“Can I show you my stone?” he said as he pulled a large stone out of his pocket. I had just taken my 10-year-old son to meet a child psychologist. As he said hello, my sweet boy held the stone in his hand. It had HOPE written in large letters.
The psychologist got down to his level, and said “Tell me about this.” My son explained that he had done well in a maths test and had been offered the opportunity to choose a prize. When he saw the stone, he knew that was right for him, because he said, “I need hope.” He explained that he now carried it round in his pocket, whenever he was at school, or doing other scary things.
My heart broke when I heard him link going to school with other scary things. But that was the truth, and why we were in the room.
Once upon a time, we had a very happy little family. It took us a long time for us to have our children – we needed IVF. But we were lucky enough to have two healthy boys, born 22 months apart. They were easy-going babies who slept through the night and they loved each other dearly – putting their beds next to each other and holding hands as they fell asleep.
Our happy experience changed when the boys started at a new school. Within a short time, my younger son started wilting, looking anxious and much less happy when heading off to school. We sat down and talked and discovered that he had been targeted by another boy who was also new to the school. Day by day the situation got worse, and this is what was happening to our child:
- He would get shoved in the corridor, several times a day;
- He would get kicked and punched in his legs and arms, getting bruises all over his body;
- He was called names like “frog” or accused of being “gay’, also several times a day;
- Now he isn’t gay, and he is a very good looking boy, but he really began to doubt himself, saying he must be ugly;
- The attacks escalated …
- He had a stick held up against his eye in the classroom;
- This boy put his hands around our son’s neck and attempted to strangle him, telling our boy he was going to “get wasted”;
- My son had his teeth thrust through the area above his mouth and he had to have plastic surgery on his face, costing thousands of dollars;
- He started wetting the bed, sometimes several times a night, developed “night terrors” and anxiety attacks so bad he ended up in paediatric emergency;
- The specialists told us we had to stop the bullying.
The school suggested that my son change the way he walked, and only walk in the playground when he had another friend with him.
Now there is nothing wrong with the way my son walks, but there were a lot of problems in the way the school responded to our son’s experience. Our son was not safe at school. The school leaders were not keeping him safe.
Here we were getting him psychological help – because he had told me that he was so sad going to school that he was thinking about throwing himself in the traffic as he walked down the road to the school.
Something happened for me that day as I introduced him to the psychologist.
I had felt like a failure as a mother because I hadn’t been able to get the school to listen. I had felt disconnected from other mothers as they talked about cake stalls and we supported our son through plastic surgery.
But as I sat outside that consulting room where my son was getting professional help, something changed inside.
I became determined that we were going to get this behaviour to stop.
And I became determined that we were going to do everything in our power to help our gorgeous boy recover.
We changed our approach, and we succeeded.
We learned how to change the way we dealt with the school …
We learned how to nurture our son when he got home so he told us what had happened that day. He felt loved and acknowledged before moving on to stuff that wasn’t about bullying.
We learned what questions to ask so we had all the facts we needed to be the strong parents he deserved.
We learned how to use technology, so the school couldn’t deny what had happened or how bad it had felt for him.
We learned that our role was critical – nobody but us would keep and communicate a record of what really happened to our sweet boy with the bullying – both what happened and how he felt. The school certainly wouldn’t, because it wasn’t in the school’s interests to have a record of what they were ignoring.
We learned how to deal with the school, so they couldn’t pick and choose what to respond to, and what to ignore.
When we changed everything changed.
We got the attention of school authorities.
The bully was asked to leave the school.
The bullying stopped.
Our son started smiling again, and enjoying school, and learning again. We had hope again. We got our family back.
The wheel had turned.
And we now know completely how to stop bullying in it’s tracks.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you stop school bullies:
1. Grab a free copy of our guide
It’s the roadmap to understanding and side-stepping the traps set by schools that prevent you keeping your child safe at school. — Click Here
2. Join our free webinar
Fast paced, free online “crash course’ training. Now you can escape endless waste of time school meetings, stop the bullying of your child, and get your life back. — Click Here
3. Join our Implementation Program and connect with parents who are also stopping the bullying of their child
We’re putting together a new implementation program – working with parents to stop the bullying of their child, fast. If you’d like to work with us to get this problem fixed … — Click Here