Join Gertie's Community


21 February 2013

Playground Bullying

We know it happens and as parents we dread having to deal with it but I think it's a necessary, if horrendous, childhood experience and as parents we need to be armed with how to deal with it in the best way. I was personally shocked at how early it started and how much it affected my little girl who is a naturally sensitive being.

She came home from school one day and told me that two other girls in her class had been mean to her. I asked how they had been mean and she told me that they wouldn't let her play with her other friends, they had taken her hair clips as payment for their friendship another day and generally been unkind. She didn't seem to be upset about this but as she had told me about it, i knew it must be an issue for her so I hit google!!

There have been loads of times when I have just been stuck as to what to do with my kids. General baby advice, how to juggle work and a toddler at home, terrible two's, tantrums at 3 etc and i love the fact that our generation of mums has such a wealth of information at our fingertips.

Here are the main points to remember if your child comes to you with social school problems:

Don't fob them off or be dismissive. If your child is talking to you about it the chances are they have been building up their confidence to do so and actually this is a pivotal moment in your future communications. Phew, the pressure!!

Sit them down and make time to discuss the situation at length. This is hard when they're little as for every word of sense that comes out spews 25 of nonsensical chat about irrelevant info so keep your patience strong and steer them gently back to the point when necessary.

Ask them how it makes them feel. Expressing emotions is so important as a child. Frustration soon builds and can turn into anger and learning how to communicate emotions stands then in good stead.

Justify how they're feeling. Say that you can totally understand why they feel upset by this behaviour. It is not nice and noone deserves to be treated that way.

Suggest tactics to solve the issue. For me, it wasn't simple but obvious (to an adult) that the fact that she overreacted so badly to comments was acting like fuel to the bullies flame so I suggested that when they said something mean, she could try to shrug it off.

Practice. We took this a step further and did role plays so that she could practice a response of "so what?" or a dismissive look. We had lots of fun doing this and she picked it up quickly.

Follow up. When asking how school went when I picked her up, I'd also ask if she'd had any dealings with 'the mean girls'. I didn't push for a response and for a week after our chat she didn't want to talk about it. One night shortly after she told me how well she'd been doing at dealing with the situation. She'd been employing our dismissive techniques and had seen a marked improvement.

So for this minor case of bullying, hopefully, we caught it early. Self esteem intact and a small life lesson learnt. I know there will be cases of bullying in the future, I can only hope that my daughter will now feel like she can come to me for help. And I in turn can go to my amazing mate google for some sensible solutions!


Post a Comment