I think that my daughter has learned pretty well how to deal with the comments that bullies make but she doesn't do very well with the situation where the bully snatches her personal belongings. For the most part she can learn to keep lunch money in her pocket and her hat/mits in her backpack while on the bus. The problem is at recess when a bully snatches her hat and tosses it to another bully and all the followers. I will let the school know about it but I think that K could possibly learn some tools so that she is not the one that the seek out for trouble. Should she ignore them and just continue to play without her hat as if it doesn't bother her? What do you guys think?
I can speak from experience because my school had two bullies that systematically intimidated lots of kids (myself included) when I was in the lower grades... insults, and teasing are very easy to teach poeple to deal with. You simply learn to make it no fun for them to do such things by ignoring them and or not presenting yourself as a prime target. With boys on boys its simple or at least it used to be... all it seemed to take was one show of force and the bully would think twice about going after the same kid.. my solution however, got me in a lot of trouble with the school and a red bottom from my parents when the principal called.. but between you and me.. it was well worth it in my case.
She sounds like she is doing well at keeping things from them like her mittens and lunch money but other things are easy grabs such as hats, lunch boxes, etc. I have two daughters now ages 6 and 7 and they have both reported incidents of teasing by a couple of students. What I have learned over the years of dealing with kids is that the bullies themselves sometimes (not in all cases) feel inferior, and to them to keep the attention off of their perceived shortcomings they will draw attention to someone else. These people feed off the acceptance of the audience (their cronies) to make themselves feel "in charge" or simply just "Cool". I have talked to my kids a lot about how to handle these kinds of things and I am happy that it has only been teasing and nothing physical...
In most cases that I have seen, those bullies are really just hiding behind everybody by being the one in front of everybody if you take my meaning. Really they're thinking the best defense is a strong offense...
IN your daughters case though.. can you tell me a little more about whats happening? When did it start? What usually happens when it does happen? What are the ages of the children involved? give me as much detail as you can.
Well, K is in 3rd grade and unfortunately she is very sensitive and tiny. She is pretty and smart but also a little unaware of her surroundings (spacey.) She had to deal with bully last year that said mean things and snatched her lunch money. She did quite well with ignoring and staying away from the brat. This year she has had a tough time adjusting to the structure and responsibility of 3rd grade so she has some school anxiety. I suspect that some bullies that wouldn't usually pay much attention to her have sensed a weakness. The worst is a known bully. He has an advanced ability to notice what my daughter is sensitive about (her short stature or her lack of strength in P.E) and blurts out rude remarks to the other kids about her. He also loves to grab hats. He was "raved" this month (all kids are raved) and the only thing nice they could say about him was that his behavior was "improved" over last year. The second most serious bully is a girl that finishes lunch fast and then starts taking purses, food or whatever she can get her hands on. She probably has low self-esteem because she needs extra help academically, she is a minority and apparently her parents forget to return important papers to school etc... One kid seems to just have a crush on my daughter and acts like the "ape man" 2 inches from my daughter's face or takes her "designated place" in Gym class but eventually moves along. I know what you mean about a bully being the "front man" but I think the other kids are just happy to not be the victim at the moment. I think that being a victim though does lower a child "status" with normal kids though because they are so impressionable at this age and wonder if the victim deserves the abuse.
Well here's what I do with my kids and what you can try with yours:
The dilemma is whether to get involved or not. If you do, your child isn't learning how to handle his or her own problems and is learning to depend on you. I cant tell you how important it is to try and let your child sort out the problem alone first. You can give them some advice and see what happends. You also need to let her know that you'd be scared or angry too, if someone was picking on you and that its perfectly normal to feel that way. Try to share similar incident from your childhood, talk about it and what you did to resolve it.
Make sure that you monitor the situation and by all means, STEP IN if things don't improve. Talk to the bully yourself. Be nice at first and ask for her help in watching out for your little girl. Sometimes if the bully feels that he is doing some recognizable good its motiviating for them.
If words don't work you might want to walk with your child more about it. Since I doubt there are any ways that one could avoid contact with the bully in the lunch room, or gym class... Consider entering your child in a Karate class... now dont be shocked just yet... Martial arts do wonders for helping in two very key areas that i think apply perfectly to this situation. First and foremost it build self control and self esteem through discipline, Second it builds physical fitness and as she progresses and gets better and better in gym class she will no longer be the "wimpy one" but mostly it builds the strong characther and teaches kids that they dont have to fight to prove themselves, and she will be less inclined to give in to the bully's feeble demands.
And as a last resort, you may have to talk to the bully's parents, or, if actions are occurring at school, you might also have to talk to the teacher.
This area has been receiving a lot of attention lately with schools and parents in general. Keep me posted!
Its fair to say that everyone on this board has encountered a bully when they were a kid right, its a fact of life and we all survived. At this age I don't think it is as important to interfer because it is just playground teasing now years down the road in middle school, jr high, its a different story. Its important in her social development that you let her deal with it right now. You may not be aware of this or not but the child you know may not be the child they know. Just because she is shy around you doesn't mean that is how she is in school and around her peers. Just like those bullies at school may not be like that home. At her age it is kids being kids and learn how to be around others their age group.
I do have to applaud you on actually knowing what is going on at her school. But from hearing what you said about the other children is you are reading too much into these things. As a former child, years ago, these things that you are talking about are things that happen that day and a week from now they won't even think twice about it. And as far as the low self estem, being a minority, irresponsibile parents, that is you seeing the situation from an adult point of view which they don't see it that way. I didn't see situations in elementary school that way, did you? I didn't understand why a personwas the way they were. I saw it as this person is bigger then me and I want to be accepted. But hey, that is just my thought, I could be wrong.
Last edited by Calamity04; 11-16-2004 at 10:45 PM.
Well the problem here is that it may just be playground teasing now, but if left alone, it sets a precident and the shadow of that can last for many years. Children who receive constant abuse in this manner have a tendency to crawl into their own shell and it ihibits their personal growth. And the bully learns that he or she can get away with this behavior and if left unchecked can develop into more severe behavior in jr high, and above.
I stay involved with the school at many levels. In the classrooms of both girls, and with the PTO. I frequent the classrooms for special things like reading, and talking about certain things that the teachers want to discuss.. science, nature, history of flight.. but thats not the important thing... the important thing is that I have contact with the other kids, they all know me, and respect me. If there were ever a problem I know that I can go and talk to them about it.
Stay involved and know who your kids are associating with...
Well it was a good day today. K and another girl became buddies to deal with a low-level unsophisticated bully and it worked quite well. They just kept whispering to each other what to do like "pretend you are dead or deaf". I guess they weren't responding as he expected and it probably became a little humiliating for him so he gave up.
The "Devil's spawn bully" was having too much fun pestering a child with Cerebral Palsey today to bother with K and the teacher caught him in the act possibility because we tipped her off yesterday. Can you imagine a kid teasing an academically challenged physically impaired child. Bully called him "stupid" and will be indoors for recess for 3 days straight.
K loves having her money in her pocket rather than in a purse. It's all about control I guess.
The bully success seemed to have given K a little better time with the homework today. She worked for about 2 hours with short breaks and then discovered that she did work that she didn't have to but didn't do work that she should have. She got a little frustrated but didn't cry. Bedtime was not perfect because she was "agitated" I think from the strange emotions of the day. I think she feel asleep only about an hour later than what she needs.
I think that this is going to be a roller coaster ride for a while. K does want to be successful with these bullies and she has read up on it online on Kid web sites. She's not giving up and getting "support" from testimonials of kids online. She considers it a normal part of growing up and she knows that most bullies are losers in life. If she's not physically assaulted she may be OK... at least that is how it seems today.
I do read into the bully situation as much as I can because often the bully is a victim also and sometimes you need to get help for that child. Sometimes "tattling" is a good thing for the bully. For example, last year my daughter reported that a 5th grader was kissing 1st grade girls. I read into this as rather peculiar behavior and decided to report it even though my daughter wasn't one of the girls being pinned down and kissed. It turns out that the bully and his brother were being sexually abused by their very own full-custody father.
Stuff like this gets me so irratated. I have been on all sides of this fence. I was picked on from Kindergarten to eigth grade. Then in high school I had bully's as friends and seen what they did and now as an adult I am the bully. No one stepped in when I was little and I despretly wanted it, I was too little to know how I was supposed to "handle" those situations and suffered the torment for years. Then in high school every body went their own ways and being tall and thin and pretty I made friends that accepted me for that and they were bully's so I stuck with them because I felt safe. I was there when they went to parks to beat up the innocent girl and stood there and watched this poor girl bleeding and taking this abuse and I did nothing because I feared they would turn on me. Now mind you this is all normal school kids no gangs or poverty kids. I was sickend by what I say but I still didn't understand what I was in I just went where I was the safest. After school into college and now as an adult I got on the other side of the fence and became the hard one so no one could harm me. I learned how to fight. I never just hit someone in random. I only hit someone if they called me names or thought they could get by with pulling one over on me. I was retaliating from years and years of being bullied. I have been abusive to my husband if I feel cornered and I have had to try and control being angry.
So my point to you is....help your daughter no matter what. I don't care if you have to confront the other childs parents. Don't let her feel alone, she's going to fake being strong for you. I'm glad she made a friend to stay by and to make her feel safe. I just hope she doesn't go through my steps. I am 33 years old and I can remember a ton of days in elementary school but they are all bad memories because they were all wrapped up in being bullied. I missed out on a possible great childhood if only someone would have stepped in and protected me. So now I bring the anger into my adulthood. Just do something. I was quite, thin and innocent (flighty). Put her in karate or teach her how to defend herself if she has too, at least she will have that if your not around. Hitting isn't the answer but knowing you can protect yourself may give her confidence enough to stand up to them without being scared. Sorry this rambled on. I just hate to hear about children going through this because it stays with them for their whole lives. Good luck.
I am so glad that you wrote in. You really know what is going on. I think that there is a big difference between chronic bullying and the occassional inconvenience of repelling minor bullying attempts. A little bit of a challenge that results in success is fine and possibly healthy. The kind of stuff that you are talking about can not be tolerated even if it didn't get physical. I will help my daughter in varying degrees depending on the circumstances. If an 8 year old child can't sleep at night than there is a problem. If a child's basic personality is changing then there is a problem. If this becomes physical on school groundsthen she will be put into private school. I don't see that as happening because the school does not tolerate that sort of thing at least at this age.
I went to a school that allowed things to happen as you describe. I witnessed inocent girls getting put into the hospital and there only fault was to be different such as having a low IQ or being too pretty or wearing the wrong cloths or having depression or coming from a wealthy family... whatever excuse seemed to justify it too the bully. There is a reason why bullying is gaing so much national attention right now. IT IS A PROBLEM.
I hope that you can give yourself a break for the part that you may have taken in your past to contribute to the bullying of other kids. You were without support and managed as best that you could in the game of survival of the fittest. Just get treatment and try to break the cycle. Adults probably didn't understand the issues like they can today if they do a little research. It was always assumed that if you keep throwing the kid back into the bullying situation then they'd learn to deal with it somehow. That's not how it works for all children. They need adult guidance.