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Middle School Boys?


Carolinagirl1
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In the past 2 months my 12 year old daughter has had 2 occurrences with boys her age being aggressive and mean to her. This is two separate events with completely separate groups. I mean like trying to hurt her. The first incident, the boy was throwing things at her face and during the second, a boy was shining a bright flashlight in her eyes while his friend restrained her during a game of capture the flag. The first time it happened, I told her not to worry, he was just playing like middle school boys do, but parents and kids who saw said he was being mean and seemed to be targeting her. The second time, I was not there, but I took it seriously and reported to the adult in charge. My daughter has always been nice to everyone and has never had trouble making friends. She asked me tonight, "What is wrong with middle school boys? Why are they so mean?". I don't have boys, so I can't answer that question. If it were up to me, I would just keep her away from social situations with boys until later in high school, but that would deprive her of lots of fun. Is this just normal middle school boy behavior? What should I do? I don't want her to end up really hurt. 

 

ETA: I probably shouldn't say Middle "School", but I mean the same age group

Edited by Carolinagirl1
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I have not run into this with our group. I supervise a lot of our teen activities and all the kids get along pretty well. Sounds like this group of kids needs a lot more parent supervision. If my daughter was a target I would either find another group or be the one doing the supervising. The flashlight thing and being restrained is completely unacceptable to me.

Edited by CaliforniaDreaming
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:grouphug:   I realize this can be scary and you are worrying about the safety of your child.  It sounds like you have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.  Actually both incidents sound VERY concerning.  However, I would not automatically write off an entire gender/age group over these two incidents.  

 

Based on my own experience, that is not automatically the normal behavior of all middle school boys at all.  What happened was wrong but I would tie it to specific people, not a gender/age group.  Sometimes boys will act a bit more aggressively because they are attracted to someone and do not yet have the skills to convey that message or are too embarrassed to try so they react in a somewhat "aggressive" manner instead, frequently without intending harm.  And sometimes due to hormone fluctuations some middle schoolers (girls, too) can behave more aggressively than they normally would.  But no, this is not an across the board reaction by all middle school boys and no, aggressive behavior in general is not automatically going to happen with this age/sex. 

 

In this case it seems that there may be two boys in particular who are being overly aggressive and I would definitely keep an eye on the situation.  What they did was absolutely wrong.  It would depend on the context as to how serious I would take it, though.  Sometimes actions can be misinterpreted.  For instance, was the boy that was throwing things throwing pillows/stuffed animals or something else along those lines, perhaps trying to be flirty and joking (but executing such in a poor way) or was he throwing hard objects in a deliberate attempt to cause injury?  With the latter, I would be contacting the parents and expressing serious concern.   That type of reaction is dangerous and should be addressed.  I would also try to make sure that my child had more direct parental supervision while around this boy to make sure future incidents did not have a chance to develop.  Same with the second incident.  Depending on context that could absolutely be a dangerous situation.

 

As for what to do, yes, report behavior if she feels she is in danger and work with her on strategies for how to get out of situations of bullying.  This can happen with girl bullies, too, not just boys.  She needs strategies in place to try and get command of the situation and/or get to safety and/or get help.  And any supervisors need to be watching closely for further aggressive behavior.

 

:grouphug:

 

 

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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I would not call that behavior normal.

 

I hate to say not all boys... but my middle school boys and their male friends would never in a million years have acted like that. None of the middle school boys I know now would. The majority of the middle school boys I've taught - and I used to be a middle school teacher - would not have acted like that.

 

I would actually term the second incident where she was physically restrained an assault. I would not normalize these events to her at all. This is not boys will be boys. That's not even a thing. No one should physically restrain someone to aid in trying to hurt them. My kids play capture the flag with their friends - mixed gender groups sometimes - and it does not ever get like that. She needs to know that she doesn't deserve to be treated that way and that no one should lay hands on her like that.

 

I don't know what the group is - a co-op? something else? - but it sounds like a group with some toxic behavior patterns going on.

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I would not call that behavior normal.

 

I hate to say not all boys... but my middle school boys and their male friends would never in a million years have acted like that. None of the middle school boys I know now would. The majority of the middle school boys I've taught - and I used to be a middle school teacher - would not have acted like that.

 

I would actually term the second incident where she was physically restrained an assault. I would not normalize these events to her at all. This is not boys will be boys. That's not even a thing. No one should physically restrain someone to aid in trying to hurt them. My kids play capture the flag with their friends - mixed gender groups sometimes - and it does not ever get like that. She needs to know that she doesn't deserve to be treated that way and that no one should lay hands on her like that.

 

I don't know what the group is - a co-op? something else? - but it sounds like a group with some toxic behavior patterns going on.

Same and I agree.

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Whether or not this is normal, it's not acceptable. If these boys don't shape up, they're on a fast track to a criminal record.

 

With that said, this age group is tough, and in my experience both as a child and an adult there is a LOT of potential for bullying behavior when you have more than a few kids in a group. I'm concerned that in both incidents she was in an organized group with adults, but... where were they? Adults who saw the first boy throwing things at your child's face told you that he was targeting her - but why didn't they stop him? The second time, you reported it to the adult in charge - did nobody else see what was going on when your daughter was being restrained?

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I have/had middle school age boys.  this isn't "normal" - and it isn't "tolerable" obnoxious behavior. (I'd say the same if it were girls, - and girls DO do that sort of thing too.)

 

what to do depends upon who, where, when - what the groups is, ,etc.

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Yeah, I don't know that I've really seen that.

 

I will however say that boys that age are in the middle of the hormone rush that girls get a few years earlier.  So they aren't always the most organized, mentally speaking.  

 

I think one or two kids who are just more aggressive or less good at thinking things through can set the tone for a whole group of kids, depending on the personality mix.  Sometimes a kid like that just needs someone - and I think a man is preferable in general for boys - to pull them aside and make it explicit what is and is not appropriate, and why.

Edited by Bluegoat
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It is not terribly unusual, but it's not OK either.  Those boys need to be corrected and learn better ways of conducting themselves.

 

My 11yo has had a few incidents with boys who want to prove they are the baddest strongest fastest.  My kid is a petite girl who runs faster than most of the boys and can beat all of them at arm wrestling.  A couple boys are uncomfortable with this.  My daughter has permission to retaliate if anyone gets physical with her.  So far there haven't been any incidents I've needed to report, but the teachers did report one incident to me.

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I've seen similar intentional behavior from boys that age, but the boys were already known to have problems with judgment, self-control, anger management, etc. Most middle school boys I've known have been decent people.

 

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk

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I'm pleasantly surprised how many people say this isn't normal in their circles. It was completely normal when I was in middle school, and based on what I've run into with 11-13yo boys in my neighborhood, probably still normal.

 

In middle school I had gum squished into my hair, things thrown at me. I was sexually assaulted in my own backyard by a neighbor kid, boys rode by on bikes and yelled obscene things at me (especially if my mom was nearby). I was bullied and teased and ostracized.

 

In my neighborhood now, I've seen a group of three boys surround and move in on my 9yo, trying to get him to fight, when he was walking *with* DH and me. They've yelled gross things at us, the adults who they don't even know. Maybe I just need to quit living in lower middle class suburban subdivisions full of latchkey kids, I don't know.

 

I still get a near-panic attack when I walk past a 12yo boy that I don't know.

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Put it this way.  My 12 year old once was touching a girl's hair in his drama class.  He just thought she had amazingly pretty hair and it was nothing more.  I told him he should absolutely not do that.  He cried when I told him that.  Ok...so boys this age aren't in general monsters who want to hurt girls.  I have no doubt he'll never do that again.  He really didn't realize it might be upsetting to her. 

 

 

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Put it this way. My 12 year old once was touching a girl's hair in his drama class. He just thought she had amazingly pretty hair and it was nothing more. I told him he should absolutely not do that. He cried when I told him that. Ok...so boys this age aren't in general monsters who want to hurt girls. I have no doubt he'll never do that again. He really didn't realize it might be upsetting to her.

Aw, this makes me sad. I wish these boys were that sweet.

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I see middle school to young high school boys out and about -- and, yeah, I totally hear where you're coming from.

 

That said, my two boys are majorly concerned about everyone's feelings, the indoor cat that just ran outside, the baby walking down a store aisle that nobody's watching etc. etc.

 

A speech teacher was -- in my son's opinion -- treating a student badly consistently and he started being passive-aggressive to the teacher. It took some digging to figure out what was happening, but the teacher really was being very hard on one kid.

 

My point is that mean/difficult kids need to be reigned in. If the parents aren't going to do it -- you'll need to do it for your daughter's sake. There is no way my boys would see someone throwing stuff at another kid and not intervene. Not a chance.

 

Please let your daughter know that good, sensitive, caring boys are out here.

 

Also, really consider getting your girl into some kind of self defense class. She'll carry herself differently. You'll never regret it.

 

Alley

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That is not acceptable behavior from those boys! They absolutely should be reprimanded and be required to take

lessons on being gentlemen, not brutes. I don't remember ever having that problem with boys at that age. I'm sorry it's been happening to your dd. Those boys were far more aggressive than they should have been. My 13yo ds is not like that.

May those boys come apologize to your daughter and be humble and truly sorry, too!

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I see middle school to young high school boys out and about -- and, yeah, I totally hear where you're coming from.

 

That said, my two boys are majorly concerned about everyone's feelings, the indoor cat that just ran outside, the baby walking down a store aisle that nobody's watching etc. etc.

 

A speech teacher was -- in my son's opinion -- treating a student badly consistently and he started being passive-aggressive to the teacher. It took some digging to figure out what was happening, but the teacher really was being very hard on one kid.

 

My point is that mean/difficult kids need to be reigned in. If the parents aren't going to do it -- you'll need to do it for your daughter's sake. There is no way my boys would see someone throwing stuff at another kid and not intervene. Not a chance.

 

Please let your daughter know that good, sensitive, caring boys are out here.

 

Also, really consider getting your girl into some kind of self defense class. She'll carry herself differently. You'll never regret it.

 

Alley

 

:iagree:   Yes, many middle school-aged boys are very caring and sensitive. During a large area, physically active game some boys (and girls) can get competitive and carried away. Supervision is definitely required. 

 

I'd also completely support the suggestion of getting both your daughters into self-defense, and even yourself if you've never done it. It is amazing for self-confidence, avoiding potentially dangerous situations, and responding to a variety of situations. 

Edited by wintermom
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Where is she coming across these boys? School? Homeschool group? Church or other religious youth group program?

 

It sounds like there’s a supervision issue. This is not ok or expected behavior from middle school boys. The boys need to be precluded from these games if they can’t play fairly.

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My son is in 8th grade. He can be thoughtless, immature, and downright clueless. However, I can’t ever imagine him treating a girl as you described. He would probably be quite upset and come to her help if he encountered such behavior. I don’t believe those actions are normal at all.

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I would not call that behavior normal.

 

I hate to say not all boys... but my middle school boys and their male friends would never in a million years have acted like that. None of the middle school boys I know now would. The majority of the middle school boys I've taught - and I used to be a middle school teacher - would not have acted like that.

 

I would actually term the second incident where she was physically restrained an assault. I would not normalize these events to her at all. This is not boys will be boys. That's not even a thing. No one should physically restrain someone to aid in trying to hurt them. My kids play capture the flag with their friends - mixed gender groups sometimes - and it does not ever get like that. She needs to know that she doesn't deserve to be treated that way and that no one should lay hands on her like that.

 

I don't know what the group is - a co-op? something else? - but it sounds like a group with some toxic behavior patterns going on.

 

 

 

Where is she coming across these boys? School? Homeschool group? Church or other religious youth group program?

It sounds like there’s a supervision issue. This is not ok or expected behavior from middle school boys. The boys need to be precluded from these games if they can’t play fairly.

 

Agreeing with these posts. A. This is not normal, and B. Get her out of there. :(

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Throwing stuff at people without aiming at hitting the face, quite common amongst kids that age regardless of gender. Adults would reprimand if they see. We see that happening at libraries’ courtyard. Some is anger management issues, some is jesting and the item thrown is usually something small like an eraser.

 

Pinning someone or shining a flashlight/torchlight, that is unusual and I would be wondering about supervision if it happens during an activity my kids participated in. My friend’s daughter was bullied by girls in public school and the district didn’t do much. It’s not so much a gender issue as it is a supervision and bullying issue.

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