“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Mar 7, 2014
DEAR AMY: How do I help keep my son from being bullied? He is a sensitive, kind, funny, enthusiastic third-grade boy. Last year he befriended a girl who was being badly bullied, and he stuck up for her. Soon, he was being teased. He continued to sit with her. This girl became smitten, and other kids teased him by saying, "Nick and Emily, sitting in a tree ..."

He has handled it by sticking up for himself. I have talked to teachers and the school counselor.

Aside from this he hasn't had much of an issue with being teased or bullied until this past week, when a boy at the bus stop pushed him up against the fence.

What really scares me is that this might get worse. I have this sensitive kid whose kind nature is putting a big target on his back. This is making me crazy.

Yesterday he was in a race. His entire group started chanting for another boy to win.

During the trophy ceremony, he started crying. He understood it was fair that he lost, etc., but he couldn't stop crying in front of everybody.

I want to raise an emotionally healthy kid, but I also want to be the mom with the kid who survives to be an emotionally healthy adult.

I am just at a loss.-- Upset Mom

DEAR UPSET: I shared your question with Michael Thompson, co-author of "Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children" (2002, Ballantine).

He and I agree that you may be projecting a problem onto your son, who sounds like a pretty awesome kid.

Thompson says, "I see the story of a very resilient boy whose meltdown had more to do with losing than bullying. I don't think it is a service to the child to characterize what's happening to him as bullying.

"Do not 'interview him for pain'(i.e.'How much does it hurt your feelings when those mean kids tease you?') or treat him as a victim.

"Listen, empathize with him and ask him about strategies:'Do you have ideas about how to handle that? What do you think other kids do when this happens?'

"Hopefully, the shoving incident is a one-time issue of a bigger kid dominating a smaller kid. He should learn to: ignore, walk away, stand with a friend."

My instinct is that he might enjoy karate lessons; his integrity will be valued and combined with confidence-building physical skills.

DEAR AMY: I'm dating a really great, selfless guy who has four kids, ranging from 13 to 18. I've met his kids, and they seem to like me. Although I think they're great kids, they really don't do anything to help their father (or me) in terms of household chores.

They've never helped with the dishes, laundry, cleaning, mowing lawn -- absolutely nothing!

I don't feel it's my place to tell them to help out. My boyfriend agrees with me and regrets giving them a "free ride," but says that they can't change overnight.

It's been a year, and not much has changed. I really love this man, but I can't see a future if I'm going to be playing Cinderella to these kids.-- A

DEAR A: As their father's girlfriend, you cannot tell these kids to do chores. Nor should you be their Cinderella, though you can enlist them by saying, "Guys, let's take care of these dishes together, it will get done faster."

This is a potential deal breaker for a successful long-term relationship, because today's "selfless" dad is tomorrow's doormat. Your boyfriend needs to see that he is robbing his children of important life skills, not to mention the great feeling kids get from seeing that they are a vital, irreplaceable, useful and important part of the family team.

DEAR AMY: I couldn't believe your answer to "Not on Vacation," whose parents had hosted her and her sister for two free tropical vacations.

I agree that it wasn't right of the mother to invite and then disinvite them this year because of an argument, but that brat needs to grow up and take her lumps!-- Upset Reader

DEAR UPSET: Scores of readers agreed with you.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#2 Mar 7, 2014
1- These over-protective parents these days raising an entire generation of coddled kids are doing them no favors.

"We must protect our children from bullies!"

What they should be doing is to allow children to develop naturally on their own so they can grow into self-sufficient adults.

2- Do you really want to date a man who allows his kids to walk all over him?

3- "Scores of readers agreed with you" could be rewritten as "Scores of readers agree I'm a useless idiot."

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#3 Mar 7, 2014
1 Good response from Amy but where is the boy's father or even some other father figure?

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#4 Mar 7, 2014
L1. Those bullies seem to have a peculiar way of eventually getting their clocks cleaned as time passes them by..

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#5 Mar 7, 2014
1 I think the LW is creating more drama than their needs to be. I think the kid is pretty normal, and if mom did not make such a fuss over him losing, he probably would not have bawled about it.

2 The kids wont change until dad tells them to, he's a wimp not selfless.

3 Even when you agree that everyone is calling you an idiot, you still insist you were right. You sound like a couple of posters on Topix.

Claremont, CA

#6 Mar 7, 2014
LW1 - Team Race.

LW2 - Team Race and Dog.

LW3 - I couldn't care less.


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 Mar 7, 2014
L1: Let him learn to handle these issues. That, too, is a life lesson.

L2: I agree with Amy. Enlist their help with things. He may be trying to be the Disney dad if he's divorced. The issue seems to be with the dad not the kids.

L3: Friday rehash, tired of this one.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 Mar 7, 2014
LW1: Martial arts.

LW2: Baby steps. One chore, once a week for each kid. That 18 year old better learn how to do laundry PDQ if they are going off to college.

LW3: This rehash is TSTI.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#9 Mar 7, 2014
PEllen wrote:
1 Good response from Amy but where is the boy's father or even some other father figure?
Probably sitting in the control tower trying to get the helicopter to come in for a landing.

Since: Mar 09

Hollywood, FL

#10 Mar 7, 2014
L1: I like that Michael Thompson dude's answer.

L2: What's your question? YOU can't change the dynamic, so either try to get your boyfriend to do so, or decide if you can live with things the way they are or not.

L3: Lol @ edog.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#11 Mar 7, 2014
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>Probably sitting in the control tower trying to get the helicopter to come in for a landing.
Good. I like that one.

Marina, CA

#12 Mar 7, 2014
LW1: I totally agree with squishymama, who beat me to the punch. Seriously consider enrolling your son in martial arts classes. He'll learn how to defend himself AND it will raise his self-esteem.

LW2: I hope that YOU are not helping with their laundry and their dishes! If you are, then you need to stop. Dad can either get them to help or hire a maid, his choice. Don't move in with this guy until he does one or the other.

LW3: I have paid for all of my tropical vacations. Original LW was lucky to get two free ones. She needs to stop whining yesterday and count her blessings.

Chicago, IL

#13 Mar 7, 2014
LW1: Oh Good Grief. Lady, YOU are your kid's biggest problem.
Stop being such a f***ing SMOTHER.

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