bspen asks:

My son was verbally abused. What can I do?

my son who is very well behaved and a gate student was attending a birthday party at a martial arts academy during one of the activities one of the instructors started screaming at him so loudly that everyone in the room of about 30 people stopped what they were doing to see what was going on. i was in disbelief that my shy timid son could have done anything to deserve that scolding and public humiliation. when i asked the instructor what he said to upset her she refused to answer me. he cried for about 20 minutes. how can i hold her responsible for her actions and keep her from treating another child in such a manner?
In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago



Sep 21, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I'm sorry that your son was yelled out and humiliated in front of his friends and other party goers.  Since you didn't get a fully account of exactly what happened, it is difficult to know exactly how to handle the situation.

Now that a few days have passed, you need to ask yourself some questions.
Is your son still upset about what happened?
Has he told you his side of the story?
Has it changed?
Are you more upset than your son?
Have you called the martial arts academy to see if you can get more details?
Do you think your son did anything wrong?  Maybe not to be yelled at, but was there any misbehavior on his part?
What did the other children say happened?
Did any other adults witness the incident?

If this is still a concern, then you might want to dig deeper into finding out what happened.  You might want to call the school and speak to the owner and tell him/her how disappointed you were in how your son was spoken to.  However, I don't think you can make the academy take any discipline action against the instructor who did the yelling.  However, if the instructor is sorry for yelling, ask if you could bring your son by the school, so she can apologize.  You don't want your son to be afraid to go to the academy if another friend has a party there.  

However, this is a great teachable moment for your son.  Take the time to explain that sometimes we make a mistake - knowingly or unknowingly that cause a reaction from others.  We cannot control their behavior, but we can control ours.  If we made a mistake, then we need to apologize and learn from it.  If we didn't think we did something wrong, then we need to stand up for ourselves and explain our actions.  Sometimes we just catch the other person on a bad day, and have to let it roll off our shoulders.  Talk about all the different scenarios and what the outcomes could be.  You may want to even share one of your own experiences with your son.  Tell him how you felt when you were yelled at or when you even snapped and yelled at someone yourself.  Explain what you did or how you would have rather handled the situation.

The bottom line is that this will probably not be the last time your son is yelled at or humiliated.  So you need to teach him ways to handle it.  From what you had described, your son should not have been yelled at and I'm sure he is a good boy.  Give him a big hug and then open up the conversation.  Remember you are his best role model!

Hope this helps.
Barb K

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