, the headmaster, and perhaps the person in the city council and local government responsible for education. Such behaviour absolutely must not be tolerated.
Maria's comments are useful in relation to "ordinary" bullying, but not the out-of-control kid who enjoys hurting and frightening others.
Emotional bullying can be dealt with in the way she describes, as well as ensuring that the teachers do their absolute duty and exert control over bullies. But with the threats of serious physical violence, this goes beyond that.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Nonni | 2011-10-12

Follow the proper channels, doing it yourself, if you threaten to kill somebody can land you in serious trouble - and you are sending totally the wrong message to your child

Reply to Nonni
Posted by: Queen | 2011-10-12

I am by no means a violent person. I don''t believe in it and I don''t condone it. But sometimes its the only language some people understand!
A mother in UK ended up threatening her kids bullies with a baseball bat. This was after she had reported the matter to the police that her son is being abused by bullies at school. No one did anything to help from the teachers to the police.

There is no system in place to tackle bullying in schools. Kids feel alone and some even resort to suicide. So until someone is willing and capable to protect your son out there, I suggest to you do it yourself

Reply to Queen
Posted by: Nonni | 2011-10-12

Lin, If the school is not prepared to act, then you definitely need to take it higher. Everybody is right that your child, and all the others are in danger. Boys bumping heads is not a sattisfactory explanation and the school is letting this child get away with murder.

Reply to Nonni
Posted by: Maria | 2011-10-12

If all else fails and you get no joy from the school, complain to the department of Education.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2011-10-12

My mom ran the aftercare centre at our local primary school for 18 years. One day a dad who was in the SAPS walked in just as one boy shoved another one to the floor. He cornered the perpetrator and told him that what he just did was assault, and he could be arrested. This quickly brought about a change in behaviour.

Lin I think you need to act strongly because it sounds as if your boy might be in actual danger. Are there other parents who will go with you to see the teacher and principal? Strength in numbers.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Lin | 2011-10-12

Thanks ladies, it''s so hard as I tought him to just walk away and then the emotional abuse turned into physical threats.
The teacher says that my son and this other boy always " bump heads" . This might be because I told my son to not go near this boy or let this boy come near him.
The parents have been called to school on numerous occasions, but I suspect they are friends of someone at the school or something because this child always gets away with all this stuff.
I''ve made another appointment with my son''s teacher to speak to her and also to ask whether something can''t be done about this because I''m now starting to get really fed up!

Reply to Lin
Posted by: Maria | 2011-10-12

Lin, look at the library for books on dealing with bullies. At our local library there are some helpful age appropriate books on the subject.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2011-10-12

The school should really be dealing with this, have other parents complained to the principal about this kid? If enough people raise the issue then the scool have to take action.

If the bullying is mostly emotional you can teach your child to walk away, or laugh at the other guy, or tell him " I may be small / have funny ears / whatever, but you have no manners and nobody likes you" . I coached my daughter through this situation in grade 1 and she managed to deal with it and the bullying stopped.

The threat of physical violence makes this very difficult to deal with, especially as a knife or even a pen can do real damage. No 5 year old should have to deal with that kind of threat, it''s the teacher''s job. While I don''t advocate teaching a child to use violence to resolve problems there is nothing wrong with defending yourself. Maybe sign him up for karate, or some sort of self defence class? If nothing else it should boost his self confidence.

One has to wonder what happens in this other kid''s home to make him threaten class mates with a knife at the age of 6.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Queen | 2011-10-12

Go to school (preferably during break time), ask your son to show you the culprit. Go to that boy and tell him as clear as you possibly can, that if for whatever reason, he even gets close to your son you''ll hunt him down and you''ll kill him! Mean what you say.

My son was also bullied at school. He would come back with swollen eyes and bruises on the body. The boy who bullied him was the same age as him. So I told him to fight back. He fought back and the bullying stopped! Teachers can''t be with our kids all the time, so I had to do something.

Reply to Queen
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-10-12

Firstly, this kid is more than a bully, he sounds like an uncontrolled potentially psychopathic brute who can endanger children and perhaps even teachers. He must be formally reported to the teacher, the headmaster, and perhaps the person in the city council and local government responsible for education. Such behaviour absolutely must not be tolerated.
Maria's comments are useful in relation to "ordinary" bullying, but not the out-of-control kid who enjoys hurting and frightening others.
Emotional bullying can be dealt with in the way she describes, as well as ensuring that the teachers do their absolute duty and exert control over bullies. But with the threats of serious physical violence, this goes beyond that.

Reply to cybershrink

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