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!