My 4 Year Old is being Bullied Already!

by MyDadBlog on February 28, 2009

in Advice,Pre-School

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The news came sooner than I expected.  Every kid inevitably encounters bullying at some point in their lives.  For me, the most prominent memory (if I recall, the only one actually) was around 7th or 8th grade.  I was dismayed and saddened to hear that for our little guy, it’s beginning at age 4.  Since I don’t want to publicly trash a 4 year old by name if anyone in our circle of friends someday reads my blog, I’ll endearingly refer to him as “Satan”. 

So, for the past couple weeks, our 4 years old’s been coming home saying that Satan is mean to him.  At first, we figured it was some typical kid that might be a little crazier than ours or perhaps Kevin was just overreacting or something.  Upon further questioning, he’d change his story a few times and then if asked if he did anything to Satan, he’d say that he contributed to the situation by making faces at him or doing x, y or z.  Then it subsided for a while.  However, more recently, he started to say that he hated school and didn’t want to go any more because Satan was always mean to him.

We went to a school concert and I got to see Satan first hand.  He clearly has some sort of disorder, he seemed almost drunk the way he was acting.  Since they were all on stage, he didn’t pick on any kids in particular, he was just kind of swaggering around the stage, his eyes were darting all over and I can really only liken his behavior to someone that isn’t well.  So, evidently, he has some issues.  His parents seemed very nice and pretty normal, so I can only deduce that he’s a future diagnosis of some type for special treatment and perhaps, pharmaceuticals at an early age.  A few more weeks went by, including some claims from Kevin that Satan had hit him or called him names like “baby” and “poopy-head” (while somewhat amused, I guess at 4, it’s upsetting to be called a poopy-head..he seemed genuinely disturbed over it).  On one hand, I didn’t want to be that “helicopter parent” who just hovers over every issue and coddles our child, but at the same time, with Kevin so distraught over the situation and always referring to the same bully, there seemed to be something abnormal going on here.

So, we just had the parent-teacher conference and my wife asked about the situation.  We were relieved to hear that a) while citing some degree of confidentiality/discretion, the teacher did let on that there was “a situation” and that it wasn’t our kid, it was Satan and b) that she had already taken evasive action and started rotating the children around in groups to separate Kevin and Satan.  She then let on that Satan is now behaving the same way toward other children.  While I wasn’t necessarily happy to hear that some other child was now feeling as badly as Kevin was (or perhaps even worse), but admittedly, it somewhat lessened the blow to hear that my child wasn’t the “sole victim” in the class, but rather, Satan basically took up his behavior with whoever was around him.

There are a few months left in the pre-school year and I’m relieved to report that they will not be going the same kindergarten.  However, occasional confrontations continue to occur.  Most recently, Kevin said that while the teacher stepped out of the class to talk to someone in the hall, Satan hit him in the face.  My son’s a little young to understand how to deal with a bully; I recall that it took much internal conflict and a “screw it, see what happens” adrenaline rush to finally stand up to my bully.  In retrospect, I was just one in a long line of victims for some kid who came from a broken home and probably didn’t go anywhere in life.  After a couple weeks of persistent bullying, we finally threw down in the school yard, I actually got the best of him and even though he sucker-punched me when the vice-principal was holding me back, he knew I wasn’t going to stand for his cowardly bullying behavior any more.  He moved on to someone else after that.

Kevin’s obviously too young to teach how to box like my father did when I was much older.  For now, I just tell him to let Satan know he doesn’t like how he’s treating him and I went as far as saying that if Satan is hitting him and the teacher isn’t there to intervene, to just hit him back.  At 4, what’s the worst that can happen?  Perhaps Satan will back off a bit.

Anyone have similar experiences with a Bully at this early age that can share some advice?

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