Posted in mommyhood

The mean girls in Kindergarten

It’s amazing the things you learn when talking to your children. Just that free-flowing dialogue with no true agenda. I was talking to 7yo and the hubby came up to me and said something that I can’t even remember, and without thinking I said okay weirdo. 7yo looks at me and says without any emotion, I was called a weirdo today. This simple sentenced stopped me dead in my tracks! I asked her about the circumstances and she goes on to tell me that the girl is always mean and doesn’t play with her.  There doesn’t seem to be any bullying going on, but then again she called my daughter  a weirdo that one time so who is to say she is not testing the waters, yet then again I just called my husband the same thing, so you know there is that.

Overhearing the conversation my husband goes on to tell me that kindergartener told him that a girl in another class called her friend ugly and told her she had ugly clothes at recess! I realize that this didn’t happen to my child but it pisses me off all the same. While getting ready for bedtime I asked kindergartener about this and she says that the girl was in another class and told her friend she was ugly and that she had ugly clothes.  I asked her if this made her friend sad and she said no it didn’t. Then she said but my best friend “G” who is a boy, told the teacher for her. My first though was really, your best friend is a boy! We have to deal with boys already and the next was good job kid!

I did my research paper on bystander bullying in school but in no way was prepared to cover this subject so early on. kindergartener and I talked about how it is not okay to let someone get picked on and that we must tell someone we see it happening to.

All of this leads me to one question. When did mean girls get so young? It is bad enough that this has to be dealt with in middle school but seriously, as early as Kindergarten? When did we make it okay for this to happen to young kids who are still developing their self-esteem and understanding of each other.

I posted the question on Facebook and one responder says to probably take a look at the parents and it would not take long to see why the girl was a mean girl. I understand what she is saying but can we make it that simple? Can we say it is all the parents fault or is there more to it.

I did my research paper on bystander bullying and found the subject to be compelling and insightful. When we sit and watch something happen to a friend or another individual such as bullying, aren’t we just as much to blame for the victimization as the bully?

Think about the work place and how much bullying occurs on the job. Research suggest that workplace bullying is on the rise and adult professionals choose to look the other way. By being fearful of retaliation and just letting another person get picked on we are saying without saying the words that bullying is okay as long as we are not caught in the middle.

This is the very reason that I chose to tell my little girl to not only stand up for herself but also her friends. In Kindergarten everyone is your friend so we stick with that term for everyone. I told her it takes great courage to stand up for another person but it’s the right thing to do! I told my 7yo that if the girl who calls her weird bothers her again then to tell the teacher as this is not okay.

I am having a little trouble giving them the tools they need if they themselves begin to get bullied. I have never had experience with that one, so I ordered some books that I hope to read with my girls to help steer them in the event someone begins to pick on them.

More importantly my girl’s self esteem is important to me and I know what effects a bully can have on them. I will never forget 7yo’s first day of school! I prayed for safety from school violence and to let my girl fit in with the other kids. It felt silly at the time, my being so worried about them not making friends or fitting in, but now it feels completely warranted.

I would love to say let’s just teach our kids not to bully but the reality is that we must give our children the tools to avoid being victimized at school and later on in life at work. What tips or advice can you give a mom who has very little experience with this subject? Anything can only help as we begin the mean girl phase in life!

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Author:

I am a wife of ten years, mom of three, Nurse and student! My household is quite chaotic and busy. With a six year old going on sixteen. we shall call her "Sassy", a four year old, who is stubborn as a mule, she shall be called " mini me", and a one year old, we will call "Buddy". Our girls do Ballet, and our son, well he is all boy! Very curious and always getting in to something. When we found out we were having a boy i laughed and said " god must have known we needed a little less diva in our life," Ha, little boys are quite the handful! I love my kids with all of my heart, and i love my job too! As a nurse leader i get to see many sides to healthcare and help encourage and guide new nurses. I love taking care of patients and being able to have grown up talk and then come home to my babies. The house is usually chaotic with lots of tantrums, and messes, but i wouldn't change it for a bit. On the rare occasion that i am able to have some spare time to myself, i like to read, bake and decorate cakes, and take pictures of my kiddos. Time to myself is rare so i decided to start this blog to have a creative outlet and connect with other working moms, who might be going through the same situations as myself. I hope you enjoy my thoughts and stories as a mom, student, wife and Nurse! These stories will range from Diapers and tutus to meetings and boardrooms! and everything that falls in between. Enjoy and thanks for visiting my site.

19 thoughts on “The mean girls in Kindergarten

  1. So incredibly easy to just blame the parents, but in fact some children low self esteem and desperation for a unique identity makes it so that they must challenge their peers’ self worth. My bully from junior high apologized last year, nearly 15 years after the fact, part of his 12 step program it seemed. He admitted that his cruelty to me over and over again was indeed out of the frustration that I was happy iandconfident in who I was, the nerd.

    I coincidently just wrote about my personal encounters with bullies last week: https://stepparentsanctuary.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/you-just-keep-doing-you/

  2. Tough one… I guess if you nurture your children’s self esteem in general it will help them. Teach them the right values so they know what’s right or wrong. And I find that for my kids taking a martial arts class helped them too. But then they are not really in the line of fire as they are home-schooled…

    1. This is so true. We have always tried to boost confidence in our kids , I just hope it is enough when they face these types of situations. I was thinking about martial arts for the kids about a year ago, but the didn’t want to do it lol…

  3. That stinks 😦 I am amazed at how young the bullying and name calling starts now. I can see in some cases where the parents can be part of the problem but it isn’t always that way. I always tell the kids that I watch to not take what is said to them to heart and if it escalates to definitely tell their teacher. I also tell them that sometimes people don’t understand what they are saying can really hurt others and that they might not even mean it. Usually just walking away helps because if the other kid doesn’t get the reaction they were hoping for they usually move on. I hope it was just an isolated incident and things get better for her 🙂

  4. Bullying is a terrible thing! And definitely girls can be real mean at that too. It goes to adulthood too (I once had a boss who is a bully. That was just shite) You can’t protect them all the time, but you are right in saying that we need to give the necessary tools. My 5YO tells me stuff at school and I can only tell her to walk away if people aren’t nice to her, and if she sees her friends being treated badly, she shd help if she can. It’s a tough one! Bullying isn’t right. Period.

    1. It really isn’t right and coincidentally a paper from the school counselor was sent home Friday on bullying and how to handle the situation so I do feel some comfort in that they are taking the subject seriously. Which if you look at th research most schools do not.

  5. Mean girl stuff started as early as Kindergarten for us too. I don’t have a magic answer, as I am still trying to figure this one out for my younger daughter as well as my middle-schooler.

    What I have tried to do is build up their self-confidence by encouraging them to believe in who they really are no matter what someone else calls them. So the conversation might go, “Mom, Mean Girl called me Triangle today.”
    “Are you a Triangle?”, I would reply.
    “No, I’m a Circle”.
    “Of course you’re a Circle! Look at you, you are a beautiful Circle. Mean Girl just hasn’t figured out that you are a Circle yet. Give her time, she will eventually see it. But you don’t have to believe what she says, because you know that you are a Circle.”

    Other times, I have tried to guide them to see where the other child is coming from. I might say that sometimes kids say or do mean things when they are hurting. “Do you think Mean Girl is hurting? Maybe she wants to join your circle of friends.”

    When my older daughter was going through some kind of bullying in the 4th grade, I advised her to absolutely and completely ignore the girl when she was acting this way. I explained that often bullies do what they do for attention, and if they get no reaction from you, they get no pleasure out of what they are doing and they either quit or move on.

    No magic bullet. Everything is situational, but these are some of the strategies that I have used to struggle through these very difficult situations.

  6. Oh no, how horrible. Bit I have to say that I think the effort you’re putting into dealing with this means a hell of a lot; you say you’re having trouble giving them the tools they need, but I think in not brushing it under the carpet you’re doing exactly the right thing.

    1. Thank you for your kind words… I needed to read that more than you know. We had open house last night and I honestly felt better about things after watching both my girls interact with their schoolmates. kids were coming up left and right hugging them and waving, so I feel good knowing that they are not being isolated. but do not want them to watch another classmate get picked on! I want them to feel confident enough to help their friend and get help…

  7. I was actually bullied in kindergarten. I don’t think its necessarily new, but it is horrible and definitely damages your self esteem, and hinders your ability to actually find out who you are. Even at that age. Unfortunately I don’t really have much advice on how to handle it, but I can say from experience, the fact that you, as the parent, acknowledging it and believing your kid, will go a long long way. Assuring them that standing up for themselves and others, and being sure to tell them the bully is not right and the hurtful words are lies will too. I hope it doesn’t go any further! And it sounds like ur def doing a great job so far! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I just can’t believe the level of bullying in Kindergarten! We have been reading tips on how to handle it and how to stand up for friends, so we will see if that helps. thanks for reading and commenting 😉

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