Son gets bul­lied at base­ball prac­tice SENSE & SEN­SI­TIV­ITY


DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a mother of two boys; my youngest is 8 years old, and the older one is 13. I have no­ticed that my mid­dleschool-age son has been com­ing home from base­ball prac­tice very up­set the past cou­ple of months. My hus­band and I ap­proached him about the sit­u­a­tion and learned he has been get­ting bul­lied by the team. He is in sev­enth grade, and I am not quite sure how to han­dle this sit­u­a­tion. I don’t know how in­volved I should get, or what is ap­pro­pri­ate to say to the coach. I don’t want to em­bar­rass him, but I also don’t want my son to feel the way he has been feel­ing lately.

— In­ter­ven­ing Mother, Den­ver DEAR IN­TER­VEN­ING MOTHER: This is a tricky age for chil­dren. On one hand, they are learn­ing to be more in­de­pen­dent and dis­cov­er­ing how to fend for them­selves. On the other, they re­main vul­ner­a­ble to their peers’ bad be­hav­ior and don’t al­ways have the tools to take care of them­selves through chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions.

Be­fore in­ter­ven­ing at the school, try coach­ing your son. Get him to open up to you even more so that you can learn ex­actly what the other stu­dents are do­ing and say­ing to him and how he is re­spond­ing. If pos­si­ble, sug­gest ac­tions that he can take to stand up for him­self with­out putting him in harm’s way.

Should none of those mea­sures work, tell him that you plan to speak to his base­ball coach. (You want to avoid any sur­prises.) Then re­quest a pri­vate meet­ing where you out­line what you have ob­served about your son’s mood as well as the re­ports he has shared with you about the other stu­dents. Ask for the coach’s help in rec­ti­fy­ing this sit­u­a­tion. Make it clear that you do not want your in­volve­ment to cause your son em­bar­rass­ment, but you need him to feel safe.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­ette@ har­ri­et­ or c/o An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

Mother wants to help son who is get­ting bul­lied at base­ball prac­tice.

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