I was told many little boys get picked on by older children and this is a common experience for children taking the school buses.
It was tempting to walk him to school instead to avoid these potential nasties. But after some thoughts, we decided we really don't want to bubble-wrap him.
If there are bullies or nasty situations, we shall teach him to handle them. After all, we want the kids to know how to handle unpleasant people and situations. The sooner one is exposed to them, the earlier one can learn to cope.
Chances are, at this age, the unpleasantness will still be manageable and having teachable moments and hence, opportunities to learn through experience is essential.
To begin with, we as parents have to agree on the acceptable behaviour and responses that we are expecting from our son in bullying situations.
Let's just say mums and dads have very different views with regards to bullying situations. As a result, the expected responses can also be poles apart.
My view (also shared by both grandmas):
Unless one is in grave situation, I discourage the kids to hit back no matter what. Use words, not fists. Report the matter, tell an adult and avoid the bully. And ALWAYS inform the mum when he gets home.
The fathers' views:
At first, both E and his dad disagreed with my view, which they think would be perceived as a sign of weakness and fuel further bullying. The boys should fight back, hit back, push back and shout back etc etc.... Basically, they think the right reaction should be - 'an eye for an eye' and nothing less.
Needless to say, there were a lot of discussions between us so we don't end up confusing the boy instead.
In the last few months, there were also quite a few teachable moments. Though they were all small incidents, especially on hindsight, there were plenty of lessons to be learnt.
For the boy and us.