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My 18-year-old son is in high school and near graduating; like 40 days from now he will graduate. He is so smart and into business and science and gets top grades so I am thankful. He is so respectful to me and his mother and to all the elders. Before this, my son was in a different country, so he had a different culture and way of making friends; now it is different and he just doesn't like the type of people here.

Two months ago, he found a group of friends and he's been hanging around with them now, he went out with them like six times now and stopped all of the sudden, when we asked him he said that "I don't like the type of people here". They weren't really his friends, they just let him sit with them talk to him about school and that's it. They don't go out or anything like that. He is not depressed or sad, he just likes to be alone. I know that that's normal to be alone. Heck I like to be alone sometimes, just so I can gather myself.

Now, two weeks ago he started complaining about this kid who has a mental disability. That kid just goes around the school and keeps swearing at everyone, but for some reason he found that my son gets angry real quick and so he just started to push the limits until my son hit him, the school were so shocked of my son's actions that they forgave him because they know that he is good.

After he hit him, he regretted it. Yet, that boy still keeps coming back and just saying the same mean things. My son came to me today and was just so angry because that boy called his mother a bad word. He said "He can say anything at me and I won't get mad, but not at my family"

We keep telling him to ignore him, and that he will just go away, but I think that he is displaying his anger which is what the boy wants out of him so he just pushes. I think it's his new friends that are bringing him trouble because he tried to say that once but didn't finish what he was saying.

What should I or we do as parents? Is it right that he should just ignore him because there is only 40 days until graduation?

  • " He is not depressed or anything he just hates getting called names because he never calls anyone names." (C&P from comment below my answer.) Are you calling it bullying because he is being bullied? Name calling is unpleasant, but is not always bullying. Ignoring, taking another route, turning your back, keeping on walking with no eye contact -- all may be enough to redirect that student's attention from your son. I assume you mean 'bullying' and so my answer reflects that. Bullying is serious. It is not minor. – WRX Apr 10 '17 at 15:04
  • I am wondering if you'd consider editing your title? I ask and won't just go ahead because I do not know if I am correct. I think your Question/title should read something like: How can I help my son who might be the victim of bullying? – WRX Apr 11 '17 at 12:09
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    I also question if this is bullying, is it possible that are you being overprotective? – user27143 Apr 12 '17 at 18:51
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Most schools will have some kind of policy about bullying and treating others with respect (in the U.S. this is usually a no-tolerance bullying policy). Find out what it is and what your son should do if he is being bullied. Usually he will be directed to talk to an adult, usually a teacher. Then it is the teacher's responsibility to deal with it. Your son shouldn't have to engage this kid in any way, physically or otherwise. If this kid is a repeat offender, the teachers / principal should take steps to keep him away from your son. If they don't, escalate. Talk to the school yourself. If they don't do anything, talk to the school district / school board.

If all that fails, your son may just have to put up with it for a little while. As you've identified, this other kid does this just to get a reaction out of your son. If your son stops giving the reaction, it will likely get worse in the short term (as the kid tries to push harder to get the reaction), but it will subside when it's no longer "fun" for him and he begins to pursue someone else.

This is also an opportunity to teach a life lesson, that sometimes we have to deal with people who are jerks. Teach your son how to handle such people, by ignoring them, by reporting inappropriate actions to those in authority, by avoiding the person, etc. This likely won't be the last unpleasent person your son has to deal with in his life. Might as well learn now in a relatively safe environment (home and school) rather than later.

  • Hey there @Becuzz my son talked to "student care" (it is a department where there is two teachers that "Care" for the students), and they told him to just ignore the kid because he is mentally disabled. My son did just that and now the kid is pushing boundaries and started swearing at his mother. I remember when my son said that he hates when anyone says anything bad about me or his mother, It just gets him angry; I told my son it's because of your new friends, they are bringing you all this trouble and he said that it's because of them but he is hesitant as he doesn't want to lose them – Khalid Apr 10 '17 at 14:00
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    @BeginnerP Maybe have him go back to the student care department and tell them it isn't working. See if they have any other ideas. Just because a student is mentally disabled doesn't give him a right to do whatever he wants. (We can be more tolerant of his behavior, but it doesn't mean we just let it go without taking steps to curb it.) If they won't help, escalate it. No one has the right, mentally disabled or otherwise, to abuse another. – Becuzz Apr 10 '17 at 14:26
  • I will just try to talk to him, but his idea is to just ignore him and he seems fine and happy. He still chats with us from time to time and he got accepted into University so he just keeps telling us that he wants to avoid trouble and just leave to university. Shouldn't I just let him handle this by himself? I mean he is a grown man.. He is 18 – Khalid Apr 10 '17 at 14:30
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    @BeginnerP If he feels he can handle it, let him. It will give him an opportunity to grow and learn to deal with his own problems. Just make sure to be supportive and be there for him if he needs help / wants to talk. You can't always solve all his problems for him (nor would it be advisable to try). If he has an acceptable solution worked out, I wouldn't interfere unless it isn't working and he wants help. – Becuzz Apr 10 '17 at 14:33
  • I guess I'll just let him handle it, as long as that boy cannot harm him.. It's actually the other way around.. It's just because he doesn't like to hit/harm anyone. So I'll just let him handle his thing. Thank you once again! – Khalid Apr 10 '17 at 14:37
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I'll assume you read the other answers about bullying.

Forty days is not long if everything is okay -- however, it's a very long time to be abused.

Have you or your son discussed this with a teacher or school admin? Please go into the school or encourage your son to speak up. The only way to stop bullying is to shine a light on it. He or you should put it in writing as some schools do not want this recorded because of their own liability. Do not exaggerate at all. This is important. If there are witnesses to this bullying, your son should list the names. He should keep a journal starting immediately that lists where, when, what; and even why and how if that is necessary.

ON EDIT: I know know the following is not the case: If your son was the person who started calling names, he could apologise. Even if he did stir things up (I am not saying he did, but of course I do not know) then he still doesn't deserve to be bullied. Another way to handle it would be for him (in a group, not alone) ask if the bully is okay? "Are you okay? You seem so angry and I'd did nothing to you until you said 'xxx'. I should not have hit you and I am sorry I did. So what is happening; is there something we can help you with?" If not those words -- something like them that addresses issues but also lets others see that your son is standing up for himself and not being a bully back.

If the school says your son should not talk to the bully, then they must deal with that student. It is not acceptable simply because that student has a disorder or disability. Your son deserves protection and a peaceful school existence as much as any other student -- so insist on it. I worked with challenged kids and some were bullied and others were bullies. Yes, we expected people to have some extra understanding -- to cut them some slack -- but never at the expense of another person's safety or wellbeing.

I had one student who used the following, spoken loudly for the closest people to hear, "You are trying to bully me. Leave me alone." That worked because our school had a buddy up system. Other students would join the 'victim' and ask the bully to drop it. If it was not dropped, one kid went for help.

  • Hey there @Willow, unfortunately my son tried to speak to the "student care" (it is a department where there is two teachers that "Care" for the students) and they said that he shouldn't talk to the "bully".. Because he is mentally disabled. That's what I told my son as well.. He is not depressed or anything he just hates getting called names because he never calls anyone names. – Khalid Apr 10 '17 at 13:56
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    Okay then tell the school that he is being bullied. It is not acceptable no matter what problem the other student has. I am not being mean but if a mentally ill person came after you with a weapon, would you expect the authorities to say that he is ill, you have to be okay with the abuse? I edited my answer. – WRX Apr 10 '17 at 14:53
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    I have made the decision to just let him handle this by himself. He is a grown man, I got to show my rough side too so that he doesn't depend on us all the time, however if it gets any bit worst I will intervene instantly. He also said that he can handle it so I will just let him do so. – Khalid Apr 10 '17 at 16:03
  • @BeginnerP I am getting the idea that this may not be bullying because you are starting to backtrack a little. As a retired educator, the word 'bullying' is a hot button for me. Bullying is very serious. Calling names and being unpleasant is still unfriendly and can be stressful -- but it is not dangerous. That said, I sincerely hope this works out well for your son. – WRX Apr 10 '17 at 16:27
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    Hey there @Willow, thank you.. And yes bullying is a serious matter that we take seriously here, however, my son can handle this one. I will let him handle it so he can depend on himself because I won't be there for everything so he needs to learn. Thank you once again! – Khalid Apr 11 '17 at 13:59
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Young boys often spar with each other. Does he have a male role model in his life? It can make a big difference for him. Even if he doesn't, it's entirely up to him what kind of people he chooses to associate with. If they are too much of jerks to be around then there's no reason to.

Otherwise, learning to deal with jerks now when it's not as important can really help him build social skills that will benefit him later in life. He's so close to graduating that I think he will be fine and once he is out of high school and not forced to be around those people all day he will probably focus more on furthering his studies.

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    Hey there @iyrin, yes, I am his father.. I don't know if I am his role model though :).. He does look up to me in most of what I do.. And I know how boys are, I guess he's a bit sensitive; but this should teach him a lesson that not everyones nice just because you're nice. I don't think it's going to be a problem for him as he does seem that he is getting over it; and since graduation is near, he doesn't really care anymore, because once he is in university he will get to mingle with mature and smart people like him.. He just needs to learn that not everyone is nice and friendly. – Khalid Apr 11 '17 at 14:05
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I am not a parent but I was a student. People call you names only if you respond to them or get offended. The way is to ignore things completely, when they know that this thing has no affect on you they will stop.

Also I want to add that ignoring does not mean to respond at these names, just think that it's not your name they are calling. For some time don't even look upset when they call you names and they will know that calling you is a waste of time.

One more thing after doing that maybe they will start calling you different new things but you have to do the same with that too. Even they start physical just report it to your school and it will stop.

I hope this will help your kid. Just tell him that them calling names is just an act of jealousy which is a sign of success for you.

  • Hey there @MohammadAshraf, thank you for the tips. I'll sure tell my son to do so. We already told him to do that, he does that but sometimes he might show he's mad when that boy says even worst things. – Khalid Apr 11 '17 at 14:01
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Your son needs to amplify his perspective. If he can't connect that this boy is mentally challenged and what he says should not be taken so serious, your son will have much bigger anger issues in his adulthood against far more obnoxious people. He should find out why he struggles with the anger. The point here is that your son reacted violently, not in self defense. The issue is not bullying but finding the reason why he is angry. He's obviously having a culture clash which can cause frustration and lead to anger, and in turn be released towards a trivial circumstance.

Here is an article on hidden anger

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201509/getting-the-root-hidden-anger

  • This is isn't one line. I don't see anyone else citing anything. This is discrimination. – LetTheWritersWrite Apr 15 '17 at 5:28
  • I'm sorry @LetTheWritersWrite, so it's my son's fault for getting called names? he should be the one who's sorry? That's exactly the opposite of what should happen. I'm not defending my son.. It's just no one deserves to be called names especially if they've done nothing. My son does not have anger issues, trust me, I'm sure of it. – Khalid Apr 15 '17 at 9:02
  • Reacting defensively is the worst thing you can do. Do you read anywhere in my post about blaming your son? I'm only trying to help you see the more pressing issue. Yes, it's annoying that someone is calling your son names. But why is your son having trouble ignoring them? It's a hidden anger. You described all kinds of obvious signs and yet want to say you know your son. Teenagers have internal struggles you have no idea about and if you are going to dig your heels, you are doing a disservice to your son. – LetTheWritersWrite Apr 15 '17 at 15:01

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