Bullying: When Should Parents Intervene

My 12 year old Matt marches to the beat of his own band drummer.  He is sweet, smart and eccentric.  He loves legos, Star Wars and drawing.  He gets good grades, but grades aren’t important to him.  He loves Jesus and thinks deep thoughts.  For example– yesterday he asked me if he was a girl and he got raped and became pregnant would I be mad if he got an abortion?- yeah, we have a lot of interesting conversations.

Matt has been made fun of at school since he was little.  His personality, combined with his affinity for Spongebob t-shirts and Star Wars bookbags, coupled with his unique sense of style and need for glasses and braces have left him with a target on his back for the mean kids.

He has really dealt with it well. He rarely caves under peer pressure, he prays for the kids who are mean to him and up until recently has been able to let it roll off his shoulders.

But, last night he said he was tired of it.  He’s tired of being called names, being tripped in the hallway and he is worried about next year when his older brother will be in high school and “not there to stand up for me”.  He even had his dad cut his hair (which I have been begging him to do for two years!) because of the tormenting he is subjected to.  He has decided that he wants me to homeschool him next year so that he can be “done with the bullies”.

This post is not about homeschool v. private v. public school.  I will homeschool him if that is what God leads us to do and that is what he really wants.

But, what I am concerned about is if he is giving up something he otherwise enjoys- the chess club, the teachers who enjoy him, the “nerd herd” he eats lunch with (they just accepted the name the other kids call them and embraced it)- to avoid treatment he shouldn’t have to be subjected to.

Bullying is a real problem.  My husband says it existed when we were kids and I know that it did but I don’t remember it being so personal and so cruel.  Or is it that kids have changed where they get their value from and care more about what others think?  Or is it that with the infiltration of technology, you can’t escape it. Bullying doesn’t stop at school, it continues on facebook, texting and more (this is not an issue for Matt because he doesn’t have facebook yet nor a cell phone).

We have some decisions to make as a family over the summer.  What would you do and does your child deal with bullying at school? Would you go to the school with your concerns?  Is your child a bully and you don’t know it?  Would you care?  The questions are endless.

Please feel free to link your posts about raising teens/tweens to the MckLinky below.

Comments

  1. blueviolet says:

    That makes my heart hurt because although I wasn't bullied in specifics, people were cruel when I was a teen/tween and the pain never goes away. I'm so terribly sorry.

  2. oh my! kids can be so cruel. I don't look forward to the day when my future kids get to the point where they could be teased. I don't see how you would step in…it could make the teasing worse. As far as home schooled only you can know what's right for your kid. I'm sorry…must be tough to watch your son go through that.

  3. Oh I'm so sorry to hear that. He sounds like such a great kid. I remember being picked on in school. But I don't remember kids ever being that cruel to anyone that was being picked on. I think society has changed and that's made it worse. Since we homeschool this is not something we've had to deal with, except a little at camp. But I know homeschooling is not for every family. So I will be praying for you my friend. May God give you the wisdom and grace to handle this very frustrating situation.

  4. I know where you are coming from. Just realized this week that my teen is being bullied. She never told us. It has been going on for weeks, perhaps months. We filed a Maryland State Bullying and Harassment form as the bullying is physical with name calling. Just heard that the kid had a conference with the principal and had some sort of consequence for his behavior. Does your state have a similar form? Bullying is not OK under any circumstances!

    • I don't know Jill but I will definitely go look into it now. Thanks for the
      heads up and I hope things get better for your child as well!!

  5. I remember my a verse about we are a royal priesthood a peculiar people as Christian. Fitting in is not really what we are suppposed to do. I think helping him remember who is in Christ regardless of his peers standard is important.

    There is also a short book called “The Hundred Dresses” that he might enjoy and relate to and find comfort in,
    http://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Dresses-Eleanor-E

  6. Melissa, I am so sorry you are facing this. I am most certainly praying for you … and for Matt. I'm here if you want to talk. ((hugs)) Love you, my friend!

  7. This is such a scary issue because to some extend I think my kids need to learn to navigate different challenges dealing with wackjob loser bullies because I think there are a lot of adults that conduct themselves similarly in less obvious ways. That said, the consequences of severe bullying are notably tragic…. from taking ones life to terrible depression and low self esteem. I don't have any answers but I do know that if it were my kids I'd get loud and I'd make sure something was being done about it. Kids that bully are doing so because they are miserable themselves – there needs to be intervention on both sides. I think you need to find out what the protocol is for your school/state and be strong through the whole process. Kids are afraid to tell because it can worsen the bullying – this can't happen. Kids need to know that going to an adult is safe.
    My son's friend is bullied and he stands up for him but I also told him he needed to make sure an adult was aware of what was going on because it was their responsibility to make sure it stopped.
    This topic really gets me fired up!

  8. Carrie @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

    We are dealing with bullying with our 3rd grade daughter. It has gotten way out of hand. Ive gone to the school twice, but results are very slow. The teacher has been very responsive, but still the changes only accomplish so much. We know the bully is moving away this summer so I keep telling my daughter to hold on and she will have all new friends in the fall. Its very hard. I understand your delimma.

  9. My 12 year old has been dealing with bullying in different ways since he started school. He is a very verbal boy who stands up for himself. I can tell you what has worked for us. First, it is very important that if your child comes to you with this concern that you take it to the school. In our school the assistant principal is in charge of these matters. We have had to take 2 separate instances to him this year and each time they have been handled quickly and efficiently with no repercussions to my son. Often kids think that bullies will make it worse, but once they know that child will “tell” on them, they will leave them alone. I went to a seminar on bullying many years ago and one of the statistics given was that 75% of kids who are bullied never tell anyone because they figure it won't do any good. This is why it is so important to step in if the child comes to you.

  10. I came over from……oh, now I can't remember. I was reading Any Mommy and linked around and eventually got here. Anyway, I saw that your son was talking about homeschooling. I'm so sorry he is having a rough time in school. I am a homeschool mom and would be happy to recommend some books and websites if that is an option you are seriously considering.

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