Dear Therapist:

I am an 8-year-old boy. There is an older boy who beats me up and bothers me every day on the bus. He is bigger than me and if I ignore him he just acts worse. There is nothing the...[school]...can do because there is no teacher on the bus. I really worry about it a lot and I don't like going to school anymore (although it is true that I really like it once I get there). My parents said I can write to you to ask you for advice.

 

Response:

It’s good that you are open with your parents about being bullied. I’m sure that they have good advice for you, and that they will do whatever is necessary to help you in this situation.

Unfortunately, many kids are bullied every day. Bullies often don’t feel very good about themselves, and have problems of their own. This obviously doesn’t excuse any of their behavior. Nor does this knowledge change your situation. Nonetheless, understanding what may be causing this bully to act in the way that he does may help you to approach the problem a little differently.

For instance, if you knew that this bully has a troubled home and feels like he’s worthless, would this change how you feel toward him? Would this make it easier for you to approach a teacher or the principal? Might this even change how you respond to the bully? If your parents were to speak with the principal, would they obtain information that would shed some light on this problem? If so, this could help them to address it properly.

I don’t know the particulars of the situation. I don’t know how involved the bus driver is with what goes on while he’s driving. I don’t know whether your parents have discussed the matter with school officials—or with the bully’s parents. If so, I don’t know whether these discussions are ongoing, or if they have achieved anything.

Without more information, I cannot give you specific advice. However, remember that bullying is never acceptable, and that it is the job of the adults in your life to help you when you have a problem that you cannot resolve on your own. Do not assume that having spoken about this with your parents in the past is enough. They may assume that if you haven’t brought it up recently the issue has been resolved. It is important to make sure that any adult who should be involved is, and that they are aware of any incidents that occur. Hopefully, your parents and the school can combine to put a quick end to the problem.

Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

 psychotherapist in private practice

 Brooklyn, NY   |   Far Rockaway, NY

 author of Self-Esteem: A Primer

 www.ylcsw.com / 718-258-5317