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Should I do something, or am I overreacting?

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Some background on my situation - my ds is 10, almost 11, in the 5th grade.  We've moved recently, so he's at a new school this year, in a large metropolitan city.  He's made some friends, but no one that he would call a best friend at school.

For the last few months, he's been telling me that some kids have been teasing him on the playground during recess, about his physical appearance.  There's nothing really to be teased about (he has a cleft in his chin, that's what they're teasing about), so I figure it's just kids being kids.  I've tried to explain that to him, telling him to just laugh along with them, and to try and walk away.  Now I find out that recently, when he tries to walk away, the kids follow him, and poke him repeatedly, and continue with the teasing.  He has finally told me what is upsetting him at school, and that would explain to me why he has been telling me lately that he doesn't feel well and thinks he should stay home from school.  He has begged me not to say anything to his teachers or his school, but this morning I finally had to make his teacher aware of it.  It is breaking my heart as a mother to watch my son go through this.

So my questions are: is this just kids being kids, or is this bullying?  How do I handle it, either way?  What advice do I give my son - laugh, walk away?  Try and say something witty and teasing back?  At what point do I get more serious with the school?

Thanks ladies, for any advice you have.  XOXO  Lori

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 7:14 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:25 AM
1 mom liked this

Eh I disagree with most of you.  Bullying is unrelenting and occurs every single day, often at various times of the day or all day.  I think these kids found a good victim for their typical childhood teasing because it gets a rise out of him.   Going to the teacher is one thing and probably fine so she can keep a closer eye, but I have to STRONGLY disagree with the above recommendations that you speak to principal, superintendent and the media....I mean, unless you really want your kid to be an outcast. 

In 5th grade, a girl made fun of my hair every day for a few days.  Eventually I looked her dead in the eye and very confidently said, "Look, no one cares what you think of a ponytail.  Your opinion doesn't matter to anyone."  She never spoke to me again for our remaining 7 years in school together.  There's no magic process to end teasing or bullying.  Bullies, if that's what you want to call them, only back down to strength and apathy.  The reason they continue to bug him about his chin is very simple:   because it bothers him and he shows it. 

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM
3 moms liked this

I don't think it is bullying, but it is annoying.  Kids tease, its what they do.  More kids today need to be taught how to deal with teasing, and not be so sensitive.  Generally speaking, sometimes your little angels need to grow a pair and stop being a 'victim'.  I know this is not a popular view, and I do not take actual bullying lightly, but you need to draw a line or your child will always be the 'one that gets teased'. This is a generalization, not meant to pinpoint the OP's son specifically, and it is just my opinion.

Arwyn 724 

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:08 AM
3 moms liked this

Yep, I equip my kids with funny comebacks and teach them the art of turning teasing into  I would tell my kids to say something like, "Yep, my chin looks like a butt. You want to touch it?"  lol  You have to show them that no matter what they say that it will not bother you.  If you can joke about yourself, they have nothing left to tease about.

Quoting FooLynRoo:

Teach him the art of teasing others, and to have a sense of humor about himself. Getting upset and stalking away is no way to handle good humored ribbing

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:21 AM
I have to find the proper channels, public schools have more tiers to go through, we are a catholic school. They don't seen to believe in detention or suspension. As long as mommy and daddy are sending in that check....

Quoting LoveMyLos:

if teachers and principal isn't doing anything to stop the bullying go to the superintendant. if that doesn't work, go to the school board. if that doesn't get you anywhere, go to the media outlets. there absolutely no excuse for bullying. 

Quoting PensFan99:


I am going through the same stuff, when the kid is"sick" everyday, it is not kids being kids. In my situation i have been to the teacher and principal, and the zero tolerance bullying policy seems to fall lower on the list of importance than the check the parents write monthly.

I would start with your teacher. Also doesn't anyone see this happening? An aide, teacher, our parent volunteer on the play ground? My ds won't go find an adult to help either. I try teaching him to ignore them, i think it is easier for us to say then them to do. You could tell the teacher he didn't want you involved, so maybe she could handle it discreetly?

Quoting LoveMyLos:

kids being kids is when kids are just teasing just bc theyre bored, or to be apart of other kids. 

bullying is when it goes farther, and kids go out of their way to make fun of, and torment the victim. 

id say it is bullying and i would go to the school for a meeting with the principal, both kids and parents.

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by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 2:04 PM

It IS bullying, regardless of what the ladies have said on this page!!!!!  The point of the other CHILDREN poking your son means it will only escalate to hitting and shoving.  As I said, BTDT.  

One of the ladies makes a viable point, but it's the fact of the matter there are several children involved and that it's gone from name calling to poking.  Makes me wonder if some of these ladies were bullies themselves or just the "Mean Girl" in school.

The principal should be made aware of the entire situation; exactly the way you stated in your post.

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM
1 mom liked this

So I emailed his teacher today, and she replied, letting me know she will keep a close eye on him, see what's happening, and that they've been having some problems at the school with a certain group of kids already, it might be that same bunch.  I'm trying to walk the fine line between knowing that kids do tease, knowing they can be mean, and teaching my son that he does need to be a little tough, not letting their words hurt him, and being aware of bullying, of how it starts and how quickly it can escalate.  I don't want my son to get lost in the "system" but am worried that the teachers and staff won't be as proactive as I would like.

by Carin on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Definitely bullying. I can understand him not wanting you to say anything, but I don't think ignoring it will help either.

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

To me, it is bullying. I would make the teacher aware (like you did) and I would get ahold of their parents too. I think that will solve the problem.

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM

verbal teasing is one thing. Touching is over the line, and I'd address the issue before it progresses.

A child that "feels sick" and doesn't want to go to school is being bullied, and it should be nipped right then and there. Period.

by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:11 AM

I was picked on in school for years. My parents always told me to walk away find a adult ect. I did all of that it just made it worst. Finally I was in 9th grade and this same group of girls just wouldn't stop one day, so as we were getting on the bus to go home I pushed her as hard as I could into the bus. (Yes I know violence isn't the answer, but sometimes it is.) If you talk to the school and they don't do anything, and you can't change schools. Let your son woop some bullys butt. I'm not saying for your son to go pick a fight, but if the fight is brought to him let him stand up for himself. Thoes kids are bullying your son because he wont stand up for himself once he does they will leave him alone. 

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