My son is called hurtful names at school…..

by Rod Smith

“Children at school call my son (8) hurtful names. He is not a rough, sports-crazy boy. He is soft, gentle and is used to being with two sisters. The name-calling is disturbing for him because he has no idea why it is happening. He doesn’t understand any other way to be a boy so he finds the taunts very confusing. Please help.”

Visit the school and do what is possible to protect your son. Alerting school authorities, while necessary, is unlikely to achieve much. Mean children are hard for any school to police.

Coach your son to stand up for himself. The sooner he learns he is able to speak up and defend his innocence, the better he will be equipped to do so for as long as it is necessary.

Create role-plays and games where he can use and hear his voice and become accustomed to the idea of speaking up on his own behalf.

Having done such an exercise with a few children and I know its power to defuse bullies and make your son a formidable, appropriate opponent of all who would try to belittle his strengths.

A parent responds:

“I read about the 8-year old boy who is being called names at school. This child might attend a traditional, boys-only school, where the notion of survival of the fittest reigns supreme.

“Too often fathers send their sons to such schools because they attended them or feel that this sort of limited learning environment will make ‘men’ of their boys. The truth is that these schools are outdated and lack a balanced view of what sort of character and skills we need to instill in future generations.

“While it’s all very well to try to teach our children to ‘stand up for themselves’ this often means introducing an approach totally foreign to the well-adjusted family. This child gets to school and is shocked into wordlessness when he/she encounter rudeness or violent behaviour – all learned behaviours from dysfunctional home environments where dissatisfied parents are to blame.

“Children mirror the behaviour witnessed within the family. It’s time we, as parents, faced up to and accepted this truth. The way we display our dissatisfaction within the primary relationship is the way we teach our children to deal with their relationships.

“My advice is that your parent removes the boy from that school and find a more enlightened establishment and then begin a programme of self defence skills.” (Edited)

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