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Bullies Harassing Military Child

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My ex-husband is in the Army. I decided to live in the same city where he is stationed so that he can see our sons often. The problem now is that bullies are constantly harassing our 13-year-old son.

They tease and taunt him. They hit and push him. They laugh at him and call him names. The few friends my son has refuse to hang out with him because they fear retaliation.

Teachers keep looking the other way. One of them even said that my son needs to toughen up at bit because this is normal behavior for teenagers. Administrators keep procrastinating and won’t confront these kids or their parents.

In the meantime, my son keeps sinking further into a depression and doesn’t even want to go to school most days. Now, the bullies are saying mean things about him on Facebook too! When my son reads this, he is devastated.

I’m experiencing so much stress because I work in a hostile environment. I was physically attacked by a co-worker. I believe this woman was mean enough to attack me because she looked at me as the weakest link instead of attacking someone who would fight back.

I wanted to become a manager in my department and now I feel like other people can’t see me as a leader.

I don’t know how to help my son because I don’t know how to help myself. His confidence is so low almost like he doesn’t even know who he is anymore. Ms. Vicki, I just don’t understand why people are so mean!

Sincerely,
Bullied Mother and Son

Dear Bullied Mother,

Surely this is not the end of the story? You were bullied and physically assaulted and your son is continually bullied -- this can’t be the end of the story.

There are layers of accountability in your letter. This is a legal issue for you and your son. You cannot be bullied and assaulted on your job and your son cannot be tormented and bullied at school by his peers.

There are many teenagers who have ended their lives because of mean and nasty comments from classmates posted on Facebook. I advise you to print and/or take screen shots of the comments on your son’s Facebook page. Then close the account.You can also find tips for dealing with bullying on Facebook here.

Also, check your son’s cell phone for text messages. Most teenagers have a cell phone and they will hide the mean messages from others. If you find anything, keep a record of them, too.

Contact the police and file a report. The police will be able to give you other resources and advise you about other actions you can take.

Go to the school superintendent’s office and don’t leave until you speak to him/her. Contact your school board representative. The school administrators and teachers have dropped the ball big time and you cannot afford to wait on them any longer.

You should also consider getting your son qualified for home school services while you work this out. Get your ex-husband involved and find the parents of these children. They have to know how mean their children are and about their behavior.

In your situation at work: It’s important for you to realize that you are empowering your son as you are empowered. He must see you emerge as a victor in your situation on your job.

It is frightening that you were attacked by another employee. You didn’t say she was arrested or fired for her actions so I assume nothing was done to her.

Again, you should file a police report against her, discuss her actions with your manager/director, and take this matter to human resources.

You cannot drop this. This is affecting you and your son in many ways (your youngest son too). It’s causing depression, ruining everyone’s self-esteem and self-worth and damaging your overall emotional well-being.

 I am deeply saddened by all of this. Please let me know how I can help you further.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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