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Thread: Conundrum about DS being bullied at one of his creche days

  1. #1

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    Question Conundrum about DS being bullied at one of his creche days

    I've got DS in at the local community creche and until a few weeks ago it was only one day a week. He likes his second day because an old neighbour goes on that day, as well as a girl from his drama class and another girl from his one day a week at creche last year. But the first day of the week is becoming a problem.
    Before I describe what's happening as best I can, given I only have DS's word to go on, today we were driving past a toy shop in my parents' town that he is familiar with. He said we need to go in there to get him a gun that he can shoot. I said I didn't want him to have a toy gun and that when he's big he can have one (cos we will live on a farm at the end of the year and DP has guns to shoot vermin). He said he 'needs' one, so I asked him why and he said (much to my quiet horror) "Cos I need to shoot B" (the kid who's name always comes up in relation to this bullying issue)
    It's a culmination of months of him reporting to me that he's had a good day except for when B hits him and the girl, E, who tells B to hit DS...!
    I've spoken with the staff in the past and they said they'd be keeping an eye on it. Now, I know DS is no angel and he likes rough play. They say he gets rough and they all get rough and it needs to be intervened. Meanwhile, B is a bigger kid and E is older, too. And the reports from DS keep happening
    I'm now quite inclined to call up tomorrow and ask them to do the best they can to change his Tuesday for a Monday, if B won't be there. I didn't do this before because I thought the staff were doing ok to keep tabs on it. However, tonight, DS gave his beloved (no, really, he is very kind to her and she gets hurt when he loses sight of her limits) baby sister a 'chinese' friggin burn!
    Initially I screamed angrily at him to stop and couldn't believe he'd done that to her. Then when things calmed down, I asked him if anyone had done it to him before. Well, you might have guessed who he named. I've had enough. Officially. I'll have serious words tomorrow on the phone as well as making my request.
    I NEED DS to be in creche because I need to study (though I haven't got any done lately due to sickness and DP being away during the week for the past month and a bit), so dropping a day is not really a great option.
    Apart from this B kid, he really likes his creche and his other friends.
    Put it this way, alarm bells ring when DS tells me he needs to wear a superhero logo'd t-shirt because he needs superhero power to fight B.
    I don't think I'm being precious.
    DS can be targeted because he has long hair and most kids confuse him for a particularly plucky girl. For some reason, they assume he is a girl and because he is tenacious and physically very confident, they feel it's then fair game to be really rough with him. I always hear "that girl is climbing the wrong way" or "that girl is jumping from the top", "let's get that girl". Even older kids will be heard talking like this. Today, for example, two older kids were waiting behind him for a flying fox turn and DS was swinging out of the bantry, holding onto the rail (in other words, hanging onto the outside) and he turned to me and said the boys had said they would take his hand off, so that he would fall. The boys looked at me quizzically as if they were totally innocent and I said "that would be really mean, wouldn't it?", to DS but looking at them. I wasn't glaring at them, I was giving them the opportunity to learn and I had a kind smile on. The smaller of the two said, disingenuously, that they hadn't done anything to him (so then I knew that what DS said was true). I then said, again, smiling, "He's four, how old are you guys?", this disarmed them and they smiled back with the older one saying "fourteen, yeah, ok, sorry little guy". So that was actually a positive experience in the end. I winked at them and after DSs last turn we left.
    So, DS attracts trouble because of his more extreme personality and his unconventional appearance that puts people off guard. It's no excuse to be chinese burning him, or beating up on him to the point where he wants to shoot.
    What would you suggest, what do you think, how would you react? I dunno, I just want to put it out there and see if anyone has been through similar to give me strategies or to say I'm going on the right track...


  2. #2

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    Hmmm, part of me says 'there is one at every party'. There will always be one or two people we always clash with, so best we learn to deal. Chinese burns are NOT COOL though. I suppose you could change his days...but what if there is another one of 'them' in that class too?

    I do get you on 'attracting' trouble. It's a really hard one and frankly it's tuned me into a helicopter parent even though that's against my parenting religion. DS attracts groups of bullies or seems to incite kids to want to annoy him. I think it's because he is pretty loud, but also because he seems to find a way cooler/funner way of playing with things. I think the way you handled the last experience was just perfect. My mum taught me that (through example) and you are teaching DS too.

    I find I have to negotiate for DS but that's ok. I will admit an evil part of me has negotiated with children in a slightly different way though on occasion

    Me: Hey X, can you stop telling B to hit DS please?
    X: I'm not.
    Me: yes, you are. I heard you. What do think is going to happen?
    X: I dunno
    Me: Yes you do. DS is going to get sick of asking him to stop and he is going to hit B AND YOU and it's probably going to hurt, so how about you find something else to do OR have a nice game with all three of you?
    X: oookkkay

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    We are in a bit of a situation like this with DS too and at this point I am not sure what to do. It hasn't reached the point that yours has so I am just monitoring it. I would love to see everyones answers though. Part of me agrees with Lulu but then part of me worries because I don't know how closely they are monitored at school and as I can't be there the situation may not be addressed in a way I would be happy with, or even at all. Tough one.

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    Oh dear, I get you Iz

    If you know the parents, then I'd be stalking them. The SCC staff wouldn't tell me who DS had hurt when he was going through his biting phase, so we learnt to read the boards for the *See Staff. They wouldn't even tell us every day unless we asked - that's when we had to give them the tools to discipline with. So from the other side of the fence, I'd say chat with the parents, see if you can all come to some kind of arrangement. Are they still doing the "STOP! I don't like it!" thing? I know there's another phase they use when the kids are older. Good luck.

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    Thanks, Kaz. I don't know the parents, and I think it probably is time to get proactive with them about it, because to be wanting to 'shoot' B is extreme, in my book, considering we've only ever discussed the shooting of animals that are vermin or livestock that's really sick I will have a good chat to a staff member about it, because I haven't revisited it since a couple of months ago.
    Lulu, I'm going to see about giving your evil course a go, as well as keep a really good ear out when I drop DS off. A couple of times said children have been at the front fence and I thought they were greeting DS, then recognised his reaction and knew it was something else, but had missed the exact exchange (his reaction was crumpled - I recognised it from my own days at school with taunts).
    I haven't really been involved with the centre on committee and every time there's an event planned it has clashed with something else we've had on, so already we're out of the loop right there with the other parents (except you, Kaz!).
    Last time I knew pulling him out wasn't the answer and after this weekend of these completely unexpected things on his sister, a change of day is definitely on the cards, albeit as a last resort.
    It's worrying me. Not much about my DS has worried me before, so this is a new feeling for me. He's a beautiful kid who WANTS to be kind, and wants people to think of him as kind. And randomly he chinese burns his baby sister!! The staff only on Friday were saying that they well believe he would be unusually loving with his siblings because he can show great, unsolicited affection (like randomly yelling out to me at the playground, "I love you, Mum").
    I'm working on his resilience, too. At the park, again today, he started to get really upset about some boys who thought he was a girl. He told them he was a boy (chest puffed out and all...such a boy!) and they said he wasn't, so he turned around to me and I told him the usual "I know you're a boy, you know you're a boy, and isn't that the important part?" He nods. "And does it matter if other people don't know?" He shakes, hugs me, and continues to wait in line for his turn of the flying fox, happy in his boyness
    Ok, talking to centre first, then. And finding out who these parents are!
    Mwah! Thanks

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    You shouldn't have to teach him resilience It is so hard to know what the right thing to do is but it seems like changing days is your only real option at this point if the staff can't do anything to stop it happening. Maybe when you get there and these kids are waiting at the gate for him, maybe you could say something to them to let them know you have their number kwim? Often kids who do stuff like this do it because they think they have the teachers bluffed and that the teachers don't know what is going on, and that is what is so insidious about it all, but if you pull them up for it they might be reluctant to do it because they think they will get in trouble. If you said "DS told me what you did to him the other day, and it really wasn't a nice thing to do was it?" and be nice when you say it, it might make them think twice about doing it again. But I do hope you work it out whatever way you choose to handle it, the poor kid shouldn't have to be dealing with that

  7. #7

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    We had to deal with this a few months back with Alex at daycare.
    For about a month he'd be telling about a particular boy at daycare who would push him over, hit him (leave bruises) etc.
    I let it go for a bit thinking that kids can usually sort things out & maybe he was making more of it than there was.
    After one particular incident I went & saw the director of the center, thinking she would see me as an over protective mother, but she was great. Alex has been at the center since he was 15 months old so they know him very well.
    He's a very soft, cruisy little guy.
    They made sure Alex & the paricular boy didn't play together too much & kept me up to date every time he was there.
    Thankfully the situation sorted itself out.
    It's a scary thing to have to deal with.

  8. #8

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    i think changing days is definitely the best way to go. i would be doing everything i could to keep him away from B. being the recipient of bullying is not cool. poor little guy
    how did you go today maya? did you talk to the centre?
    Last edited by Ginger; September 20th, 2010 at 03:53 PM.

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    Thanks ladies, I agree, it's a lot for a 4yo to be processing, and I'm pretty sure B and E are about a year older - too young for school and going to creche on non-kinder days. Can't be sure, but that's my hunch.
    I've been telling DS that B is probably an unhappy kid about something that we don't know about. Not to excuse it, but he wants to know why someone would be consistently mean to him and that's all I could come up with.
    Anyways, here's the update: I spoke with the preschool co-ordinator and I'll meet with her on Thursday morning to discuss it further. We'll be discussing the availability of other days, and she knows I'd also like to address the situation. I flagged to her my interest in speaking with B's parents. Apparently, last week some older kids were 'chinese burning' (there has GOT to be a better term for this!!) and they sat down to discuss it and that it hurts when someone does it to you. Maybe that angle is wrong and they just need to say it hurts the other person - focussing on other people's feelings, rather than turning the kids' focus on themselves and their self-interest? Dunno. Looking out for number one is not how I teach DS and not how I discourage him from hurting others.
    So, I feel better knowing I've put something in motion.
    I'm going to extend my brief break with my parents for one more day to just enjoy it out here with DS and DD before returning without him to take care of real life. This is not helping me concentrate on my studies, because the effects of this bullying and violence are reaching into various aspects of our lives
    You're right, it's a lot for a small kid to be dealing with. It's not fair on him, when I've raised it with them before about how he's been scared to go to creche. If it doesn't stop then DS will lose trust in teachers, so I'll have to remove him from the situation because I can't have him ruined before he's even started school. It is simply unacceptable that someone has slipped the radar to provoke DS into wanting to shoot him!

  10. #10

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    Ok, so we've agreed to work on keeping these kids separated - DS will be kept as much as possible in a separate activity group, so that when one group is outside, the other is inside, because it's when they're outside that the normal rough and tumble play becomes a bit sneakier from the older kids. And I can confirm that the two offenders are older kids in kinder.
    There are no other available days that suit us and I don't want to switch him when it's only one kid and we have a measure we're going to try.
    Thanks everyone

  11. #11

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    Fingers crossed for you (and him!) that it works.

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