Bully problem, still!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crazymama30, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    On the way home from school today difficult child had his backpack taken off of him and thrown in a garbage can in front of someone's house. I was not home, husband was at PT, so my sister took him to get it out. This is the same boy we have been having problems with all year, but all the events happen off school grounds. difficult child hates to be driven to and from school, and in all honesty I seem more bothered by this last incident than he is!! I am just tired of this. I do not want to call the police, as many times before now difficult child has been the bully, and we were lucky enough to not have the police called on him. I know for a fact this other boy is a difficult child and is medicated, though I do not know a diagnosis and I do not think the medications are working all that well. difficult child pleads innocent in this, says he did not do anything at all, but we know how often a difficult child is completely innocent. I am just frustrated. I may just have to figure out where this kid lives and go visit his parents, but what do I say? Make your kid be nice to mine? I am going to document all the incidents, and all phone calls with the school about this from now on. I am going to call the school and ask that the school resource officer talk to all the boys involved, and see if he/she gets more honesty.

    To top it off difficult child had his brand new bike helmet stolen last week!! Could not have been the same kid as it was at homework club and this kid does not go to homework club.:faint:
  2. looking4hope

    looking4hope New Member

    Unfortunately difficult children are targets for bullies because they are different, and because they give the bully the reaction he/ she is looking for! However, I would at least alert the parents about this incident, and ask them to talk to their child about respecting the property of other's, as well as people's personal space (a big issue with difficult children).

    I actually had to talk to the neighborhood bully's parent the other day, as he came up and punched my son for no reason, and then pulled my son off his bike. This isn't the first time he's done something like this, and I've spoken with him about this type of behavior as well. Anyway, of course my difficult child lost it and got mad, hit the bully back and then came home in a rage with a bloody and scraped arm from the bike incident. That was it for me. I told this boy and his mother that if he caused any harm to my son or our property, I was calling the police. And the kicker was that this bully hit my son because my son wouldn't play with him because he's mean (which the bully admitted in front of me and his mom). Mom agreed to keep her son away from mine, so we'll see.

    Anyway, I wish you luck. Try and talk to the child calmly, and see if you can get the two of them to agree to either leave each other alone or at least respect each other's property and space. Good luck!
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    When my easy child was younger, there was a girl in her class who usually played alone. I talked to the teacher to find out if this girl was o.k. in playing alone and/or if my daughter has done anything to make her feel left out. Turns out she did like to play alone and the other kids, including my daughter, were not picking on her.

    I have kept a close eye on difficult child for possible bully tendencies - I honestly thought at one point that he could grow up to be a bully so I worked hard to make sure he didn't get the chance to bully or didn't get away with bullying. At this point I feel comfortable that he is not a bully.

    I say the above because we all hope our children are not victims of bullys, however, how many people really make sure their kids do not turn into bullys? Although I am sure some bullys have parents who are aware and frustrated, I believe most parents don't have a clue. Bullys can be very subtle and true angels when parents and other adults are around. Those who are not angels around adults don't care if they themselves get in trouble, their goal is to inflict pain as a show of power, who cares if they also get grounded, it is fun to hurt the other kid.

    I hear parents talk about teaching their children what to do when bullied but never hear of parents making sure their child is not a bully.

    How can we get everyone to be just as concerned with their child being a bully as they are with them being bullied?

    I believe there are syptoms to watch for if someone is the victim of a bully. Is there a list of symptoms that make a bully? This second list needs to be shared with parents.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I would double-check the laws in your area. For us, the school is responsible for the kids from the moment they leave their front gate through the day and until they reach home. Anything happening on the way home, you should be able to ask the school for support to keep your child safe. If a child misbehaves on the school bus (which is privately owned and paid for by the government) then the bus company proprietor notifies the school who then notify the parents. For our kids, their subsidised bus travel can be revoked for misbehaviour (loss of bus pass). For kids ineligible for free travel, they can be refused transport at the discretion of the bus driver. Again, the school has to be notified and handle interacting with the parents from there.

    I'd be considering talking to the parents of this other kid, unless you're confident you're likely to get a bad reception. The other alternative - call the cops but ask for mediation, not punishment. See if the police can act as liaison to help resolve any problems, rather than simply having the other boy charged. But if the police try all this to no avail, you may have to accept that having this other kid charged may be the only option.

    Hope not, but at least a talk to the police could set your mind at rest. or not - I really don't know how it works for you. But for us - we've been told to call the police now, if another kid even is so much as rude to difficult child 3, without making any physical contact.

    And yes, I recall going to talk to a parent whose son had attacked difficult child 3 and bloodied his nose (unprovoked attack) and was stuck with the "he said, she said" situation; "your son started it" when I knew he had not, but had no proof (then). And I was told by this other mother that a few years previously, a teacher (she refused to say who, but implied a female one) had told her of an incident where my son had attacked her son and the teacher had advised her strongly to call the police and press charges. The mother said she knew of difficult child 3's problems and so chose to not call the police at that time (her implication being, 'your son is not always so innocent but I have been sympathetic, so far').

    So talking to the other parent, while it can be useful (in our case, we permanently stopped the fighting between our boys) can also be misleading and distressing. I did some digging through my records and worked out who the teacher was and what incidents she was referring to (yay for a Communication Book!) and found that difficult child 3 had hit this other kid only after repeatedly claiming this other kid was sticking pins in him, for days, in class and out of class. The teachers would do nothing about it. I also recalled being told about this independently by a visiting adult who had given a lesson in that class and was horrified to see this boy sticking pins in difficult child 3, in the presence of the teacher who again did nothing.

    What parents get told by their kids is always going to be a fragment of the truth, if that. A difficult child who is basically honest (like most Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids) will still only tell part of the story. But talking to other witnesses can fill in a great deal more. Whenever you talk to the other parent, you need to be aware that the other parent WILL support their child, especially if they believe honestly that their child has done nothing wrong. A lot will still support their child and lie for them, "because family stick together." It's only a very short step from a parent lying to protect her child, to that parent then developing the lie in his/her own mind to the point of believing it or justifying it themselves.

    That's why, if the police can offer it, independent mediation by someone experienced can often help resolve these differences and prevent future recurrences, more effectively than us taking matters into our own hands.

    Twice I've spoken to the other parent(s). The first time as I have just outlined - it was resolved, eventually. Partly because of our careful conversation and also partly because I went out of my way to say, "we'll leave it here, today we start afresh with no more hard feelings," and I also found ways to praise this other boy for things he was skilled at, in other ways. He realised I was prepared to be friendly and meant it when I said, "A fresh start," even though I had by then discovered the boy had lied to me and his mother about difficult child 3 doing anything to him to provoke the attack.

    The next time I spoke to a parent, we tried the same tack. It hasn't worked. The parents (the father, at least, who husband & I spoke to) is NOW polite and friendly when I pass by on my walks, but the man is a lying, cheating bully who is probably bashing his wife and kids and teaching his son to hit other kids. I've tried to be friendly to the boy, making polite conversation about the way he hits a tennis ball with his cricket bat, all round the neighbourhood. "Wow, you are doing well with your accuracy..." [as he almost hits a passing car] "...have you read about how Australia's greatest cricketer, Don Bradman, used to practice this way to develop his skill? Do you want to be a great cricketer one day?"
    The first time I said this, the boy muttered something and walked off. Since then, he avoids me or totally ignores me. But I suspect he was the one repeatedly removing easy child 2/difficult child 2's provisional licence tags from her car at about that time (always parked outside our house). No proof, so we've said nothing (just stocked up on spare licence tags, they're free anyway). However, he's never hit difficult child 3 since, nor said anything threatening to him, so maybe it is still a success, of sorts. The mother smiled and said hello to me a week ago.

    Mind you, this is a small country village in Australia, where you smile and say G'day to people you've never met, and stop and talk for half an hour to people you may only know by sight. We're a friendly people and this degree of snub from a kid and his mother has had me concerned for them.

    So make your decision, but make the right one, for the right reasons. There should be no harm in getting advice from the police, off the record. If your son has contributed to this, the police will find out. Maybe they should?

    I can't say whether talking to the boys' mother will be a great idea, or the worst one you've ever had.

    But whatever you decide - I hope you can make this stop. I think it needs to, for both the victim's sake, and the bully's. Whichever way round it is.

  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    My heart hurts for your little guy and your own mommy heart.

    Me, I would go to the kid's house and just talk to mom. See what kind of reception you get there. You may be surprised.
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Marg, part of the problem is that difficult child tells the truth, but it is the truth from his perspective which is sometimes much different than everyone elses'. I am sure I am not getting the whole story. If this was happening on the school bus, then the school would be responsible. We (and the other boy) live so close to the school that bussing is not an option. It is happening off school grounds, and from what difficult child says the other boy is seeking him out. I am not sure what kind of reaction I would get from his parents, but I suspect it would be one of what do you want me to do? The school has called his parents/mom several times and things get better for awhile and then it all slides back. In the states we have a school resource officer who is assigned to several schools to deal with issues. They do not usually spend much time at the elementary schools. Principal and others have mentioned having him talk to a group of boys as there are several who seem out to get each other. This is what I would like to do. I will call the school today and see if they can set this up, and if not maybe I will call the district office and see why it is not possible. I am sure that difficult child is not innocent in all this, but he has made such gains. He used to want to be a bully, that was his goal. Now he will tell you he is not a bully anymore.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It might be worth talking to the boy's parents to get the whole story if nothing else. Maybe with all adults on the same page, some ideas could be thought up to stop this before it escalates even further.

    Honestly, I'd try to reach out a hand to these parents regardless. I'm sure they would appreciate knowing that they are not alone in their battles to save their son. Having a child who you are trying to help and medications that aren't working is extremely painful.
  8. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member


    I would double check the laws in your state as far as the school being responsible. I see you are in Oregon. California and Oregon have very similar education codes. In California we call it responsible from "door to door". I would check directly with your state Department of Education. Not the school.

    Door to door means until a student walks through the door of their house any behavior problems can dealt with by the SD. Same goes for once they walk OUT of their front door and leave in the morning.

    Talking with the parents is an option. I'm a bit jaded since I've been dealing with bullies and my difficult children for years. Some parents do care, but the kids so dominate them that they feel powerless. I have had a few that do try and stop their kids. Then I've had those parents that just don't give a darn, or try and blame my kid.

    Please tread very carefully with other parents. However, I have had to call the police twice on kids because of bullying. One for taking my son's bike and another time for being smacked with the golf club. I spoke with both sets of parents on those and the behavior didn't stop. When I called the cops-it did.
  9. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I spoke with the dean of students today, explained what happened and the school is as fed up as I am. I told her I would be more than happy to talk to the other boys parents, but I did not know them or where he lived and neither does difficult child. (he has a friend who "might") I told her I knew she could not release that info to me, and she said that having the other mom and I and the boys talk sounded like a good idea. She would see what she could do and call me back. So far I have not heard anything. I truely do not want this other boy in trouble, and I also am not sure if difficult child is completely innocent in all this.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think that is perhaps the best option you could have taken, under the circumstances - to ask the school to 'sponsor' communication between you and the other parents.

    On the subject of "what is truth?" I do understand that one. difficult child 3 has trouble understanding a situation in full. And while he can't lie, he can omit truth sometimes, although I've learnt how to question him. However, his belief about what happened isn't always accurate. I have since learned, though, to trust him a little more on this because my distrust of his version of events came from teachers who deliberately or accidentally 'reprogrammed' difficult child 3 with their own versions of what happened. difficult child 3 would come home a day or two after I'd expressed concern to the teachers and say, "I thought Jack had deliberately punched me, but Mr K explained that I misunderstood, and I must have just bumped my face on the door instead. He said that because of my autism I sometimes misunderstand. I didn't realise I could get it so wrong, though."

    Soon after this, difficult child 3 stopped reporting problems to me.

    What worked for me to get a better idea more impartially, of the truth - I cultivated 'spies' in the other kids. At no time did I ever mention any of these kids by name to anyone else so they were free to tell me what they observed without any reprisals from anyone (including bullies, or teachers). I cultivated a few different kids, so I could not only get different versions of the story, but also go to different kids for different events and 'spread the risk around'.

    To cultivate the kids - I would chat to them as they walked past the gate, sometimes slip them a biscuit or piece of fruit, I would take an interest in them, talk to their families. I was often friends with their parents and would drop in on them informally to chat to the parents. These kids then began to look out for difficult child 3 because they had a better understanding (thanks to me being happy to answer their questions). I also found that doing extra-curricular stuff with these kids was a good ice-breaker. Reading to kids at the local library was a good one. Teaching a lunchtime chess class is another good one. Having older siblings of difficult child 3 involved in after-school things also helped because kids would tell THEM things. Teaching Sunday School - more kids from different grades.

    If it meant I could get at least two independent eye witnesses to an event, I then felt on stronger ground when I came to deal with a problem. I was able to also convince difficult child 3 that I needed THE WHOLE TRUTH because I already knew more about it than he realised anyway.

    The downside to this - it takes time, both to foster these spies and to also gather information about an incident. These kids are reluctant to take risks that could expose them to the bullies, plus if they don't get to talk to me until a few days later, I could act on false information in the meantime. But this for us has been what really opened my eyes to what was going on - difficult child 3's complaints alone were never given credence. While I might try and act on them alone, he would be discredited by teachers and the bullies (who often heard how the teachers' 'questioning' could confuse him and learned to take advantage of this).

    When difficult child 3 was younger he would lash out at kids he felt were in his way or hurting him and was often misunderstanding (I witnessed these myself, this is not always based on what teachers told me). As he got older he learned to not react physically to his anger; we finally succeeded in drilling into him to not hit back. For a long time, though, he would hit back but only if he had been hit first. Knowing this gave me enough confidence to claim that he never threw the first punch. My spies confirmed this increasingly.

    The teacher who had told the former bully's mother to press charges on difficult child 3, described him as a bully. I don't think that description was ever appropriate, even though there were times when it seemed difficult child 3 had made an unprovoked attack on another kid - for difficult child 3, there was always a reason based on self-defence. For the observers who felt there was insufficient reason or who didn't believe difficult child 3, or who thought he was dangerous - I can understand why they labelled him as a bully. It was never his aim to become a bully, although there were times when he did state an aim of wanting to grind a particular kid's head into the ground.

    I strongly suspect your son, who may have been liberal with his fists in the past (or not) is really trying to be a good kid but is being provoked beyond endurance probably by a number of kids. The school's inability to deal with this pr prevent this, is only increasing their activities and making difficult child more frustrated and possible more distressed. Those good intentions and improvement won't last if this keeps up - but I think you know that.

    Whatever your son did in the past should stay in the past - these incidents are new, each one is fresh, and each one is an attack on him. If your son is doing anything to provoke the attacks it could be as simple as him calling the other kid names, perhaps in an attempt to get the other kid to stay away.

    There is no excuse for a kid hitting another kid. Being called names is no excuse. difficult child 3 has confessed to me when he's lost his temper and thrown stuff at another kid, but these days won't do it unless he's already been physically attacked, repeatedly. That last, nasty attack on difficult child 3 where they were throwing things at him (including a log which bloodied his head) was preceded by difficult child 3 saying to them, "Leave me alone." It took a lot of explaining to him that saying that DID NOT provoke them; he felt that because he had said, "Leave me alone," he had started it all. Not so. But his sense of personal responsibility has been so badly confused over the years, that he feels guilty for just being attacked!

    Again, spies in other kids have confirmed our suspicions of what really goes on.

    I hope the school can help you have a positive mediation session with any other parents involved. Bullying is far more than just a school issue, it is also a community issue and needs to be dealt with on both fronts, for it to succeed overall.

    I think you're making the best start possible.

    Good luck!

  11. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I called the other boys mom. She was very nice, and we had a good talk. She asked her son about the backpack incident, and sounded like she firmly made it know she needed the truth. He was adamant that he did not do it, and even broke down in tears. I felt about 2 inches tall. She said she believes him, and I do to. We both agreed that both of our sons have big mouths and do not know how or when to quit. I then called home to talk to difficult child, and asked him if he was sure that boy X put his back pack in the garbage. He said, well it looked like him. I told difficult child about the conversation with boy X's mom, and he repeated that it looked like him. He is not sure!!!! Now I feel like an idiot, my own child does not know, or won't admit, who threw his back pack away. I spoke with husband, and he will talk to difficult child after a while to see if he can get any more info out of difficult child, as many times difficult child will talk to husband more than he will me, especially since husband was diagnosed BiPolar (BP) and put on medications. Seems to have bonded them, in some strange way. Probably makes difficult child feel more normal.

    Marg, I need spies. Guess I have to start baking or buying cookies.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You've reminded me of the other BIG problem I've had with difficult child 3, which has been yet another reason to value spies - difficult child 3 has, at least to a partial extent, face blindness. He's never been very good at identifying FOR CERTAIN who has been hassling him. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has similar problems and is finding interesting ways to deal with it - she works at a checkout (at the moment) and will make a point of commenting favourably on something the customer is wearing, so she can then later connect that customer to what she's buying, in case the customer accidentally leaves some of her bags behind, or similar. But she's 21, and doing this in an environment where she feels safe.

    difficult child 3 will often not recognise someone he's known all his life, if we meet that person "out of context". For example, at church he will generally recognise people he's always known, but if we're away from home and see them in a crowded mall, they may look familiar (or they may not) but he often won't be able to identify them. Because we live so far from 'civilisation', I often give friends and neighbours a lift home, if we meet while shopping, for example (saves them the long trip home by train and boat). And almost every time, difficult child 3 will chatter away to these people telling them all about who is in our family and what their names are, not realising that these people already know.

    Even in his recent episodes of being attacked by local brats, difficult child 3 has not been able to confidently identify his assailants even though most of them are kids who we know well. I freely admit (to you guys) that I GUESSED with the first attack, based almost entirely on which kids I know are regularly found in that locality, and told the police that I was fairly sure that if he hadn't been involved, a certain kid would have at least been a witness. I'd had a chance to explain to the cops about difficult child 3's face blindness so they went in asking this kid ambiguous questions along the lines of, "We've had an incident reported to us involving difficult child 3, his mother is taking him to hospital as we speak; what can you tell me about this?" and perhaps partly because the kid was only about 9 years old, plus he may not have realised that difficult child 3 hadn't positively identified him, he sang like a canary and gave the police another five names.

    And as often happens, it was over the next few days I had other kids and their parents coming to me with added information on who they had learned had been involved.

    We have a middle-aged elderly hippy who is also regularly hassled by some of the same kids (as well as older ones). In his case, he's been beaten unconscious by a teen gang locally, and is nervous. But he often has to use his network of spies to find out a bit more about who's in t own, who was involved, who knows about it - so he can pass the info along to the police.

    We don't have a police station near us - the nearest "cop shop" is half an hour's drive away, which leaves us fairly vulnerable at times. Maybe that helps with recruiting spies - good people look out for one another here because they know what goes around comes around.

    There are websites dealing with face blindness - they also have tests on them that you can use to determine if there is any, and if so, to what degree.

    It is quite possible that your son really thought it was this other kid, and it may have been someone else this time. In which case - if he knows he may have accused the wrong kid, maybe he won't feel so antagonistic towards that kid next time? A question for husband to ask difficult child - what was it about that culprit that made him think it was the boy he has been blaming? Was it the body shape? Colour of hair? Height? General impression? Glasses/no glasses? Sometimes it helps to know, so you can work out how he recognises the people around him.

    Getting the right culprit is important, because every time a bully gets away with an attack, they get bolder and more smug. Not good.

    I'm also wondering - has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) been explored recently? ADHD kids are not generally so consistently truthful (in that respect, they're normal kids). A few other things make me wonder, also.

  13. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Marg, I think it was the size of the other child that influenced who he thought it was. He may very well be face blind too. I will have him take on of the internet tests later.

    As for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), difficult child does have some traits of it, but he has much more of the mood disorder traits. He can have manic and depressive phases, I have seen him lose complete control and rage, but not often. He also does not like certain socks, and loves the silky basketball type jerseys. I guess I really don't care what the label is as long as he is progressing and not getting worse. His medications help him, and he is getting better. He does try to lie, but usually gets caught so he has quit. From what I understand of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), medications can make it worse. Correct me if I am wrong.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 3 and difficult child 1 both have a concurrent diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) plus ADHD and are on stims. difficult child 3 has been on stims since he was 3 years old (the improvement in him was almost miraculous), difficult child 1 since he was 6. difficult child 1 didn't get the Asperger's diagnosis until he was 15 or 16.

    For difficult child 1, his first medications were Ritalin. He improved a fair bit but still fell a long way short. I kept wanting the medications to be increased but the doctor he had at the time was downright weird. Finally, after the doctor began to be a little TOO inappropriate, we switched to another who immediately doubled the Ritalin. Back then we only had short-acting available and by the time he was 10, difficult child 1 was showing problems with rebound.

    When we realised we had problems with difficult child 3 and easy child 2/difficult child 2 as well, we had to change doctors again because difficult child 1's current doctor couldn't take on the other two (full caseload) so we switched again (to the current doctor) who put the younger two on dex and switched difficult child 1 to dex as well. No rebound any more, but we still had problems with the school failing to chase difficult child 1 up to medicate him, so this new doctor found a compounding pharmacist who privately makes up the kids' dex into long-acting formulation - one morning dose and the entire day was covered.

    In December the doctor changed difficult child 3's medications to Concerta (it's cheaper for us). The older two didn't want to change so they're still on dex. In recent weeks we've noticed increasing problems with difficult child 3, as if medications aren't working. Since the switch, we've noticed what seems to be rebound in the evenings. I discussed it with the doctor, he said the rebound could be due to the dose being too low (recent growth spurt, plus he prescribed a bit lower than he meant to) so we tried the higher dose yesterday - no rebound, but difficult child 3 was insomniac last night plus still doesn't function as well as on dex, so it looks like we're going to go off Concerta and back to dex.

    We have had problems with antidepressants, with difficult child 3 - but not difficult child 1 or easy child 2/difficult child 2. I can't tolerate antidepressants myself.

    difficult child 3's best friend also has a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) plus ADHD and takes Concerta (was unmedicated until recently). He's doing brilliantly, no problems with the stims at all (other than his mother cutting Concerta in half to ration them, so she can sneak a few for herself).

    So as far as I can determine -

    1) you can have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) plus other conditions, just as you can have ADHD plus other conditions;

    2) Stims aren't necessarily a problem with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (haven't been at all, in my experience) but if there is another concurrent condition for which stims COULD be a problem, then having that condition plus ADHD could be a real downer;

    3) Our kids are complex and can be a very interesting mix indeed, reacting (or not reacting) to stims in very individual ways, independent of underlying disorders which might be incompatible.

    The sensory stuff you describe sounds like my kids, only I've got it in three different forms. easy child 2/difficult child 2 seems the most obsessive, although all of them have strong dislikes in certain textures especially in clothing. difficult child 3 loves the feel of towelling, the other two love silky fabrics (I bought difficult child 1 a pair of pure silk boxer shorts) and easy child 2/difficult child 2 is also hooked on the feel of fur and velvet. They all like the feeling of being held firmly, as long as they are in control of it. Hug vests for the boys, and my daughter chooses to wear Victorian-style corsets (in velvet).

    Sounds like you're really in tune with how your son thinks - I've found that to be the best way to cope.

    I hope you can find ways to keep your son safe and also help him learn appropriate ways to cope. It really is horrible when this sort of thing happens. I hate it.

    I hope the info helps.

  15. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Thanks marg, that does help. I was misinformed about medications and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I think difficult child would go off the deep end if I tried to give him a good firm hug, that is not what he likes. lol