A Subtle Bully

Friday, August 26, 2011
I'm breaking new ground with my oldest son. I've never before been the parent of an 11 year old. And I'm so proud of him. He's growing to be a thoughtful, fun-loving, sporty, kind, well-mannered young man. But I've also never before been the parent of children who go to public school. 6 years of rural homeschooling stamped out any problems we might have encountered with mean kids. Bullies - in other words. And I am blogging about it to ask the advice of you mothers who are wiser than me.

For awhile now my son has been coming home and telling me stories of an annoying girl in his class. Marisse is not her name, but I'm calling her that for convenience sake, and because when I was at school there was a girl in my class who was mean and her name was Marisse. She once deliberately broke my brand new thermos that had mickey mouse on it. Mickey Mouse in the seventies in New Zealand was a rare novelty. I don't hold grudges. Really I don't! :o)

Anyway, back to the modern-day Marisse. It's not like it's blatent bullying. I could deal with that, but it's more subtle. She's physically bigger than my son, and probably has a more forceful personality. Its the little things that are annoying him. Things like yelling at him if he accidentally brushes past her in the classroom. In a line-up waiting to get on the bus, telling him he has to go to the back of the line. Crying if she gets 'out' at rounders and blaming it on my son, then sulking on the bench. Bossing his life out to fit her demands. It's not major stuff, but everyday there is something that she will do or say to annoy him.

We have talked with him at home about how to handle it. I told him to tell Marisse to just 'get lost.' He looked at me with big eyes, "Really? You want me to say that to her?" Cough, cough - ah no, better not. Just tell her to go away. And that worked for a little while, and then it starts to creep back in again. His best friend got mad at her one day for something she said to Hugh, and then she got mad at him and threw stuff around, and now bullies his friend as well. These are not wimpy, nerdy boys either. They love sports, they love fun and they're intelligent, well-grounded kids. I guess it's just the everyday wearing away of their resolve and pleasure in school life. If Marisse wasn't there, life would be grand - but she is, and I'm at a loss as to what advice to give my son in how to deal with her.

I have thought about going to his teacher about it, but what do I say? Is that the best thing to do, or will it look bad in his eyes to have a tail-teller. I know this girl is not popular, doesn't have many friends, and the teacher has hinted at strife in the classroom this year. I don't know for sure, but I suspect it originates with Marisse.

I would appreciate any thoughts or advice you have that might help me deal with this and give my son some tools to make life a bit easier for him in dealing with this girl.


Anonymous said...

With 4 kids you are definitely wiser than me! But I think it's really important to let the school know what is going on. All the 'Marisses' I knew all had things going on at home and often the school needs to get involved to sort that out. If someone did that to me I would say something like 'you're just making yourself look stupid' and act like I didn't care. Sounds like someone who really needs a talking to.

Andie said...

I'd say something to the school. As Michelle said, it's probably something going on at home this girl, which hopefully the school can pass on to the right people, but if you bring it up it means the school can (hopefully) intervene where you can't.

Sandy Addison said...

After reading this I was wondering if she might "like" your darling boy and if this may be the way she has learnt to get his attention. All the same a word to the teacher will not hurt. By the way I can't believe he is 11! When I was going through photo's for my birthday i stumbled across a photo of you holding him as a wee baby.

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