Dear Dr. Meg,
Hi, I am a mother of a 10-year-old boy who has been harassed at school by other kids and even classmates for the pass 5 years. It’s getting to the point that he asked me crying to change him to another class or he does not want to go to school anymore. My husband asked the teacher what was going on, and the teacher said that the kids are just trying to help him keep up with the class. The teacher said that he has difficulties focusing and he gets distracted easy. His grades are not bad but he needs to study more than the other kids.
My son does not have any friends. Kids always laugh at him because he is not coordinated when he plays any sport activity. He attends Sunday school classes got baptized at age 7. Since this happened this school year he believes that Jesus does not love him because Jesus is allowing all this things to happen to him. My son has good behavior at school, but at home is different. If we ask him to do something while he is playing or watching TV, he will talk back at us in a very loud voice.
What to do?
My daughter, who is 13 years old, also does not have any friends. She always plays alone. She has good behavior at school. All the teachers tell me that she is a very nice girl. At home she also has a bad attitude when ask to do something. I have asked her why she does not have any friends, she says that the kids do not want to play what she wants to play, and then the kids will start making fun of her. She also attends Sunday school and Sunday service. She was baptized when she was 10. She has been diagnosed with ADD and is currently taking medication since she was in Third grade, only during school year. Her grades are good.
These situations are affecting the quality of our family relationships and communication with each other. Please, do you have any advice of what to do or how to handle these situations?
Mother That Needs Help
You and your husband need to find out whether your son is really being bullied at school by kids or whether he dislikes school, because he is having trouble studying. If the problem is that kids are being mean to him, then I would firmly ask the teacher whether she helps the other kids stop and if she can’t, then I think it would help him to change classes or perhaps go to another school. Children can’t learn in an environment where they feel sad and bullied all the time.
If he does have attention issues, take him to your pediatrician and ask him/her to help you find out what is going on. Your doctor can guide you in the direction he needs for further testing or perhaps medication at some point.
As far as his bad behavior at home- you need to put your foot down. You and his father need to decide what you are going to do if he speaks badly to you. He can’t yell at you- this is not acceptable. Together, you and his father can decide on an appropriate punishment for this. I would take away some privilege, like watching television, playing video games or being on his computer. And when you do take these away, make it stick. Don’t let him have them back for a couple of days and don’t give in.
The other thing that might really help is for you to invite one of his friends over to your home on a weekend. Then, you can see how he interacts with kids. You may see that he isn’t nice to them, and you can see if they are mean to him. Also- inviting friends over to the house may help him establish some friendships with kids.
Finally, you say that he isn’t coordinated. Can you find him something that he is interested in that doesn’t involve athletic skills? Does he like to play an instrument? Does he like to act in plays? Or does he enjoy any type of outdoor work or woodworking? If you ask him, I’m sure that you can find him some activity that he can enjoy and then sign him up for classes. This will help get his mind off of school, and he may meet new friends there.
Concerning your daughter, I would work with your husband about the way she treats you. This needs to stop and it sounds as though, if you make consequences for her when she misbehaves, she will probably stop. Since she doesn’t have friends either, I would try finding her something to do outside of school that she enjoys too- just like you can do for her brother. Many girls are interested in things that their friends aren’t, and she just may be bored with her friends. So do some digging- does she like animals, arts, playing an instrument or dance? I’m sure that you can find something that she will enjoy and when you do, she will meet other girls who share a common interest with her.
Best of luck!