Taking Action

Our family just returned from visiting my mom in NY. While we were there, on two evenings, my son had, what I would like to call, a bit of an anxiety attack. He would start talking about going back to Hawaii to begin fourth grade and would inevitably begin crying about it. He said things like, “I hate school” which was very, very unlike him. Clearly something was bothering him. Based on these conversations and ones which I had with him earlier, it seemed that his anxiety stemmed from interactions with a particular boy in his grade. This boy had created a “club” which only his friends could be in. If you were not in the club, you could not play with the other kids. My son was actually part of this club but it truly bothered him. He seemed to want to be out but couldn’t figure out how. He realized that if he was out, he would be out and potentially not be able to play with all of his friends. To me, this kind of seemed like an age thing. Like a catty girl thing. While it bothered me to see him upset about this, I’m not sure that I would have approached the school about it. But there was something else that this boy was doing which was also bothering my son, butt touching.

Apparently, this boy would consistently touch my son’s butt. Now my son knows about your private areas, knows that no one should be touching them except him and he told this boy to stop. He didn’t. They are the same age so I feel that the touching was not sexual in nature at all. That being said, it truly bothered my son. It bothered him so much that he was dreading having to deal with it again at school. To have to see this boy. Finally I told him that I would speak to someone at the school about it. Of course, this raised a new set of anxieties, would the boy know it was him? No, I told him, he would remain anonymous. He still had his doubts about it but I assured him that it would be OK.

Yesterday we attended a meeting at school and while there I asked to speak to the Vice Principal. Part of me felt badly about ratting this kid out. The Vice Principal was very nice and thanked me for coming to her. She said that during the guidance session the issue would be discussed with all of the children generally but that if it continued to please come and talk to her again. When I came out of the meeting, my son asked how it had gone. I told him the outcome and instantly became a hero. Later in the day he told his dad that he was feeling better about going back to school since “mama had taken care of the problem.” I have no idea if the problem is actually taken care of but I am so glad that he told me, that I listened and that I tried to help him. That was all he wanted. To be heard. To be helped. I know that it seemed small but it was so big. To him. And who doesn’t want to feel like a hero every now and again.

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About nematomorph

Living like the rich and famous, splitting time between Hawaii and New York.
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One Response to Taking Action

  1. maukamakai says:

    We talk about some unsavory behaviors of kids; trying to understand that bully-ing behavior, especially at this age, is often due to feeling inadequate (on the part of the child who is displaying bully-ing behavior), not being confident, feeling uncomfortable socially etc.

    I ask 9yo, is there a way that he can befriend the child, make him feel liked and safe?
    If the child in question is unresponsive to positive attention and is still behaving in a negative way, after 9 yo has clearly stated his wishes; 9 yo might ask a teacher to conference with them; if that still does not work, I usually request that 9 yo stay clear of the other child and I let the teacher know what is going on so she can facilitate, (not partnering them up etc)

    Also, I ask 9yo if he might be a Leader by Example, in other words modeling positive behavior to other kids so that kids feel they can follow his leadership instead of following that of child displaying bully behavior.

    I believe that humans (and animals) are sexual beings, this includes children and babies. I don’t think this is a bad thing. or a good thing. it just is.

    So, when a child touches butts, it is sexual behavior. not in that he wants to have sex, but that he knows that is an inappropriate place to touch another person’s body and he still does it. This is probably why your 9yo does not like it. It is taking away his personal power to have rights over his own body.

    I really like how at Friends School, a teacher or adult will take immediate action when a misunderstanding occurs. There is alot of clearing the air as soon as one party is upset by another party. this happens so regularly (and starting at pre-school age), that the kids learn to self conference with each other as they get older, first with a teacher present, then gradually on their own.

    our journey as a parent is parallel to our child’s journey in life.

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