22 answers

Bullying and Teasing at School

My six-year old has been having some social issues at school, being excluded from a group of girls who seem to be teasing her, but who she desperately wants to be friends with. I've also been hearing from other parents that their kids (boys and girls) have been the victims of teasing and bullying in the classroom. I'm looking for advice regarding helping my child deal with this, but also suggestions about how to help her class as a whole. I'm thinking that if we work on building more of sense of community in her class, it may decrease some of this behavior. Any ideas?

3 moms found this helpful

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Have you tried talking to the teacher? Maybe she can do a role playing exercise with the kids to let the bullies know how it feels to be bullied! Also, maybe the teacher can speak to these girls' parents so they are aware of their children's behavior. Good luck!

Help her confront them via the Teacher & Principle. If that gets you nowhere, then you might want to consider changing classrooms, or schools. My son was bullied for over 4 years, at different schools, and no on did anything about it. Feel out the teacher and principle. You can tell if they are dealing with it or are effective at dealing with it. If not don't be afraid to move her. I considered many charter schools but ended up homeschooling. There was just too much of an emotional toll on my son. Good luck!

T.
Founder
www.theparentpack.org

More Answers

Hi S.,
Helen Keller said "When one door closes, another door opens. But often we stare so longingly, so regretfully, upon the closed door, that we fail to see the open door in front of us." If those girls tease and exclude, then they are not the quality of person one should hope to be friends with. One of life's best lessons is to turn from inward to outward. Ask your daughter, "You've felt how horrible it is to have someone be mean to you, what can you do to make someone's life better? Whose friend can you be today?" Tell her that someone at school has been wishing for a friend and it is up to her to go find that person.
N., 39 mom of 2 boys, 9yrs and 4 yrs.

2 moms found this helpful

I would definitely take it up with the teacher and if there are multiple students having similar experiences, get together with their parents as well.

Last year in my younger daughter's class, there was some bullying going on with a new boy who was different. Her teacher used a book to help teach the class about bullying as well as talked the the class as a whole about the issue. The book was called, "The Hundred Dresses," by Eleanor Estes. Ultimately, the bullies need to understand the impact they are having and the victims need to learn ways to defend and / or shapeshift when issues arise.

My eldest daughter had the same problem of trying to make friends with girls who didn't want to be her friends and would treat her badly. I finally convinced her to try spending time with other girls who liked her and wanted to play with her rather than trying to "fit in" where she wasn't wanted. Over time, the girls who were mean to her saw her in a different light because she wasn't trying to fit in anymore, she was finding a way to be herself. A lot of it had to do with building up her self-esteem and self-confidence so that she attracted friends naturally rather than pushing them away by trying too hard and giving away her power.

If this continues to be a problem, I would see about some counseling for your sweet girl. My eldest benefitted tremendously by having someone to talk to that could guide her socially and help her build internal strength so she felt good about herself no matter what happened. She still had her challenges, but she is nowhere close to where she was 3 years ago.

My heart goes out to your daughter...

1 mom found this helpful

i had trouble with this also, my daughter is now 8. this may not work in a bigger school, but what the parents did at our school is set up a monthly parent/child meeting. we have only done it a few times now, but the idea is we all get together at a home or at the park, and discuss social issues.

a parent group is what we turned to, because this type of teasing can be almost invisible to teachers, who have so much else to take care of anyway.

our first visit began with the parents talking about their school experiences..good and bad, and what we wanted for our kids.

we had the kids sit with us and talked about what friendship meant...this was an excellent time to see which kids felt they had strong friendships and which didn't based on answers. we let the kids speak through their parents if they were uncomfortable, and have even considered writing items and putting them in a box to be pulled out and read anonomysly.

i thik that if there is significat parent concern, you can invite the class parents to a meeting and talk about it. being open honsest and gentle will set a good example for the kids.

often, the parent of the bully doesn't know their kid is hurting others' feelings, and would like to know, but this is the time to be very diplomatic, perhaps have the concepts of non violent communication on hand...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.!

This is so sad, but a very real and everyday occurance. Almost all of our children will be bullied at one time or another.

This year, my 1st grade boy was being physically pushed around by another student. I went straight to the teacher the next morning when I dropped off my son. By the end of the day, she had a chance to talk with the other teachers and yard duty, and discovered that there WAS, in fact, a bully on the playground. Since they were then aware of the problem, they keeping watching this bullying boy who is now straightening up and learning not to bully.

The teacher is the place to start. The Principal should be notified if the Teacher is unable to "fix" the problem. Most teachers are not aware what goes on during recess unless the kids "tattle" or whatever.

If it's really bad, I would strap on your infant, and make a serious effort to be "helpful" on the playground during your child's recess. But that's just me :o)

Good luck! I hope things get better soon.

:o) N.

Help her confront them via the Teacher & Principle. If that gets you nowhere, then you might want to consider changing classrooms, or schools. My son was bullied for over 4 years, at different schools, and no on did anything about it. Feel out the teacher and principle. You can tell if they are dealing with it or are effective at dealing with it. If not don't be afraid to move her. I considered many charter schools but ended up homeschooling. There was just too much of an emotional toll on my son. Good luck!

T.
Founder
www.theparentpack.org

Hi S.,
I work with children in schools and provide a presentation that deals with learning about how all children are similar in many ways and different in wonderful ways to make us all unique. The children learn about acceptance, skills to socialize, and skills to prevent teasing and bullying. There all also hand-on learning stations the children rotate through in small groups to appreciate some the challenges that some children face so the kids will have a greater appreciation of children of varying abilities. I am a pediatric physical therapist and have giving these presentations for nine years at many schools in the San Jose area. If you think this may help your child's class and want more information, you can call me on my cell ###-###-#### for more information.

Good luck, no child should have to deal with!

K. N

Many schools now have programs to help with this type of problem. I would encourage you to speak to your child's teacher and or school counselor about her situation. Schools are more pro-active today than in the past. You have an excellent idea about educating the classroom to build a sense of community spirit. This could be a powerful intervention especially since the age group involved is so young, impressionable and open to learning.

You could have a party where the whole class gets together at a park to play games and make up a no bullying contract that they can sign as a class. Just make it a fun day and you can talk to the parents while the kids are playing. First and foremost let your daughter that friends dont treat friends like that and only true friends matter.

Check with your child's teacher and get their opinion.

Also, see if your school would be open to having a police officer come out and talk to the kids at an assembly.

Bullying is a no-go zone,and you are at the wrong school if the teacher hasn't already jumped on it.

The teacher needs to know ASAP, and you need to ask the Principal what policy and procedures the school has to address bullying.

In kindergarten, socialization IS the ONLY thing. If the school is not focused on this, then the kids are being ignored at the expense of academics.

Yes, parents can help their kids at home, but its just talk if its not enacted by every kid sat school every day for for the whole day. Its not up to parents, its up to the teachers, its their classrooms they run, parents don't have so much control that they can address this issue on their own. school.

The teachers need to be EVERY single case of bullying, talk it out in class, on the playground.If it doesn't happen all the time, then your kids could have a sad time at school unnecesssarily. I guess that's why I love my kids' school.

Regards
P.

I think the teacher should be made aware. There are ways they can help in the classroom and if there is another parent of a child in the same class ask them to speak up too. If the teacher is not willing to address the issue, or doesn't seem to have a plan, definitely go to the priincipal. I'm a Brownie Scout Leader and we have moved some of the Try Its(activities) that focus on caring, sharing, respect and friendship to the front burner because of the same issues. We are going to go over them ad naseum until the girls get it. We've also asked and received advice from numerous sources (Teachers, other scout leaders, etc....) One very discouraging thing we have found was one of the girls who is being excluded is a girl some of the other parents didn't want in the troop. Just adding this as sometimes the parents aren't helpful in this situation so that is why someone in authority like the teacher or principal needs to lead these efforst. For our situation the parents are now on board or atleast silent because we've told them over and over again Girls Scouts can not exclude anyone and is not a Sorority (OH man! I was all ready to Haze THE PARENTS at the low point :-)

Have you tried talking to the teacher? Maybe she can do a role playing exercise with the kids to let the bullies know how it feels to be bullied! Also, maybe the teacher can speak to these girls' parents so they are aware of their children's behavior. Good luck!

My DD's school has zero tolerance for bullying. Talk to the teacher, if nothing happens then go to the principal. At our school we are very lucky with the teachers, staff and principal that we have. Things get done!

The Santa Clara County Library has a bibliography on bullies and bullying. Go to their website (santaclaracountylib.org, click on "Kids", and click on "Booklists" under "What to Read". Scroll down--it's about half-way down. It has some suggestions of books to read to her to help her understand, as well as some suggestions of books for parents.
And, yes, the school can (and should, in my opinion) be working to create a sense of community where bullying and taunting is not allowed. Get together with the other parents whose children have been bullied, brainstorm what can be down, and how to present it to the school. There are programs that can be used, but it needs to be part of the school culture, so the principal, teachers, and staff all need to buy in to it. The books on the list may have some possible programs.
Good luck.

Would it be possible for you to volunteer a little time in your daughter's classroom? That is a good way to get a handle on all aspects of the problem; teachers awareness and interaction, the kids involved and the dynamic between your daughter and them. Also, at 6, it can give her a sense of security knowing that you are in her corner and demonstrates that to the other kids as well. You may already volunteer and it sounds like you are communicating with other parents which is very important so good luck!

First and foremost remind your daughter that friends don't make you feel "icky". It may not mean much to her now but keep reminding her that it is them who are losing out in all the fun and cultivate new relationships with playdates afterschool and on weekends with other kids who are similar to her.
Talk to her teacher and administrator...this needs to be dealt with ASAP..there should be a no tolerance of bullying at every and any school. Start dialoguing with other moms...they feel your pain and may be feeling insecure about this and other parenting problems too.
We know that children will model their mom's behavior too and that bullying is about power and trying to feel better about themselves where something is lacking...hence don't gossip or be that power seeker yourself...aviod the mom "pick-up" chatter at school that is ugly.
Your duaghter's safety mental and physical is your highest priority. Stop their power over her..ask the teacher to allow her to go to he library during breaks or to help the teacher if needed or the administrator. Also if you can go to school as a volunteer during recess and lunchtime, being there and watching and more importantly engaging your child with other children in PRODUCTIVE play will help.
no tolerance..demand it at the school site. You have great potential and a powerful opportunity to help you daughter and make a change if you speak up....model it momma! GOOD LUCK..

You need to go to the Principle. This happened to my daughter who is 10 and in the fifth grade. It got to the point where the girl who was bullying her was starting to push and physically hurting her for no apparent reason. I went to the teacher who then went to the principle. I know it sounds mean but you want to stop this now. Their should be no excuse on why kids are acting this way. Good luck.

Mother of 4 (15,10,2,1)

Hi S.,
bullying can be very challenging, I have 3 children 12 years, 8years old and 7 months. I had a problem with my daughter when she was younger, the thing that helped us was talking to her teacher. If the teacher is receptive she will address the class speaking about friendliness and then take it up with the individual kids who are doing the teasing. as for your child wanting to be friends with them it's only natural to want to be accepted. I realize how heart breaking it is as her mother but in my experience it doesn't get easier as they get older.
good luck
S.

I am a teacher and this seems to be a common problem all over. Go to the principal and see if something can be done in the school to address bullying. If its happening in your daughters classroom its probably happening in another. Maybe the school could come up with a book a month that each teacher reads and discusses with his/her class surrounding bullying.

Both of my daughter are in Brownies. I have a 3rd grader and a 1st grader and I co-lead my 1st graders Brownie Troop. You may want to check in with the school and see if they have Brownies there. First off, it will help her to be surrounded by friends, then the mean ones won't bother her as much. Second, as a co-leader I take it as my job to teach the girls how we treat each other. On a side note, we have a couple of stinkers in our group, lol, and I am always telling them to be nice to each other, to be respectful etc. If I can help them grow up to be a more respectful person that would be great. Plus when I see them at school they know I am watching them making sure they are nice there as well. Not to say you shouldn't deal with the bullying at school, you should, talk to the principal, but if you put her in something like Brownies she will learn to have the self-esteem to not let the bully's bother her one bit. If you can, join the troop and help out as well as in class, like one of the other moms said. A mom that is around the other kids helps and they know I won't hesitate to speak to them about their actions.

Good Luck!!!

Dear S.,

Make an appointment asap with the teacher first and ask what his/her plan is to talk to the class about bullying and teasing. There should be an open discussion with the kids on these subjects.

Questions to ask the children:

Are you a bully?
Why do you behave like a bully, how does this make you feel?
Do you understand the consequences of hurting others physically or verbally?
Have you been bullied?
How does it make you feel?
Do you leave others out?
Have you been left out?
How does this make you feel?

If the teacher doesn’t want to do this, THEN go to the principal.

Blessings……

Here are a couple of books that have been recommended. Girl "bullying" is often harder for the teacher to detect and act upon, because it's a bullying of exclusion, sometimes very subtle. Unlike physical bullying, but equally if not more devastating to the child.

http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Bees-Wannabes-Boyfriends-Adol...
http://www.amazon.com/Odd-Girl-Out-Culture-Aggression/dp/...

I also really like the advice of asking her to seek out someone else who needs a friend. And volunteering in the classroom, even just a couple of hours a month.

Good luck, this is such a hard topic for parents to deal with.

L.

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