I think 3rd Grade is tough. I don’t remember it being so tough when I was a kid. Maybe it was and I have no recall – which is entirely possible. Some of the kids in Reilly’s class are just downright mean and border on abusive. There are a couple little guys that are constantly calling him names. If he tells the teacher as the class has been instructed to do, those kids call him a tattletale for the rest of the day. Seems like a no-win situation to me.
Shad and I are all for kids developing a thick skin and we think that often times the term bullying is over-used, BUT, I see this as part of the path of what leads to being bullied. There was a time that kids were separated in school based on a number of behavioral things – and if this were that time – Reilly wouldn’t be with this group of boys.
He is not a complainer about stuff like that, but the occasional sobbing moments he has had at the dinner table because of the ruthless boys makes my heart hurt for him.
Last week, I joined Reilly at lunch to put faces with the names that I am constantly hearing. The one boy that I know is the main problem – and has caused some of the “good kids” to be pulled out of the class by their parents- sat next to Reilly. He could not sit still. He kept looking at me – moving close to Reilly and pulling away – making smart little comments and moving away again, just in Reilly’s face. Over the 20-minute lunch time I thought to myself, “wow, this little guy will do anything for attention… makes me feel bad for him.” And it made me think about this little guy, like everyone else, is just trying to find his way.
Fast forward to yesterday… I get a note from Reilly’s teacher that “a boy said something really nasty to Reilly” and “I separated them and spoke to the class about it”. When Reilly talked to me about it – he told me this little guy called him a “FAT DICK”. Really??? They are 9!! In the past Reilly has been “the idiot”, “the jerk” and a few others to name some. I’m actually just beside myself now because I feel like at what point does this impact everything? Who the heck wants that in his peer group constantly? And in addition to being a positive reinforcement at home, what can I do?
The upside is the teacher communicated the situation to me so I could think about how to openly discuss with Reilly. The other upside is Reilly is a sweet heart. He wears his heart on his sleeve, has an incredible sense of humor, he is smart and loves his family so much. He is adorable with his sisters and loves to laugh.
The downside is, I think Reilly is just so tired of it… and I’m getting there too – for him.