How do I make sure my child doesn't become a victim of bullying?

Asked by a member in commenting on the article,

Ethan is a very kind-hearted little boy. He's had some challenges with his health and that placed him a year behind, which may also contribute to it. He's a big guy, but inside he's a teddy bear. The person who wrote this must have never actually had to watch the same scenario play out again and again, team after team and class after class. It's heartwrencing. What happens when you do all of these things and it still doesn't get only gets worse? When bullying and feeling that no matter what you do you will never fit in goes to a greater level, you end up with drop outs and murder-suicides. I don't want that to be my child. How do I get that not to be the case?
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Oct 27, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for contacting

We are sorry to hear that your son is having such a difficult time at school and in his activities. It is so hard as parents to watch our children be bullied and disrespected by peers. The article you refer to: "Helping Children Make Friends" gives some very good advice and offers some practical ways to help your child become more confident and self assured.

Make sure you are working closely with your child's teachers and school counselor. More and more schools are implementing anti-put down and anti-bullying programs. If your school does not have a strong belief that these behaviors are not tolerated, then you can always look at other schools which may take a more progressive approach. You just don't want to get into the habit of continuing to quit activities and schools. You want to try to work out a solution and problem solve. But unfortunately there are times when this won't happen and you will have to change the environment to keep your child safe.

If you would like to speak with a counselor for more support and guidance, please call our toll-free hotline or e-mail us. We also have a website for parents listed below. Thank you again for reaching out to help your son. Take care and best wishes to you both.

Cynthia, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
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Oct 27, 2010

Best Answer!

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from a fellow member
This is a very difficult question to answer in today's climate.  I also believe (having had a "big boy" with sensitive tendencies and 40 years of education experience) that big boys are expected to act more mature for their age by most people in education and in the public for sure.  That is just not true.  We taught our boys to stick together and they did against the bullies.  Though they were not terrifically close during school years, they were when they played on the same ball teams and they supported each other well as 20-30 year-olds.  So, if you have another sibling or cousin to help that would be good.  Celebrate uniqueness and praise your child for his good and developing good/strong qualities.  That is the general route we took.

Unfortunately, people (school psychologists, principals, speech and language pathologists) will quote research and refer to surveys commonly known as "tests" to the public that warn against retaining students.  I kept my older son out of school a year since he was a December birthday.  It backfired on me in that when the students his age were out of school, he dropped out of the mainstream school and finished quickly in alternative school.  Did I make a mistake by holding him back?  Maybe.  Did you make a mistake by retaining him?  Maybe.
Did anyone have you take a survey to predict whether retention would be effective?  See you child's teacher or school psychologist!  Fortunately for you, this can be reversed.  Some of my students have been socially promoted when it was appropriate.  Skipping 7th grade is an example that seemed to work in one small community.  This could be a goal for which you and your son can work if this seems a desirable solution or correction to you.

Unfortunately, ours is now a culture of bullying in examples children see in adults.  I am bullied daily in school by teachers who are younger and less educated than I am.  There is definitely a "pecking order" in schools and I have found it at it's forte' in pre-school.  Look at the once heros on the news - Michael Vick for example - he should NOT be there.  Look at the politicians - is it about truth and integrity or just about who can cover things up and get what they want?  I am so sorry.  I can only suggest that you buffer your child by getting them to good groups.  One group I know that has lots of fun, gets kids active and works on their memory is AWANA.  You will find it in many evangelical churches in most countries.  I obeserved one group flourishing in Bolivia - much different than what we saw of the bullies and bloody gunfights in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Oh, did I mention television and movie influence.  There are lots of bullies there, too.  If your child watches them, be sure you talk about what happened.  Our sons have had some really good discussions with us about Raiders of the Lost Arch, Dances with Wolves and The Titans, etc.  

It is time for a revolution by parents against the bully culture in schools, politics and our country.  I don't want to be a fatalist here.
One reason citizens of the USA have been strong is because they do stand up and use their freedom of speech.  Should the ones who form alliances (oh yes, TV again, does Survivor teach bullying?) and try to put others down are usually suffering from their own insufficiency.  There will be a time you can explain this to your son without giving him a big head.  In the meantime, get him on good teams like AWANA which operates in competitive teams not one on one or groups who celebrate teamwork. Upward Bound is an excellent
athletic group that is a petrie dish for children to be awarded for sportsmanship, personal growth and teamwork.  Hey that is a great prescription - your son is tall.  He will look great and be awarded and stroked appropriately in a basketball team coordinated and supported by Upward Bound.  

All My Best Wishes,
Mrs. Jay
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