Friday, January 16, 2009

No Depression

We've seen the pediatrician and a few more things have come to light about what's going on with The Kid at school.

The Kid's pediatrician (we've been seeing her for four years and she gets us as parents and has a good understanding of our son) assured us that The Kid is not depressed. She thinks he is struggling with social interactions at school, namely the rough and tumble kind of casual meanness on the playground. It is stressing him out.

My son is very bright and since he's an only child, his social skills lag a little behind some of his classmates. He is a tender-hearted kid whose feelings can easily be hurt.

Our pediatrician suggested some books to help The Kid deal with his anger, How to Take the Grr Out of Anger for The Kid and A Volcano in my Tummy for us. I am always happy to get these kind of suggestions. I'm very good at gleaning what might be useful and ignoring everything else when it comes to parenting books.

We spent some time at dinner that night talking about strategies for controlling his angry feelings at school. We practiced some classics, three deep breaths, counting to ten, walking away.

Yesterday I volunteered in the classroom and The Kid seemed to be getting along well with his friends. He spent a good deal of time helping his best friend, T and another boy, A with a writing project. I was hopeful, but once again he came out of the school with storm clouds gathered over his head. He said T and A had pushed him down repeatedly on the playground – the very boys he was helping in the classroom, less than two hours later were shoving him to the ground! A teacher had gotten involved when The Kid had started to defend himself. She had threatened them all with the principal's office if it happened again. The Kid says T has been doing that, "shoving me, being too rough" every recess since they got back from Christmas break. T is supposed to be his best friend. I was stunned. My child was being bullied. (A couple of my intuitive readers guessed that this might be what was happening.)

I did not take three deep breaths, or count to ten, or walk away. I was on the phone to The Kid's teacher with my car keys still in my hand.

The teacher was appalled. She listened a good long while. I talked about bullying, how detrimental it is to both the perpetrator and the child being hurt, my concerns about T (whose parents divorced this, summer and who is obviously troubled), but mostly that she must do something immediately to keep The Kid from being hurt. She agreed. She fired off an email to the school counselor (with a copy to me) and assured me it would be dealt with today.

The Kid seemed lighter, very relieved to have things out in the open and confident that things would be worked out.

I hope so.


  1. Hey Laura -- I think you controlled yourself very well. I'm sure I would have turned into Puffer Mom and scared T and A (heh) and embarrassed The Kid.

    It's a shame, the bullying. Hope things are all better soon. (I'm waiting 'til I have some uninterrupted time to reply to your email. I've had only bits and pieces of time online today -- everyone is home! Distracting ...

  2. Man, that really sucks. I was once paddled in jr. high because I beat up the boy that pushed a girl in a wheelchair into a closet and shut the door behind her. And I'm always afraid I'm going to beat up some elementary school kid for picking on my kids. Which, since I am now 22 and not 12, would likely not be a great way to serve justice.

  3. Hi Laura,
    I'm sorry this is happening! I think bullying is one of the top parental fears, don't you?

    Sounds like you and your school are doing a really good job of getting this managed quickly.

    I'll be interested to hear what you think of the books the doc suggested.

  4. Times have definitely changed, Laura--changed in our kids' favor. Bullying used to be something that kids were supposed to work out on their own--not anymore! That's great that the school is jumping on this (though not so great that his teacher didn't pick up on it herself)--I know you'll get this all worked out!

  5. Oh, know what the problem is and to be able to start working on it is wonderful to read!! And yeah you...for calling the maybe ALL the kids will get the help that they need!!!

    Bullying here is such a big one student told me about 10 years ago..."everyone gets's a way of life". I just think that's sad.

    Here's to getting this all solved and everyone's lives back on track...the sunny, fun, happy track!!

  6. Just found you through blog her and want to applaud you for what you are doing for The Kid. I was bullied as a child, long before there was a real understanding of it, and it s.u.c.k.e.d. I am so glad you are on to it and that you have a proactive and supportive teacher (and counsellor) to help you! Well done & Good Luck!

  7. Thanks to all of you. The session in the counselor's office seems to have put an end to the bullying and shoving on the playground.

    But I am seriously considering hiding from the bully's father at pick up tomorrow because I don't think I can be polite.