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My 10 year old is excluded by the majority of his classmates, i.e. when splitting into groups for projects (no one wants him with them) or when picking sides for lunchtime play, they avoid having him on their team. He is being alienated by the "in group." How can I help him stop this before the upcoming teen years when it will only get worse? Thank you.


Rhonda Clements Replied: This situation should have been observed by your 10 year old's teacher or camp director or some other adult that can observe the other children's behavior. If your child is being bullied- then school's today should be notified and a meeting should be scheduled to assist your child. If your child is demonstrating behavior that makes him or her unpopular with small groups- then that behavior should be identified. You are wise to investigate the cause of your child's difficulties before more time passes.
Posted On 2009-08-03 17:34:07
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: Of course it's painful for you to see your child suffering like this and I admire you tremendously for seeking help for this problem. The kind of social exclusion you're describing is a form of bullying. I would suggest that you immediately talk with your son's teacher. He or she is probably already aware of what's going on (unless the teacher is asleep, this behavior would be hard to miss!) but what the teacher may not be aware of is the pain it's causing your son. Bottom line here is that the teacher has to take a leadership role. The teacher needs to talk to the students involved in way that delivers the message in no uncertain terms - "In this class we help each other. It's never OK to do anything that will intentionally hurt someone else physically. And it's not OK to ever intentionally hurt someone's feelings." If teachers aren't role modeling inclusive behavior (and making these kinds of messages a general part of their social/emotional curriculum) then they are teaching their students something entirely different. As a parent you need to advocate for your child in this way. (He will get the message that you love him and will always stick up for him, as you should.) If you don't get the desired result from talking to your son's teacher, then take it to the next level and talk with the school principal. Every student has the right to feel safe in school and it's the school's moral and legal responsibility to make sure that there is zero tolerance to bullying of any kind. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie Fox, M.Ed.
Posted On 2004-11-21 14:07:30
Mary Lyon Replied: Your question reminds me of that commercial on TV recently in which there's a gung-ho sports-freak dad urging on his decidedly UNathletic son. The poor kid can't cut it anywhere, no matter what the game or the equipment. But all's not lost - the dad still gets his chance to cheer for his little champion - as the kid turns out to be a chess master! This could well be one of those times when instant gratification needs to give way to more long-term satisfaction. Encourage your son to find some activity in which he can specialize - and excel. It will take some time and effort. You could make it a project together. Explore different ideas in which he can become a standout. It'll give him a positive "claim to fame" in class, and thereby, some much-needed stature. Maybe some music lessons? Perhaps a little private coaching if it's a sport he really yearns to conquer? Or how about some out-of-the-ordinary pursuit like fencing, karate, or gymnastics - or maybe cartooning - or gourmet cooking - or robotics - or fossil collection. That'd sure make him a hero in science class, especially if he has a specimen of dinosaur poo. Help him find some subject or activity in which he can stake out "his" turf, and build his own self-esteem. If it's an after-school activity, it might even have the added benefit of a supportive new friend or two to share his interests.
Posted On 2004-10-13 11:55:41
Mark Weiss Replied: Dear friend, It is most important that you¹re a good, sympathetic listener to your child which you sound like you are, and then it would be good to talk about next steps with him so that he is comfortable that you are representing him in a safe way for him. Next steps would be to connect with his teacher to discuss this and to work on some mutually agreeable next steps both in the classroom and in the schoolyard. You may want to talk with a guidance counselor or even the principal about the schoolyard issues because their help may be needed. One other thought: these are common, often recurring problems so ‘stopping' them completely may not be realistic, but responding to them together can be very empowering. Barbara Coloroso's book, 'The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander' is one of the best books on this issue. Also, we at Operation Respect offer free resources that your school may find useful ( All good wishes, Mark
Posted On 2004-10-13 11:53:39
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