View Full Version : Correcting Odd Behavior without being Mean


daffy7474
04-11-14, 08:54 AM
Hi there - another issue that I could use some advice on. My daughter is 12 and has ADHD - she was diagnosed at 9. She is on medication and we are working through some issues at school with bullying and behavior, but they seem to be getting under control (knock on wood).

Something that ties me up in knots every day is an issue with the school bus. My daughter rides the bus with middle & high school kids to get to school each day. Our house is on the edge of the district and there are several open-enrolled kids who get on the bus at our stop, including a group of boys a year older than my daughter. These boys either walk in from across the highway where the other district is, or their parents drop them off and leave - none of the parents stay to supervise. These boys form a group with other boys on the bus who began tormenting my daughter at the beginning of the year. She reported that it dropped off somewhat, but here is what I see:

Each day my daughter waits until the last moment to go out for the bus so that she doesn't have to stand there with these boys. When she does go out, she joggles in position so that she can be the first one across the street and onto the bus. She does this because she's aiming to get an open seat near the front of the bus. If she's not the first one on, one of the boys will take the open seat, and force her further back on the bus to find a place to sit, where the other boys will bother her.

In addition to her mad dash across the street (when the other kids are casually walking), she will repeatedly put out her hand, actively preventing anyone from going past her, and will sometimes skip or jump her way across the street. Very odd behavior for a middle schooler. I don't believe she deserves to be picked on, but her odd behavior isn't making it any easier on herself.

I've tried talking to her about not acting that way, but she reports that the way I talk to her makes her feel like I'm picking on her or being mean. I don't want to make her feel bad - at the same time, how else do I try to get her to stop? Teasing from the boys doesn't seem to be making a difference. Should I even try to make her stop? If it's achieving what she wants maybe it's no big deal and just my own insecurities that are making me think it's a problem.

I've considered driving her to school or letting her get on at another stop, but then I thought about it - WE are the ones who live here! Why should she go to another stop so that kids who don't even live here can get on at her stop? I'm not sure talking to the bus driver will help - he can't force kids to not sit near the front just so she can, and getting her an 'assigned seat' will only make her differences more obvious. Thoughts? advice? Do I just suck it up and ignore it?

Dopes1
04-11-14, 09:21 AM
she will repeatedly put out her hand, actively preventing anyone from going past her,

What do you mean by this? If you mean she stops other people on the school bus, that's a problem.

If you mean she "stops" other people, the people who are casually walking, from overtaking her while she makes a mad dash for the school bus in the morning, that's not really hurting anybody.

Other than potentially instigating other people who don't know her, if it's her inclination to run or skip or moonwalk her way to the bus, so what?

I don't know what degree of 'torment' these boys are inflicting on your daughter but when I was in school kids were pretty ruthless. If the bullying is effecting her performance in school, maybe the best thing to do would be to drive her to school?

WE are the ones who live here! Why should she go to another stop so that kids who don't even live here can get on at her stop?

I don't know. Is it that important that she be tormented because she was 'there first'?

Yeah, I see what you're saying. The boys shouldn't even be there in the first place, their parents don't give a **** about them enough to make sure they even get to school in the first place - let alone behave themselves on the bus.

But even accepting all of that, if it's unacceptable that she go to another bus stop or that you drive her to school, why is it acceptable for you to expect her to act differently?

I've tried talking to her about not acting that way, but she reports that the way I talk to her makes her feel like I'm picking on her or being mean.

Your daughter is 12, diagnosed at 9, being medicated and in your own words is working through issues with bullying and behaviour. I would say, she's not just acting eccentric because she wants to invite people to single her out.

Chances are, she's trying her best and that's why she doesn't feel good about her father telling her she's not acting appropriately.

So bar asking the bus driver to stop the bullying (I wouldn't expect help from any bus driver on the planet), putting the fear of God into the high school boys, or burying your head in the sand - you're left with few options.

If the only thing stopping you from taking her to school yourself, or at the very least taking her to a different bus stop is the fact that she was at the other bus stop first, I would say that's insanity.

TygerSan
04-11-14, 09:23 AM
Hmm. . . that is a tricky one.

Middle school really, really sucked for me. Like your daughter, I talked to the wrong people (unpopular/visibly disabled), and did some things that people thought were weird. I had no friends, and was teased *a lot*.

I find it quite distressing, also, that the district thinks it's a good idea for middle and high-schoolers to ride together on the bus. A 12 year old is much different than a 15/16 year old maturity wise, but also size-wise.

Do you have any sort of relationship with the bus driver? Honestly, I might speak with the people in charge of transportation. There may be a way to create a rule that allows your daughter to sit towards the front of the bus (either board by age, or something similar) that wouldn't really single her out so much.

Are the open enrolled kids even supposed to ride this bus? Might it be possible for *them* to get a different bus? (again, depends on relationship with school and the relationship the school has with transportation).

If you think she's in danger, I wouldn't hesitate to drive her to another stop so she doesn't have to deal with them.

As for the weird behavior, meh, either she's aware of it and is unable to stop, or she's not and singling it out makes her feel like more of a freak. I've been there. It gets better with age. I found middle schoolers to be the most intolerant, self-centered, meanest human beings on the planet.

sarahsweets
04-11-14, 12:24 PM
No matter who is at the stop or deserving of getting on the bus, if my 12 yr old had to ride with high school kids I would drive her everyday. Even if they didnt pick on her its almost guaranteed that she will hear something inappropriate from the older kids. Have you repeatedly reported the bullying? What has the school done? Keep reporting it and demand to speak with the principal, she does not deserve this and even if she never rides the bus again, these little sh*ts should get in trouble. While the behavior can be odd, can you really blame her? It has to be hard for a child who suffers that kind of torment, I would skip and hold my hands out too, actually I would probably give them the finger but unless she wants attention, obviously thats not the solution. I think your biggest concern should be having the school involved in a solution to these as*holes and that you should drive her to school regardless if the bullying stops or not.

Lunacie
04-11-14, 12:43 PM
Talk to the principal, talk to the bus driver, talk to the head of transportation,

talk to the district school supervisor ... talk to everyone and keep talking

until something changes.

I don't see how making sure she can sit close to the driver would make her any more

of a target than she already is?



Why are these boys riding this bus instead of the one that goes by their homes?

Is it possible they've been banned from that bus route?

If so, they should be banned from riding any bus to school.

Fuzzy12
04-11-14, 12:44 PM
I've considered driving her to school or letting her get on at another stop, but then I thought about it - WE are the ones who live here! Why should she go to another stop so that kids who don't even live here can get on at her stop? I'm not sure talking to the bus driver will help - he can't force kids to not sit near the front just so she can, and getting her an 'assigned seat' will only make her differences more obvious. Thoughts? advice? Do I just suck it up and ignore it?

From your daughter's point of view, it doesn't matter who was where first. That's something you can sort out with the bus driver, school authorities or the parents of the other kids.

You should drive her to school or ler her get the bus at another stop so that she doesn't have to undergo the daily torment. It's not her fault that she is getting bullied, that the other kids are getting in at the wrong stop or that you live in that area. Why should she have to suffer for your principles?

Fuzzy12
04-11-14, 01:24 PM
I just read my previous post again (^^) and I think, I sounded quite harsh. I'm really sorry about that. That wasn't my intention.

I just think that the first priority here should be to get your daughter out of this unpleasant situation. She's already experienced bullying at school and she shouldn't have to be subjected to bullying anywhere. I think bullying can be quite harmful and can cause long term damage to kids and while it would be nice to tackle the problem at the source, I'd rather focus on changing her immediate situation.

Her behaviour might seem odd or inappropriate but I think, it's actually quite admirable that she is trying to deal with the situation as best as she can rather than refusing to ride the bus or refusing to go to school at all. I'm not sure she necessarily doesn't understand that her behaviour is odd and should be changed. If her behaviour seems extreme it's probably a reflection of the extreme anguish she goes through when she is being subjected to the bullying of the older boys on the bus and she's trying everything she can to avoid that. I don't think, it's surprising if she doesn't take it well when you are asking her to not use this defense mechanism that she has found without providing an alternative solution to stop the bullying.

I do think that you should speak to everyone you can to get the situation sorted so that your daughter can get into the bus at the most convenient bus stop for both of you but I suspect that these things can take a long time to be resolved. In the mean while I think, it's more important to make sure that she doesn't get subjected to anymore bullying than is necessary and it's seems like there is a possible solution, i.e. driving her to school or letting her alight at another bus stop.

dvdnvwls
04-11-14, 01:36 PM
A 12-year-old feeling uncontrollably nervous about a group of older boys targeting her is not behaving oddly and doesn't need correcting.

salleh
04-11-14, 01:46 PM
......I'm with Sarah on this one ....follow all her suggestions about those boys, and drive her to school .....you have no idea what kind of damage is happening to her having to run this gauntlet every day ........


.......Start tomorrow ......

Stevuke79
04-11-14, 03:19 PM
I will respond to the rest later but there is one part of this that jumped out at me.

I've tried talking to her about not acting that way, but she reports that the way I talk to her makes her feel like I'm picking on her or being mean. I don't want to make her feel bad - at the same time, how else do I try to get her to stop? Teasing from the boys doesn't seem to be making a difference. Should I even try to make her stop?

Don't try to make her stop.

#1. You can't get her to stop. She has to figure it out. She will when she's ready, I promise you.
#2. You don't have to tell her, "they're picking on you because you do this" because:
a. They told her for you. She knows already.
b. It's not true!! And she will be popular (and probably stop her quirks too) when she finally realizes it's a lie.
I know you know this and I know you just want to help her not be the target. You can't. She can. She will. Leave it alone.
c. You will only reinforce that she's picked and unlikable because of her quirks, and it 's her fault.

I have a daughter too - she's 6 so it's not so bad yet, but she's already weird and she's already picked on. I swear to God I know how much it hurts. I'm telling you dad, don't do it. Leave it alone; she'll figure it out.

dvdnvwls
04-11-14, 03:25 PM
Leaving picked-on kids alone to "figure it out for themselves" only works by accident, and only part of the time. I don't know which part of the time... but the rest of the time, the situation escalates and things turn bad in a long-term painful way.

Stevuke79
04-11-14, 03:33 PM
If I was at all unclear, I'm glad DVD pointed this out. Dad,.. she needs you to help her figure out a LOT, particularly social issues and issues regarding being picked on.

But hands off her quirks!

MommysBears
04-11-14, 05:34 PM
Just wanted to offer a personal experience. I was harassed on the bus numerous times (I was shy and quiet). But in 7th grade I was harassed by a senior in high school. I never told on him because I was terrified. He would sit in the seat with me and tell me how much he liked my glasses and how pretty I was looking today. I know this is different from how your daughter is being harassed but it's terrifying to be on a trapped bus with someone you're afraid of. So I would beg you to please help her.

willow129
04-11-14, 07:46 PM
This is awful, and I feel like you don't even know how much she is experiencing on that bus...it could be as much as she is saying or it could be more... You need to remove her from that situation as much as you can and TELL THE SCHOOL. It should also be their responsibility to make sure their students are safe.

tripleE
04-14-14, 12:34 PM
My thoughts on bussing is that the bus is an extension of the school and bullying should be treated the same as if it were happening in the classroom.

For my daughter with ADHD we were "fortunate" to have a year-long on/off bully in grade 3 and she learned the skills she still has today, HOWEVER support and guidance is still needed.

We have a bus bully situation here (the bus monitor actually! lol). My daughter has been caught up in the conflict, so as far as that goes I have suggested she stay out of the conflict and follow the rules, and if the bullying continues it goes like this:

1. tell the bully to stop
2. tell the bully to stop or you will report
3. report

Long way of saying - keep the anti-bullying strategy simple and consistent. Support her and teach her whatever is under her control to do.

If it doesn't work and there is no support at school, get her out of the situation. Protection of self esteem, in my opinion, is of prime importance at this age.

Plus it doesn't hurt if a child knows that mom/dad has their back. It's not indulging them if you ask them to solve the problem as best they can first, and then help them if you can't.

Good luck, these situations are tough!!

zette93
04-14-14, 05:58 PM
What do the boys do that bothers her? Is it verbal, such that she could have a small recorder in her pocket, get it on tape, and play it for the school principal?