September 03, 2009,
A.E. asks from San Antonio, TX on August 29, 2009
5 Year Old Being Bullied at School and Not Liking the Kindergarten School.
Help! My five year old daughter just started kindergarten at a public school and does not like it. She says the children are mean and have no manners. My daughter has been going to school since she was 3 at a Christian school. The children at her former school already know about caring, sharing, responsibility, helping humanity, kindness, etc. rules. She is ahead of her time in most aspects of kindergarten. She already knows her numbers, simple math, reading, writing, and manners. A class mate at her school is bulling her only 3 days into the new school year. She indicates this child put his fist in her face and also refused to move his dirty shoe off her towel at naptime. I discussed this with her teacher and she moved my daughter to another table and moved her away from this child at naptime. My daughter indicates that this unrully child continues to disrupt the class and does not follow the rules. Yesterday when I went to leave her in the morning for class she started to cry and did not want to stay. She continues to say the children are mean and have no manners. I sent an email to the teacher to see if there was a way to help my daughter transition to public school better and now she wants to have a parent teacher conference. It is very sad to say that I have noticed the older children at this school do not appear to have manners either. What is our society coming to? I was speaking to a friend of mine from work and she indicated that all public schools are like this. Why is it okay for our children to be unrully and not respect? I am having a hard time putting my arms around this. We have taught our daughter manners and respect along with the help of her former school. This should be the norm not the exception. It is strange you know I have been going to the cafeteria with my daughter for breakfast and notice school employees barking orders at the children on where to sit, where to put their things, and when to line up. Why is barking orders okay? I wonder am I the only parent that notices this? This is not how to inspire children to be better citizens? I am perplexed and wonder how we will get through the next 13+ years. When my daughter came home crying about the bully the third day into school, she said mom you can home school me and parents do it all the time! What and how do yo respond to that?
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So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your responses. My family is praying for the bully to find love in in his home and life. Please know that I did not have any preconcived notions about public school. This was the oposite for me. Public school was good for us and that is why we made the choice to intrust our child to the system. Our daugher is bright and very smart. She knows of homeschooling because some of her former class mates were going to be homeschooled and some were moving on to Christian schools. I am going to have that parent teacher confrence and yes I have spoken to other parents who's children are experiencing the same bully. By the power of GOD I will be the advocate for my child. My family will pray that all children whether homeschooled, public schooled, or priviate school have peace and the freedom to learn with peace in their class.
F.L. answers from Houston on August 31, 2009
I don't believe all public schools are like this. We are in the Tomball School District and my daughter just started first grade transitioning from a Montessori school. She has so far enjoyed her new school. My son went to the same school and while there was an occasional child that was rowdy or possibly a bully there was not a scene like you describe. The teachers were caring and worked with the children. The children did have manners and I see the same thing when I go to my daughters classroom. Perhaps you need to think about changing classrooms to a different teacher if possible. or if you don't like the school altogether perhaps move to a different one (I know that can be a little tough). But not all public schools are like that.
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S.N. answers from Houston on August 31, 2009
I would just like to say not all schools are like this. My daughter goes to a public school and being respectful and good manners is the only thing to be tolerated in the classroom. I think you need to move up the chain and have a chat with the principal. That type of classroom environment is uncalled for.
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S.T. answers from Houston on August 31, 2009
I'm sorry. My sister went through a similar situation with her daughter when she was in school last year. In the end, she DID end up having to homeschool her. I realize that might not be an option for you, but she found she was left with no other choice.
S. (homeschooling mom to 4 girls.)
L.A. answers from Austin on August 29, 2009
I would also be very upset about the bullying. Let me give you an insight to kindergartners and ANY school they attend..
My daughters kindergarten teacher said to all of us at (our very first) back to school night about the wild, horrifying and magical occurrences at school..... "Lets make a deal, you believe 50% of what you hear from your child and I will also believe 50% of what your child tells me."
This worked very well.There were lots of very "interesting" stories about what went on in class. I loved to find out what actually happened and figure out how on earth it could get so turned around.
My daughter and a classmate were being bullied in 1st grade. The child is from a very GOOD family (I am not being sarcastic). The father is a minister, the mom is very lovely and this little boy is very kind, and intelligent, but we think because he liked the girls, he would say very inappropriate things to them. Finally he was overheard (the teachers were on the look out). The way they handled this was they had a very beloved teacher that this child adored. she asked his to repeat to her what this child had said to the girls. He was very reluctant, but she finally had him speak the words. She said she just looked at him shocked, and then very hurt an sad. She told him, she was so sad, that he would speak and act like that because she knew that he was a very good boy. He was very remorseful and promised to never speak or act like that again.This young man is now in college studying to be a minister. He is so amazing.
Just because it is public school, please do not think down on these children. I have had friends who pulled their kids out of "Church Schools" for the exact reason you are stating about your child's experience. This can happen anywhere. Some parents do not teach their children proper behavior. Some do not believe THEIR children would act this way. Some children have learning differences and emotional problems and come from very difficult situations. As Christians, we must do what we believe and be a good example of tolerance, acceptance and setting a good example.
Yes you need to protect your child. You need to find out what is going on and how it is being handled, but you also need to teach your daughter that not everybody is like us. And so give her the words and tools to handle this.
"I do not like it when you say that." "Those are not nice words." "Please leave me alone." "Come with me to the teacher and tell her that." Pulling your daughter out is not helping her, it is showing that she is not able to handle this. She CAN handle this. It is only kindergarten.
As parents this is the most difficult part. Trusting our kids to handle these situations. Step back. Do NOT get emotional in fromt of your child about this.. She will feed off of that energy. Instead be concerned. Remind her that she is a good girl and should not be treated this way, so she can walk away.
I also suggest you begin inviting 1 or 2 of her classmates over to play in the afternoon after school or on the weekend. This will give her friends that will stand up for each other. Make her stronger and not leave her feeling helpless.Get to know the other parents, especially the "bullies parents". That is what I did... You are all a community, become a part of it.
On a side note to all of you moms.. I find it very interesting that none of you that responded to this mom with the "boy having melt downs in kinder" suggested that mom send her child to Christian school or to home school? Why is that? Just wondering?
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C.J. answers from Houston on August 31, 2009
You have already received a lot of good advice, and I didn't get a chance to read all of them,so excuse me if I'm repeating something. I just wanted to say that it sounds like your daughter is very mature. I'm not sure if it is a girl or a boy doing the bullying, but girls are usually more mature than boys anyway. Of course I don't agree with the bullying, but our children also have to learn how to deal with things like this because they will run into it all their lives. I don't know the answer, but be sure to equip her with the ability to handle these things on her own first, before having you step in, so that she can build her self-esteem and know that she is capable. I try to tell my grandsons that they need to set the example and when the others see their example, maybe they will follow. I know this is not easy, but then life is not going to be either. I always found that the bully's picked on the ones that didn't take up for themselves (I was one of them). And once I let them know that I was not going to put up with it or give them the attention they wanted, they stopped and actually wanted to be my friend. I know she is very young, but I think the earlier they learn how to deal with dissapointment, hurt, change, etc. the more equipped they are for the real world later. Good luck, and we will keep you in our prayers.
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A. answers from Houston on August 30, 2009
Sounds to me as if you are enabling and assisting your dt to put those words and thoughts in her head. She knows when she pulls that "the kids are mean and have no manners" string, you will react. Sure there's certainly are unruly kids in the public school systems. That's bc, the way the schools are zoned, it should encompass all demographics in the area; low, middle, and higher income wage earner. Reading your post all I got was a continued tone of "you are better than the public school system". You've somehow transfererd these impression onto your dt. Not to say that that bully isn't there, but your feelings about public school has influence your dt's own feelings about her class. She's now focused on the bully and not on the nicer kids in class. I've volunteered at both my kid's classes, and while there are unrully kids that have green goop coming out of his nose, and one that does not know how to sit down, one with profane graphics on his tshirt that we have to ask him to turn inside out, there were also the "preppy priviledge" girls that could not do a thing by herself, at every drop they were crying. If they did not get the color they wanted they would cry, if one did not win a bingo game they would cry, they would tattle so much that that would be their focus point was to find something to tattle on. If you want your dt to live a sheltered life and not have the social skills to interact with people from all walks of life, then maybe you have to find a way to get her back to that private school that you rave so much about. But you should look and analyse your own actions and words and consider the fact taht you are influencing her. She does not have the ability to interact with normal society which will be filled with people from all walks of life. Sounds like you are trying to come to grip with the fact that you can't/didn't put her in private school. I'll let you know, private schools have just as many bullys with bad manners as public. You will then deal with kids of priviledge who parents think they do no wrong. Good luck with that.
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P.S. answers from Houston on August 29, 2009
Sounds like you and your daughter are a bit sheltered. Do you really believe all the kids your daughter will encounter in her life will be as well behaved as her? Not all kids get to start off in a private Christian environment, did you know that? Do you realize there are people out there who kick puppies and beat up old ladies? I think once you learn to accept the world as it is, good and bad, then you'll be able to help your daughter accept the big bad world and be the kind of light God wants her to be.
You aren't responsible for how the bully acts, you are only responsible for how your daughter acts and her reaction to injustice in the next few years, all the while keeping her grounded in the faith and in the Word of God. No, it isn't fair that kids are bullied but its a reality which I suggest you come to grips with asap. Sure, you have to keep her safe, but you also can't stand by her side 24/7. What you teach her now about dealing with difficult people, she may be able to apply in the future when she is older when she breaks up with her boyfriend or gets in a fight with her best friend for the first time, when she loses her job or gets fired for the first time...whenever someone disappoints her.
One thing you need to know about bullies - they prey on the kids who are taught to look the other way, turn the other cheek, ignore the teasing, hold their tongues. Its the good kids they stalk and pick on b/c they know the parents of good kids will never allow them to fight them back. Your daughter can still be one of the good kids but needs to learn the ability to stand up for herself. I suggest some assertiveness training for her.
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P.L. answers from Houston on August 30, 2009
My son also just started kindergarten this past Monday, and I've noticed a lot of the same behaviors from students and staff. I had lunch with him the second day and wanted to grab him up and run away. But you have to keep in mind that the real world is not all peaches and cream. She needs to learn to deal with life and bullies and idiots and mean superiors who bark at them. Haven't you ever had a job that was much the same environment? The problem with being a parent is walking that fine line between protection and preparation. Our job as good Mommies is not to protect them from the cruel world, it's to prepare them to enter it and know how to defend themselves. She needs this experience. I tell my son that he can help those other kids learn how to be good like he is by showing them how a good boy behaves. It'll get easier with time, Mom. You both need to learn to handle this life changing experience and treat yourself for being good girls, sticking to it, and making it through.
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L.G. answers from Corpus Christi on August 30, 2009
Sounds like a prayer assignment. Prayer does change things as does walking as an example.
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T.R. answers from Houston on August 30, 2009
My children are in a public school and I have seen nothing like you talk about. They school is large 1200 K-4 and it is run very well. I dont mean to sound gruff but maybe you have preconcived notions about children in public school to begin with? I am sure they are NOT all with out manners? Not all teachers "bark" orders maybe they are just not as tender as you would like them to be.
I am a Christian mother and I also want success for my chilren at some point they need to live in the outside world. If you dont think she is ready you need to find a way for private school or homeschool. I suspect that your child may know about your preconcieved notions of public school and she is taking advantage of those feelings. You cant tell me that in one week she has not met nice children? Oh and schools take bullying VERY seriously. Go to the prinicple and get the little boy removed from the school if it continues. You might feel better. It may have just been friendly teasing...these children are just learning how to be together in a school setting.
On the other hand homeschooling is a very good option if you can't provide private school. There are alot of resources to help you.
I am not trying to be incensitive. My children are a little older and I have seen the things they have done to convince me to change my mind.
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V.B. answers from Houston on August 29, 2009
My suggestion would be to have the parent teacher conference and see what the teacher has to say about it. If you feel like your daughter is telling the absolute truth (and not embellishing, because kids this age sometimes blow things out of proportion) and the teacher is not willing to listen or come up with a plan to help, then I would go to the principal. If she is, indeed, being bullied at this young age, it could impact her impressions of school forever and that would be a shame! Work through all of the channels you have access to (teacher, principal, school counselor) and if none of those things works out, then you may have to consider moving her to a private school and/or homeschooling her.
I guess as a parent, I would just want to know EXACTLY what is happening and if my daughter was being overly dramatic (which is entirely possible with my daughter), then I would work more with her on expecatations. I agree that children in general are not taught to respect each other or adults anymore and that is a crying shame, but this is how the world is and you won't be able to shield your daughter from that forever. While it's your job to protect her from outright bullying, she will have to learn to cope with rude people and not everyone is going to be "Miss Manners" to the complete detriment of our society. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you wholeheartedly about how disrespectful kids are nowadays, but I also think that we have to be realistic in that there isn't a whole lot we can do other than prepare our kids to be the role models and not allow the "bad seeds" to take over. Teach your daughter how to do what is right and use the other kids as examples of what is not right. The bad apples are in every workplace in America, so she will eventually have to learn to deal with them. This is probably a bit young, I mean it's Kindergarten after all, but maybe you and the school counselor can help her learn to manage those confrontations or situations where kids are being rude. Coach her on what to say and who to ask for help and when. I'm so sorry that your daughter had such a rough week. It really is very sad that it has come to this, but I feel like you can work through this with the school staff. Be assertive and be willing to listen open mindedly. I hope it all works out for you!
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