I don't think he's a bully!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by garrison, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. garrison

    garrison New Member

    Mr. I. is starting to get in trouble in school. He is ignored by other kids and feels isolated. He also has a serious impluse control problem.
    Yesterday I got a note on our daily log from his teacher. Someone accused him of pushing them down. The teacher states that she will not put up with Mr. I. being a bully.
    Whats the difference between being a bully and poor impluse control? It seems like the school is saying Mr. I. is mean. He is not. He is very loving and he is tired of playing alone. He is never agressive when playing with cousins or to us.
    I don't want the school to label him a bully. I want them to understand he has issues. Yes he has an IEP. Yes he takes medications. (concerta)
    What do you think about this?
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Many "bullies" are lonely kids with low impulse control. They hurt so they react impulsively. I would meet with the school, agree with them that pushing other kids is bad, try and get them to understand that Mr. I is very lonely and that the problem will only get worse.

    I'd suggest asking for direct social skills instruction. Start with 1:1 lunch bunch, then enlarge the group, then transfer the group to the regular lunchroom. If there are older kids in the school, get him a peer buddy about 3-4 years older who can take him to recess and support his play, etc.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I hope the school investigated and got all sides of the story. Did they even care why he pushed another kid? Maybe the other kid was taunting him. I am not saying that would excuse him but too many victims are punished without the same justice going to the real bully.

    my difficult child had anger and impulse issues during his year of darkness. He had missed two months of school interactions with classmates. By the time he was back on track, the bonds of friendship were made for the year and it didn't feel like he would ever be included. It was a very small school so it did effect everyone. He became angry over being left out. Just like your son, it was really not in my son's nature to lash out but he felt cornered as it didn't take much meanness from other kids (those silent, under the table behaviors the teachers don't see or hear) to make him react. He was 12 years old at the time. It would have been so easy for everyone in authority to label him as a trouble maker and accept when his peers set him up as the scape goat. I truly believe that is how most of our troubled kids are treated thus creating the large ugly circle of bad behaviors on everyone's part. We were blessed with school staff who knew difficult child before his plunge into anxiety. They believed in his ability and willingness to learn to control his impulses. I picked him up after school and left for home in tears almost every day hearing what he had done that day. The teacher didn't like to tell me but the other staff told her I needed to know and they were right.

    The teacher came up with a behavioral chart and reviewed it with difficult child every day after school. It was a list of things like be helpful, focus on the lesson, etc. difficult child would score himself and work with the teacher to consider how things could have gone better. He can not change others behaviors but he could work on his. He had the heart to want to be a good person and worked hard to that end.

    Your difficult child is too young for the school to come down on him harshly. All he is hearing is "Don't!" I think they need to start being more supportive and show/tell in a compassionate way what he should say or do. They need to spend time with him reviewing his view point on the situation.

    I like JJJ's suggestions. Look for creative ways to reach him. He needs to feel that his teachers believe in him and can see the good hearted kid he wants to be. They need to talk to him about each situation. These should be learning experiences not just punishments with no hope for the future. It is ok if he does get disciplined (missing out in recess because he pushed someone) but he needs to feel that his rights are being respected also. If some one is taunting him, he needs to know that pushing is not the answer and a plan for the next time be put into place.

    We did not need an IEP or a 504 because the staff in our small school was excellent. They respected and asked for my input on how to handle difficult child, the were very patient, kind and fair with him. I really count them as the blessing it took to bring my difficult child through that. It was a positive village which all members worked together to bring out the best in difficult child and it worked! No one who would meet him today would ever imagine what he went through. We figured out what worked for him and everyone stayed the course on the same page.

    Like JJJ stated, lonely kids with impulse control issues can easily fall into the path of being a bully. You can intervene to keep that from happening. Ask him every night how his day went. Try to show him the positive things that happen through kindness and focusing on learning. "That studying last night paid off with a good grade!" "That was nice of you to spend time at recess with the other kid who feels left out!" The better he feels about himself in a good way, the less likely he will turn to negative behaviors.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I believe you have a loving, kind young man who gets frustrated easily and then acts out, not out of meanness, but for reasons that he probably doesn't even know. However...if a child pushes and hurts other kids, he will get the bully label. How well do his teachers understand his issues? Could he get an aid to keep an eye on him so that confrontations are kept to a minimum? I really hate to see your sweet little guy get a rep as a bully when, most likely, he is being egged on and then acts out. Are you certain nothing more is going on other than ADHD? I was going to recommend an IEP, but am not sure he will qualify for IEP testing if he doesn't have a bigger, worse diagnosis than that. Politics, ya know. Maybe he should see a neuropsychologist. They are good at catching the little things that others miss that may get your precious boy more services. I just HATE when our kids are labeled in negative ways.

    Andy, your school sounds fantastic! Wish they were all like that. Unfortunately, most are not. I have relatives who work in school districts and I shudder when I am told what the teachers think of these children.