My Five Year Old Was Called "Madi Fatty"... It Broke My Heart!

Updated on January 28, 2013
A.N. asks from Carrollton, TX
23 answers

I dropped my five year old at school today and some of the boys were rough housing in the common area. Madison looked at me and said "mommy, they called me "Madi Fatty". I didn't actually hear it, but it broke my heart!

She is not fat! She is taller and curvier than most of the kids, but not fat. It just breaks my heart how cruel kids are even at this age!!!

How should I handle?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

Regardless of any weight issues she may or may not have - it's bullying.
Talk to the teacher about it.
She needs to be made aware.
If she sees or hears anything going on, she should be able to nip it in the bud.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I say don't make a big deal out of it...the more attention you give it the more power and relevance you are giving it.

Tell her it's not true and that sometimes (OK a LOT of times) boys can be dumb!

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from St. Louis on

Ya know, your daughter isn't fat, she just happens to have a name that rhymes with fatty. She really should feel sorry for those boys, probably their whole life that is about as clever as they will get!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Tell her that some kids are jerks, and that it's probably because they get insulted at home, and have learned to cut people down. Encourage her to pity them.

If it is an isolated incident, let it go, but if it continues, do talk to the teacher, and try to figure out who is the 'ringleader' of this behavior.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My daughter is older (5th grade), but a few weeks ago, some dumb boy in her class made fun of her for being stupid in math (she's not, by the way). Even though she knew the insults were not true, it still upset her. We brainstormed, and decided that really the only way to handle mean kids is to be even meaner back to them. She had tried rising above it (by ignoring him) however that hadn't been working. So the next day at lunch when this kid started in on her, she turned to him and said, "I can get better at math, but you'll always be LITTLE." (He's short, like tiny Chihuahua boy short, and she felt he might be sensitive about it - and she was right.) That shut him up, and he hasn't said a word to her since. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. We train little girls to go along and get along and never upset anybody, but really, boys aren't taught that way. Nothing wrong with girls getting down and dirty and fighting mean if they have to. ;)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I wouldn't do anything unless this is an ongoing issue. Kids say mean things. It will happen to her many times in school, I'm afraid. The best thing we can do for our kids, in my opinion, is to teach them how to handle assholes with grace. Honestly, if every parent marched up to the school with every incident, when would our teachers and administrators be expected to actually teach? All they would be doing is handling parent complaints.

I am NOT downplaying what happened to your Madi. Words can be so hurtful. My five-year-old got called fat at school once as well. Her reaction was "He must need his eyes checked, because I'm not fat." She wasn't concerned, so I wasn't concerned.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Kids are cruel.

Two things are important here: The self-image your child develops, and the accepted environment of bullying she has to deal with.

For the first: Continue to reinforce that Madi is a lovely, kind, healthy, hard-working, funny girl. Please don't talk about how "pretty" or "smart" she is. Pretty and smart are NOT things we have any control over. Those things are genetic. And as long as she's already eating healthily, her shape is not something she has much control over either, at that age. So don't dwell on it or cause her to stress over it. If she could be eating more healthily, and her pediatrician has concerns, then change her meals. But don't focus on it. Just make it happen.

Secondly, at school bullying exists when the school community accepts it and does not stop it. This isn't just about one or two don't feel the need to go to the teacher or their parents to address them directly. If you want to deal with the problem of cruel behavior at the school, consider looking at it as a systemetic problem. Something the WHOLE school has to address together.

If the school community comes together and says collectively "WE don't bully, and we don't allow bullying to happen here," you're more likely to see a change. So talk to the principal about how they can institute a NO BULLYING policy and campaign within the school. Lots of schools out there have already done so. While what happened to Madi now might not seem like bullying, she still has several years at this now is the time to nip it in the bud and help ALL of the kids.

Best of luck!

C. Lee

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

One thing you can do to take the sting out is to validate her feelings. Just acknowledging how bad it feels to be made fun of lets her know she's not alone, you understand and are there to support her no matter what. You can say something like, "I hate it when people call me names", "It feels bad to be teased", "Wow, that's really rude". She needs to know it's normal to feel hurt when people are mean to us. And to see the other kids' behavior as wrong, not herself.

You can also brainstorm together and come up with a good response if she hears this taunt again. Like, "Nope, I'm Madi Rad-y". You can think of something more clever, but you get the idea.

Nicknames tend to get repeated and stick. So keep listening to your daughter and if the name calling continues, talk to the teacher or a school administrator.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

don't you wish you could trip a bratty kid every once in a while? =)

i would mention it to the teacher but in a very light way, as in, I;'m not sure if this even happened but Maddi said it did so I J. wanted to make you aware.
I tell Emmy that everyone makes bad choices some times and I remond even she does, and that if this is a one time occurance she can be the bigger person and forgive them and play with them in the future but if its their personality then she should choose better friends. I also let her know some kids have bad home lives and sometimes thats why they arent so nice, but either way she shouldnt subject herself to it and she should tell an adult if it continues.

She tends to friend the kids that get picked on. 2 weeks ago she came home and said I made a new friend the girl was sitting by herslef so I figured she needed a friend, she also has made friends with disabled kids and the kids people laugh at (from her stoires and from school visits I gather this) so I am proud of who she the kind of person she chooses to be =).

I think this occurance is a great learning tool for future times you see that she isnt so nice to someone or lets someone get picked on by her friend "remember when that boy wasnt so nice to you and how it made you feel?" I've used these moments that way for Emmy

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Teach her to answer flipply
"At least I'm not bratty and calling people names"

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Aww Mama, it is so hard to see our kiddos hurt :( I would try and find out your daughter's take on it. If she expresses a sense of deep hurt I would hug the stuffing out of her and reassure her how beautiful she is. Also, I would talk about how to best respond to mean comments and role-play some options with her. With my 6 yr. old I encourage her to use her "superhero" stance (standing boldly with hands on hip) and look people in the eye and tell them to knock it off. I am not sure if you guys pray, but when my daughter hurts, she and I pray together that she find peace in her heart.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Kids are cruel. At this age they have very little in the way of social skills. It will get better for a while - in grade school teachers keep a close eye on kids, etc. But when they get to middle school or high school (depending on the kids, the school, etc. it starts up again in more devious ways that the teachers & adminsitrators don't see.

While the kids are cruel, you have to help your child be able to deal with the teasing and taunts and also help her develope helath ahbits so even if she is a little curvy, she knows she's healthy. Kids who are skinny at age 5 often end up overweight these days - so if she's a little curvy at age 5 she will have a greater chance of being overweight as a teen. Encourage physical activity, dance, gymanstics, soccer, martial arts, etc. So even if her body type will lend to being curvy, she'll have the confidence and skill to deal with the inevitable teen age BS. Girls are even more viscious that 5 yr old boys - but I've seen pelnty of plus size women excell in physical acitivies that allow them to exude confidence and repel these mean kids.

For the short term you can encourage your child and give her the internal resources to deal with these boys. Talk to the teacher, have her reinforce the anti-bullying message. Bottom line is that all the anti-bullying school stuff they do doesn't do a thing to cause lasting effects. We have to emotionally arm our children against it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

Can you let the teacher know? The teacher can have a general discussion with the class on how to treat each other. The teacher can also be on the watch for more of this type of behavior, so she can deal with it right off.
I would say let the parents know, but if you don't know them it might be hard. If it were my child who did the name calling, I would want to know so I could deal with him!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

Hi A.~

I'm sorry those boys were ugly to your daughter. I will never forget the first week of kindergarten my daughter was standing in line for lunch minding her own business and one of the boys in line hauled off and kicked her in the shin. I was in the cafeteria and saw the whole event. I was told later by one of the teachers that he had impulse control issues. No kidding!?! My daughter didn't know what to do or how to react. She couldn't believe he would do something like that. I was able to stay home with her so she was never exposed to anything like it. It was quite an eye opener....for so many things.

Anyway, one of the best books I loved reading to my daughter was written by Bill Cosby for kids. The title is The Meanest Thing to Say. It is fantastic and deals with this very thing. It's a great book and became a bedtime favorite especially when she had episodes of kids saying ugly things.

Now my sweet girl is 13 and we are navigating other waters. It never ceases to amaze me how mean spirited kids can be. When we have something come up and my daughter feels like she needs to defend herself I always remind her that just because someone says something about you, it doesn't make it true. If you spend a lot of time trying to convince the other person they're wrong for what they said, it's almost like you're giving validity to what they said. My daughter still uses the line "so" from Bill Cosby's book. It's amazing how powerful that two letter word is. I want my daughter to be confident and comfortable within herself and know that most of the time when someone says something hateful/hurtful it's usually not going to have a lot of truth to it


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

since you didn't hear it yourself can't say anything to those kids,however you can talk to your childs teacher.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Calmly let the teacher know. I think that schools do a general "how to behave", anti-teasing/bullying thing when needed, and that's what is needed. My kiddo is probably going to be considered "quirky" so I'm right there with you as far as protection goes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Were the boys in her class? If so, I think I would mention it to the teacher. You don't mention if she was upset by it, only that you were. If she wasn't, I wouldn't bother revisiting it with her. If she was, you've gotten a lot of good advice already.

And I just feel that it's worth saying, obviously I don't know you or your child, I don't know what her weight is proportional to her height, but the fact that you are calling a five-year-old "curvy" is setting off a little alarm in my head. My best friend's daughter was called "fat" when she was seven years old, and my friend was understandably upset. She said that it was just baby fat. The thing was, it wasn't baby fat. My friend's daughter weighed 80 pounds when she was 4 years old. She is now 21, and weight has been a lifelong struggle for her. My experience has been that parents of overweight children are very often deeply in denial, especially when their children are still young enough for it to be plausibly described as "baby fat." Teasing someone about their weight is never acceptable, but it might be worth taking this opportunity to reexamine your family's eating habits to make sure that your daughter is indeed within a healthy range.



answers from Denver on

Ugh, kids are so ridiculous some times. My best advice is to not make it a huge deal. When you talk to her, ask her if anyone said anything else. Assuming (hoping!!) she says no, ask her how she felt when they said that. I don't like saying "don't be upset" or anything- validate her feelings. But then say "yeah, that would hurt my feelings (or whatever) too". That's weird, though, right? I like how you look, you are super healthy. what do you think? Hoping again that she says she looks fine, just say "I think they must not be able to see very well! but sometimes kids just say mean things for no good reason. I would tell them it isn't nice, but just know that WE know you are fine". If you need to, role play with her how to address kids when they call names. Then she's prepared and knows to deal with it and quickly move on.

When my daughter was 6, she had very large feet for her age, made to look bigger because she has super skinny legs and is kind of tall. She came home crying because someone made fun of her big feet. I said "those kids didn't think that through did they?" She asked what I meant, I said "if your feet were small, you would look ridiculous and you'd probably tip right over!!" This made her giggle and we sort of had a 'those silly kids' thing. This totally worked for her. She still has bigger feet than most kids, but it doesn't bother her in the least. :-)



answers from Washington DC on

Kids of all ages can definitely be cruel... but they can also be careless and often say things because they SOUND funny without meaning to hurt anyone or even realizing it MIGHT hurt someone. Heck, if they played "Madi Madi bo Badi, banana fana fo ..." they'd have said it there too, it CLEARLY wouldn't have been a commentary about her in any way.

To put it in perspective my son's name is Alden and kids at two pre-schools, day camp, and his elementary school have all eventually landed on "Alden Balden" as their teasing name of choice. He HATES it and says "they're calling me bald!" which is funny because he has amazing LONG dreadlocks... also I've called him "Aldy Baldy" since he was a baby which he sees as totally different.

I would tell her what I believe is the truth "Oh honey, sounds like they were just looking for something to rhyme. Silly kids. I'm sure they know you're not fat."

Hope this helps,



answers from Boston on

Ahhhhhhh that would break my heart too. My 9 year old is built more athletic but is getting taller and slowly thinning out. I see her sucking in her stomach her friends are mostly under weight. Its soooo hard and I hate mean kids even though they do not even understand the impact their words have. I would secretly talk to the teacher but not make it a big deal with your daughter. Sometimes that makes it worse. Ughhhh this is the hardest part of being a parent. I swear it hurts us more than them. Hugs to you and your beautiful little lady.


answers from Williamsport on

Ugh! Sorry! If this happened to my daughter, I would assure her that they were wrongly picking on her for fun and it's not true. At this age, I would teach her to tell them to quit being mean and to quit saying that and to tell the teacher, but I would also stick up for her (at five) and speak to the boys for her as well as report it to the teacher. Yes, she needs to learn to stick up for herself, but she still needs help too and to see that you aren't afraid to speak up about it. I've seen kids insulting kids at McD's play yards and parks, and usually if a parent says something, they stop. They just get carried away and crack mean statements because they'r getting carried away being bratty. If it CONTINUES and they are targeting her more and more, you can take firmer steps then with parents and school, but if your daughter isn't an easy target, I bet these 5 year-olds will quit. My oldest is six and quite good at screaming at "mean kids" when it calls for it. I'm sort of shocked at how NOT afraid to do that she is...see how it goes and role play in case your daughter needs some verbal defense weapons stashed.



answers from Chicago on

I think that bullying is real, but we can't take every negative remark said in the schoolyard personally. We need to teach our kids to have thicker skin. By making a big deal out of certain remarks (and there is a difference between some kids calling a child a name on the playground, and relentlessly bullying them) we teach our children to be hurt by the remarks because YOU are hurt by it.

Something only has power because we GIVE it power.

Explain to your daughter that the boys were being silly, and that they made up a rhyming name to tease her. Help her to come up with some different responses next time they do it. Acknowledge that her feelings might be hurt.

I wouldn't even bring up that she is tall or curvy or anything about the word "Fatty" because then you'll put the question in your daughter's head that she might be fat. I wouldn't even say "you're not fat."

My daughter was teased in school for various things--other children always seem to find SOME reason to tease another child. We taught her how to handle it and that was the end of it.

If your daughter seem REALLY upset by it, then you can playact some responses with dolls. Have one of the dolls call the other doll "Madi Fatty" and then both of you come up with responses for the doll to say back. You can take turns being each doll so your daughter knows how it feels to say something mean, and to handle it. Later on you can play act without the dolls. That's what worked with my daughter.



answers from Phoenix on

I think the best thing we can do for our kids is to teach them the skills they need to deal with negative situations and people. I consider this a life skill that everyone needs to know. Yes, at 5, you can tell the teacher, and a 5 year old may not have the full jist of the impact of their words, but our kids ultimately need to know how to defend themselves, verbally and physically. I try to arm DD with sarcastic comments, or dismissive comments. I tell her that if someone physically assaults her first, she has every right to respond, and she will not be in trouble at home. Yes, I love the whole "use your words" thing, but something you need to make it sting a little bit. I honestly think our kids nowadays are too sheltered and soft.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions