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14 yr old son being teased to breaking point
August 29, 2000
12:01 am
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cd
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My son has gone to school with the same children since kindergarten. When he entered middle school one of his friends started calling him chicken boy (it goes with our name) and from there it went to him having sex with chickens The kids make clucking noises at him, I've heard them when I pick him up and on the soccer field. When the whole thing started I told him to try to ignore it and it would eventually die down. That was more than 2 years ago. I know he will change as he starts going through the teenage years but I'm afraid this will change fundamentally who he is. As a mother watching my child suffer is shreading my heart. Everytime I hear those kids I feel such pain for him. I want to be there to help him but I don't know how to. I'm the mommy usually I've been able to solve things but he doesn't want me to talk to anyone at the school not even the school counselor. This isn't a problem that could be solved with parents either. He swears that will make it worse besides it's not just 10 kids it's more like a hundred. This is wearing on him to the point he's not involved much with kids his own age. He has instead developed this smart mouthed reply to make sure they don't know their hurting him. I'm starting to understand how kids reach the breaking point. He does not want to seek counseling, I have asked him to start keeping a journal, guaranteed private.

I would appreciate any advice you may have for him or for me. I picked him up from school the other day and there were 10 kids standing on the corner clucking at him. I know it sounds silly but when you've watched your child suffer it really hurts. A neighbor even told me her child's friend asked him if it was true that my son had sex with live chickens. How do I deal with the urge to jump out of the car and scream at these children. I've been up till 3 am for more than a month now trying to deal with this, praying that I could find a solution to help ease his pain.

August 29, 2000
12:05 pm
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Jaskid
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cd,
My heart goes out to you and your son. I have 4 girls and a boy on the way and they are still young, but if any one of them was going through what your son is, I would probably fight those hundred of kids, along with the parents!!! Something like this is enough to push a kid over the edge! Especially in the teenage years because their feelings are so intense, to them it seems like they will always feel this way. People in this world are so cruel! My oldest is just going into 1st grade and to tell you the truth I do not know how I am going to handle all of the obstacles along the way. My husband is so protective of our children that I just know if a crisis comes up like yours He will pull them right out of school and home school them himself.
I don't have any answers for you, but I do know that you need to just Love you son to death and teach him the right ways. Explain to him that it does not matter what people say or do to you...It matters only how you feel about yourself! I would go to the school cousellor without your son knowing and tell him/her what is going on. Do you have a husband? Is his father involved in his life? He definitely needs a Father figure to guide him. Where do you live? Is there a group called Young Life in your area? This is a wonderful non-denominational youth group that could change his life. It did mine when I was his age...also my husbands, We both come from very disfunctional families. Pray, Pray, Pray, God knows your pain cd, ask him to help you. I am a mother and when I think about what you are going through inside I want to cry. Here's a
a ((((((HUG))))))). "The thing that makes us weak can only make us stronger!" Hang in there and please keep me informed.

:)Jaskid

August 29, 2000
12:36 pm
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cd
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Thanks for your reply Jaskid you said really great things, most of them I've already said to my son. My husband is involved with him but I don't know if he's really understanding how much this is actually hurting him. It seems like most men even if they were teased seem to forget just how painful it was to be 14 let alone add teasing on top of it. Thats one of the reasons I want him to journal. Maybe one day he'll be able to help another child by remembering just exactly how intense it was. I have also thought about home schooling but my son is totally against it. One other thing I'm worried about is watching for warning signs it's reaching a breaking point. If this experience makes him a stronger adult that's great however I want to make sure he has the tools to get him through it to the other side.

August 29, 2000
12:38 pm
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Molly
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Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. I agree with Jaskid, at this point the other children are out of controll, it has gone on to long. I would indeed go to the counselor and ask for the school to respect your confidentialiaty, as well as get the problem under controll, and you will have to name some names, is the stuff happening at school games, or private sports, if private sports too, I would speak to the coach or board, and again request confidentialiaty. As screwey as it sounds the other kids could be up against liable charges, and if they threaten him physically in any way, there is definately a chance of legal involvement. Not that this is my style, but with the bumper stickers that say my hoodlem beat up your honor student, there is a strange parent mentality out there, and you need to fight in his behalf . I have also seen some good church groups for kids they need the balance of love, that is completely abscent from public school today. And Jaskid, I think today, that I would support your husband in home schooling, its a jungle out there, and I would much rather a couple of kids get their social skills with people who share like minds. I have heard of churches now doing group home schooling, and I am so sorry but with the facts and figures comming from the public system that will take years to clean up, my kid comes first. Keep praising that kid for his endurance, and some tae bo lessons might not hurt too. self esteem with respect for others. good luck

August 29, 2000
1:18 pm
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Cici
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From the research I did (parentclick.com was a good resouce:
http://www.parentclicks.com/teasing.html) and from my own experiences, I'd say that it's nearly impossible to control what other people say. Behavior in offices and social groups often mimicks this and the only thing you can do as an adult is not respond to childish behavior and contact the proper authorities when the teasing becomes harrassment.

First of all, remember that these other children learned their behavior from somewhere, usually their parents. Many bullies are abused or neglected at home and seek attention through overtly aggressive acts on other chidren that they perceive as weak or shy. This is why punishing chldren who misbehave doesn't work well. It doesn't teach them why they are wrong, only that they are bad. So teh problem isn't solved.

The #1 recommended advice is for the child to become more confident in themself. This can happen in many ways. You can encourage him to engage in activities with children who won't tease him, church youth groups, for example. Encourage him to get into a sport he likes: karate, basketball, baseball, football, even rock climbing or wrestling.

The key is to not allow your son to feel like he is a victim. I learned this while being counseled for rape trauma. When you feel like a victim, you will brodcast that to everyone around you and the hostile children will take advantage of that perceived weakness.

If this has gone on for years, go behind his back and discuss the issue with the school guidance counselor. If you ask, he/she will respect your request for confidentiality.

My fiacne was terribly teased as a child because he was smaller than most children his age. He got into wrestling, running, basball and karate, as well as working an after school job, when he was in high school. His self-confidence shot up and he wasn't teased anymore.

August 29, 2000
2:07 pm
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Jaskid
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cd,

Do you think your son would have any interest in Karate? Karate is a great way to build up a childs self esteem and confidence. My husband started doing karate at age 12 and he was kinda over weight and insecure. It has definitely made him a better man today...He learned how to deal with peer pressure and respect others and he says that the discipline was the key in making him a stronger person. Maybe its worth checking into. Bring him to a local Karate class to observe, maybe he will want to get involved.

:)Jaskid

August 29, 2000
6:29 pm
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christina
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cd,
Hi, i'm a 15 yr old girl from indiana. i can totaly relate to what your son is going through. maybe if he won't talk to you or a counselor he'd be willing to talk to someone his own age...is there anyway i could talk to him about it? I've had a rather 'interesting' nickname myself and it's been with me for about 5 years, so i know what he's going through. i think if i could talk to him i might be able to help him build his self esteem back up. my e-mail is [email protected]...feel free to have him e-mail me or you can if you'd like...

August 29, 2000
11:26 pm
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cd
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Thank you all so much for the advice sometimes it's just good not to feel so alone in a situation. Christina I really appreciate the offer. I'm strongly considering it but I'm not sure how he will react to my telling his story online. Thanks so much everyone and if there's anymore advice out there I'd love to hear it.

August 31, 2000
12:16 pm
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hazza
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Hey there CD,
My brother has exactly the same problems (although not regarding chickens!) he was teased and bullied because he was overwieght and much taller than his peers. Eventually he developed a school phobia and actually left school at 14 never getting his exams. So I know how serious an issue this can be.

HOWEVER! the good news is, you are hadling this superbly so far! you have gievn your son love, and you have respected his views. He will not under any circumstances want you to interfere - that is normal, because he feels it will get worse if you do.

But you should at least talk to the school regarding this matter.

You need to keep on reinforcing to him that it is nothing he has done to cause this. It is jkust because of his name that kids have started this and it has snowballed.

I remember myself at school when a kid i didn't even know came up to me and said oh you are the *** (usuing the rather nasty name kids called me)

it was a strange kind of fame.

the suggestions made already echo what I would suggest - build his confidence outside school, concentrate on his strengths and make sure as Cici said that he doesn't act teh victim.

a sense of humour on his part canoveride these things also. it sounds like he can be quite funny also! he can turn this fame he has around and be the most popular kid in school should he choose to go for it. if kids tease him and he gets angry then they will continue, if the kids tease him yet he comes up with a quick funny reply - they will warm to him - this is how I turned around the bullying in my life. But he will need to have lots of confidence to do that. So maybe build up his confidence first.

The worst part can be the anger he feels. With my brother his anger would come out at home with lots of tantrums. IS this situation making your son really angry do you think? is there a way that you can get him, in his mind, to let go of anger towards these kids and see that they are jsut acting like kids do - stupidly.

I think, being the age I am now and knowing what I know now, if it were me, I would go to school dressed as a chicken and cluck all day and have the last laugh! but I doubt I could do that at 14.

The wierd thing is, kids usually get bored with antics like thatand move on - I wonder if there is anything that is "keeping the joke alive" does your son show that they affect him? that may be what they get out of it. has he tried replying "yeah absolutely I **** chickens! everynight, last night I made it with a little brown hen called matilda!"

the unfortunate thing is where ever you go in the world - as children, some kids are cool and some are not! I have spent time being the loser and also being the cool kid who everone wanted to know - why it happens I do not know - why - I guess is because we are animals at the end of the day and kids are closer to those sort of instincts than when they grow up I think.
have you thought about changing schools? my popularity rocketed when I changed schools, in the old school I was bullied int he new one I was the best thing ever. Makes no sense.

whatever, it is clear that the kids inthis school have labeled your son fair game to be teased in this way. and the best thing to do is cope with it until it passes, and for your son to try to turn the situation around.

if only he knew it but he has a lot of power at his hands - he is famous in his school. Everyone knows him and he can turn it around if he wants to and use that fame, by beoming noted for his humour and the way he laughs at himself also. this is how many of the owrlds finest comedians started out.
I took the marilyn Monroe approach - "I don't care what people say about me, as long as they are talking about me"
best of luck for you are your son - remember they are just kids - any group of kids when put together seem to leave their brains at the door.

the other tactic I used was to become a punk! the red hair and piercings soon stopped any bullying!
but the bottomline is confidence, you cannot stop this happening, but you can help your son build the tools to rise above it and value himself and others despite it.
Peace
Hazza

September 1, 2000
12:34 am
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cd
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Hazza, thanks for he input and my son's already ahead of this on the comedy things, I've even wondered if it's part of the reason it's been kept alive. He has come up with some unbelievable comebacks, things I'm not sure normally I would be comfortable knowing that he's saying but under these circumstances all I can do is laugh with him sometimes. I guess my worst fear in all of this is that he'll put up a defensive wall that won't come down once he leaves the school. I'd hate to see him miss out on things like love and true friendship because of the wall he's put up. He has also shown anger but I have to wonder how much of that is just being 14.

September 2, 2000
7:59 pm
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Learner
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CD

I believe that parents have to step in when they see wrong. Your son has tried to handle the situation on his own unsuccessfully. I made a rule that I would intervene in such situations until my kids said no as high school seniors. I became involved in a situation of my daughters when she was in the 11th grade. The situation was much worse than I thought and intervention was necessary. (Her situation was mild compared to your sons) My daughter told me not to interfere but I did. She became angry but later she told me, Thank you Mom. My guess is that your son's situation is much worse than your son describes. Also, other kids are being treated this way or worse. School personnel and responsible adults need to stop this behavior before a tragity results.

September 3, 2000
2:27 pm
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stumpymole
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CD YOU SAY YOU FEAR YOUR BOY HAS BUILT UP A WALL OF DEFENSIVNESS WITH HIS HUMOR AND THIS WILL NOT GO AWAY WHEN HE LEAVES SCHOOL. PERHAPS IT WILL PERHAPS IT WON'T YET THIS DEFENSE IS ONE OF THE HEALTHY BREED OF DEFENSES. FOR YOUR BOY TO REPLY WITH A COMEDIC COMBACK RATHER THAN A HATEFUL THREATING COMBACK OR SIMPLY NONE WHICH WOULD BE REPRESSION WHICH WOULD BE WORSE THAN THE COMEDY. IS THE KID KEEPING UP WITH HIS JOURNAL? THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA AND IF HE IS WRITING HIS TRUE FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS INTO THIS IT ACTS IN A THERAPUTIC NATURE. NEVER BREAK HIS TRUST AND READ IT. FEEDBACK FROM A PEER WITH THE SAME PROBLEM IS A GOOD IDEA, ALSO FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE SCHOOL VERY ANOYMOUSLY. I HOPE ALL THE BEST. STUMPYMOLE

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