Last week I went to the bus stop to pick up my son, and he got in the car (without a coat on). After trying to convince him it was cold out and he should be wearing a coat, I tried asking him how his day was. I received the usual response, which is usually something as descriptive as "OK" or "Fine." Some days I am told "Leave me alone." or "Stop asking me all these questions."
My son has had some trouble recently, which he won't really discuss with me. I found out from another parent that he was being teased on the bus, which is apparently how all of the older children treat the younger ones. Apparently he had the audacity to try and sit near the back, which is only a privilege for the older kids that have been deemed "cool." Yes, I went to school once. Yes, I know a lot of older, "cool" kids sit in the back. Yet, I do not think that just because my son wanted to sit in the back one day that he should be continuously teased and told he isn't allowed to sit with anyone (apparently he tried to sit with another child after this and no one would sit him). This is unacceptable to me, and not just because he is my son. I went through some pretty intense bullying as a child, and I never want to hear that my children are experiencing the same type of bullying or teasing. I was almost ready to pull him off the bus, because I think it is ridiculous for that type of behavior to continue and I don't want him upset over it either.
He has started sitting with another boy around his age, and things have seemed OK. I still wanted to check, because I worry, as parents usually do. This is how the conversation unfolded:
Me: "How was the bus ride?"
Me" "Was anyone bothering you on the bus today?"
Me: "You can tell me if someone was bothering you."
Son: "I said it was fine! Why do you keep asking me all these questions?"
Me: "Honey, I am just worried about you and want to make sure no one is bothering you or teasing you."
Son: "Well, the only thing actually bothering me right now is YOU, and all your questions."
OK, point taken on that one. I decided to drop the conversation after that.
Yet, all I can do is worry about him and the effect this has on him. My son is unique and special, he has several behavioral/emotional issues that I will discuss more in the future. He can be incredibly sweet, but also incredibly sad and even very angry, which usually results in destruction and violence. He uses up all of his strength just to make it through each day at school. He tries to please people, which is actually kind of manipulative (he lies often). Yet, he still tries to do his best in school, as much as he can. He really holds himself together, which has amazed me this year. So, once he comes home, he is finally able to really be himself and kind of let loose all those tensions and things that bothered him that day. This usually results in a very chaotic house after he comes home, but I know he is trying so hard to "keep it together" all day.
He is not open about what happens at school, but I can see the way he acts at home and know when something happened that bothered him. I know I will not let my son have to deal with bullying every day, and if it results in me removing him from the bus, then that is what I have to do.
Have you ever dealt with your child being bullied? Did your child talk to you about it? What did you do (call the school, call the parents, remove your child from the situation, talk to your child about bullying and standing up for himself or herself)?