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to ask fr advice from primary teachers, parents, any bloody body frankly. Dd being bullied :(

(24 Posts)
namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 17:20:32

So situation is that DD is 3.5 and started nursery at a school in Sept. The girl who has been her best friend there (let's call her X) until recently has started saying unpleasant things to her. It's clearly being done to make her feel bad - it's just silly baby stuff ('I hate your t-shirt', 'you're stupid', 'I'm not your friend') - but it's upsetting DD so we're taking it seriously.

I should point out that I've seen the behaviour on several occasions and it's completely one sided and not in response to anything so it's not them being as bad as one another or anything like that. It just comes out of the blue when they are playing together beautifully. I know the X's mother quite well and we have had lots of playdates until recently when dd started saying she didn't want X to come to our house. It seems to be worse when X's mother is there and at home time.

So far I have:
Spoken to DD and told her to say 'I don't like it when you speak to me like that, it's unkind. I won't play with you if you are going to be unkind'. That seemed to be working until last week when DD said that X now follows her saying the unkind things.
Spoken to X's mother. She reports that it is not just DD, this behaviour is happening with lots of people in X's life, she is clearly worried about it and trying to speak to X about it, I feel for her but so far no effect.
Spoken to the school - initially they said they'd seen nothing except the girls 'clashing'. They then monitored them and spoke to X on a when she was unkind to DD, they have done a carpet time about 'friendship' and spoken to the girls together. No effect.

Today DD was crying and saying she didn't want to go in - she is scared of X. I took her there on the proviso that we could leave and spoke to the teacher. She spoke to DD who agreed to stay. Apparently DD spent most of the morning playing alone sad At the end of the day X was physically unpleasant to DD (flicking her hair type stuff) and was put into time out. As we left nursery she scooted past us and said something else horrible, I spoke to her at that point and said she needed to be kind to DD.

I am so angry but trying to be V reasonable. I feel for X but tbh DD is my only real concern - she was so happy and now she's becoming quite sad and scared of things sad

I am going to write an e-mail to school over the weekend. I am going to record what has been said and done. DH thinks we should keep DD off for a few days but I think that's removing the wrong child tbh and teaching a message that if people are unkind we can't cope with that and we should hide somewhere. I have thought of a few strategies - e.g. asking school to have X somewhere else at the beginning and end of the day so that those difficult times are managed for both of them.

But what's reasonable at primary school in early years? I can't keep giving DD the message that if someone's making you unhappy you tell grown-ups and fuck all happens sad

WaitMonkey Fri 07-Feb-14 17:25:17

I don't know what I'd do. But will bump the thread in the hope someone helpful comes along.Poor dd.

WaitMonkey Fri 07-Feb-14 17:25:17

I don't know what I'd do. But will bump the thread in the hope someone helpful comes along.Poor dd.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 07-Feb-14 17:27:27

Sounds horrible. I have a dd the same age and felt so sad for her reading your post.

It sounds like the school ARE reacting, although a bit slowly. Hopefully things will improve now you've flagged it and they've seen it.

Could you suggest to your dd that she responds more robustly? Obviously not resorting to trading insults or violence, but suggest she says 'NO!' Very loudly if the girl does anything. Or perhaps just 'LEAVE ME ALONE!'. What you suggested to her is very reasonable but perhaps a little too gentle. Also, if your dd responds loudly it's more likely to get noticed.

NorthernLurker Fri 07-Feb-14 17:31:43

Well they're both very, very little. It sounds to me like X is thriving on basically negative attention. If it were my child I would do just what her mum is doing and talk and talk about it but the problem is if the child has wired herself to feel that negative is a positive, then the more you talk, the more you feed it. I think the school needs to protect the self esteem of both of these children by keeping them apart, keeping them on task and ensuring that both have the opportunity to receive praise for positive behaviour. That's what your dd needs - atm school is a scary, negative place but t's also what this child needs.
Don't keep her off but be very clear again and again with school that structures and support needs to be in place for both these little ones. If you can take X's mum out for a coffee too. She probably feels like shit about this and it isn't her fault.

ATotallyOriginalUserName Fri 07-Feb-14 17:32:43

Poor little thing.
X must be getting this feeling from somewhere. Maybe something in her life is amiss? A father maybe? Arguments at home? Older brother yelling obscenities at the xbox for her too hear?
I don't really have any advice :/ I'm sorry for your DD though.

hwjm1945 Fri 07-Feb-14 17:33:19

i sometimes wonder what would happen if X was given a very very stern talking to? no more nice carpet time etc, just a cold hard stare each time it happens and being told to go to the corner/time out and being ignored for say 3 mins?

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 17:33:36

Thanks fruitsalad. Tbh up till now it's been in the context of them being really good friends and wanting to protect that friendship. X is a nice little girl and 90% of the time they are having a great time and then X will say something really horrible and DD will cry. Not the best basis for a friendship.

I am trying to do as many playdates as possible with other children at the school so DD has other people to play with who she knows well and that's fine when X isn't there but when she is she and DD gravitate together. X was really pleased to see her as we trailed crying into the teacher's office to speak with her this morning for example.

However I agree with you that maybe it's not enough. But X is clearly looking for a response and to know she's hurt DD... sad

HandragsNGladbags Fri 07-Feb-14 17:33:39

Ah it's horrible when this happens sad

We have had one little girl keep telling DD1 that she won't be her friend. I told her to say "that's fine I have other friends" and walk away. She's 5.

I'd suggest you give her another set phrase "you are being unkind, I'm not listening" for example and to go straight to the teacher if the other girl doesn't stop.

Don't worry too much about playing alone though, at that age they can still play in a rather solitary way.

popperdoodles Fri 07-Feb-14 17:37:30

as an early yrs teacher my first thought was 3 yr old are not capable of bullying but on reading further it does seem this other child is being deliberately mean. I would hope the leader or teacher is going to put things in place to tackle it. they need to speak to the other childs parents to try and work out why she is doing this and agree consequences when she does it. at the same time I would be teaching your dd what to do when people say or do things she doesn't like. I teach "stop, I don't like it" and they are to find an adult. although it sounds like you are teaching her similar already.
in the meantime they need to try and buddy her up with another friend. I think you need to go and speak to the teacher again tbh.

longtallsally2 Fri 07-Feb-14 17:39:02

How about the phrase "You're being unkind. I like you much better when you are nice"? Then you give X the chance to see that she can be better than this. (It's what the school/teachers would do ideally, but if you are teaching your dd a phrase to use this might help - whilst reminding your dd that she doesn't have to say it of course - she doesn't have to appease X. But if she genuinely does like her when she is kind, it might help.)

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 17:42:04

Yes there is something wrong at home - it's a medical thing that the parents can't do anything about (not with X) so I can see where the desire for attention is coming from sad And I'm trying hard to hold onto feeling sorry for X which is hard because I hear such horrible things about her all day angry

And no it's not X's mum's fault. And yes I sort of agree that X needs to be told quite clearly. And I agreed with X's mum that I would speak to X because:

a. then DD can see I'm doing something
b. if X is doing it to hurt her mum then it takes her out of the conversation
c. I can be stern with X without it hurting her to the core 'cos I'm just me not her mum

I just think school might be a bit more creative and take it a bit more seriously - she's being bullied and they're a bit 'I haven't seen anything much today'. And yes, I know they have a million kids to watch...

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 07-Feb-14 17:43:10

I wouldn't worry about protecting the friendship. As it stands it's doing more harm than good, and children are pretty hard to offend anyway. If your dd really stands up for herself it might make the girl think twice, but I doubt very much she'll hold it against her.

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 17:44:16

Thanks people - some good advice here. Just to say I might have to do bathtime in a moment and I'll be back later. I really appreciate the strategies.

I wouldn't normally describe 3 yo behaviour as bullying but this is clearly 'I want to make you feel bad'. Really horrible sad

LadyVetinari Fri 07-Feb-14 17:48:09

I feel for you - I was bullied a lot as a kid (from age 3 in one prep school, and then from age 6-11 at another school), and I know now how much it upset my DM that she couldn't do very much to change things.

A few things:

- Can nursery promote some new friendships by putting together a few sessions of group activities which separate your DD from the other little girl, and then focus on encouraging both girls to play and work with the children from their respective groups? You could support the development of those new friendships by inviting the other DC to outings/visits outside of nursery time.

- I agree that keeping the other little girl's mum onside is very important. If she feels that her DD is at risk of being blamed or pigeonholed as a bully, she's likely to become defensive and obstructive. I agree with the PP who suggested inviting her out for coffee, making it clear that you don't blame either of them, this is a phase, friendship groups need shaking up from time to time, and you understand that the other mother is doing her best, etc.

- Don't remove her from nursery unless you really have to, and have a better alternative available. Bullying crops up repeatedly throughout life, and the best possible outcome is that she learns how to deal with it early and recognise that the problem lies with the bully rather than with her. Would it be possible to get her into another group activity like a club for the duration of this, to help her keep her confidence in social situations and make some friends outside of nursery?

FWIW, you're absolutely right not to let this slide. My DF (with the best of intentions) convinced my DM on the second occasion that she couldn't fight my battles for me, it clearly wasn't too bad as I wasn't coming out of school in floods of tears every day, etc. Things worked out okay in the end but I know I'd be a much happier, more confident, and less introverted person if he hadn't done that, so please listen to your instincts smile.

lunar1 Fri 07-Feb-14 17:52:32

I think I would keep it much shorter, less chance of your dd forgetting. Just teach her to firmly say go away, and turn her back on the girl. I would also be expecting the school to keep them apart as much as possible.

Childhood is to short to spend trying to maintain negative friendships.

DoItTooJulia Fri 07-Feb-14 17:54:39

I would persist with the school. Make a proper appointment to discuss it again and ask for an action plan. Whether that's a quick 5 minute debrief every day that you pick dd up or a special notebook that's you and the teacher complete daily or something else as long as it means the teacher is committed to daily communication for the foreseeable short term.

Teachers are really busy but I've found that ensuring your dds are at the forefront of their mind for a couple of weeks can help in at least better observation of the behaviour and hopefully a successful strategy to manage it.

Do not let it go on through worrying that your are being a pain, or always at the school.

Good luck.

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 17:57:58

Yeah it is a bit long innit? Will teach her just to shout 'FUCK OFF!!!!!!' at X no I won't Mumsnet, I won't I promise, I am reasonable and understanding

LadyVetinari sorry to hear your story. Am so afraid this might be the start of years of this. On the whole DD is a bright happy person - she has lots of friends outside nursery for e.g. we spent the afternoon today with an old friend having lunch and then at a soft play so I hope that will stand her in good stead.

I think I should meet properly with teacher (not just in the broom cupboard at arrival time) and agree some strategies including:
Buddying DD properly - rather than just saying you can play with Y and then ignoring her for the rest of the day.
Asking to see the notes they tool when they monitored the girls.
Asking what strategies they are putting in place with X.

Anything missing? What should they be doing with X? Dreaded stickers?

LadyVetinari Fri 07-Feb-14 18:00:51

Just saw your latest post - I really don't think it's a case of "I want to make you feel bad" at that age. IME children who behave in that way do it for one of three reasons:

- It's a way of expressing how they feel (with no real thought about how it makes the other person feel), when circumstances stir up emotions that they aren't equipped to process;
- It's a way of getting a guaranteed response/reaction, and therefore some attention and the feeling of being in control, when circumstances make them feel that they are lacking those things;
- It has become habitual, for the above reasons (and therefore can continue even after the root cause has been addressed), especially when they've gained an identity as a "naughty kid" and get treated accordingly. That can be very hard to break out of!

The person/people they direct the actions towards are often kind-of incidental.

She most likely doesn't even really register that she is making your DD unhappy or why that is unacceptable, because she probably doesn't have that degree of empathy or abstract thinking ability yet.

It doesn't make it any less upsetting, I know, but it might make it easier to sympathise.

LadyVetinari Fri 07-Feb-14 18:04:17

Oops - cross posted again! I think the most important thing is to focus on getting both DD and X into different friendship groups. If X is left as a loose canon, it's unlikely that she'll stay away from your DD once the initial scrutiny has abated.

Please don't let my story worry you - the important thing is that you're dealing with this at the start! The mistake my parents made was leaving it until Year 4 or Year 5 to tackle properly (although, tellingly, it took parental pressure plus a thoroughly fantastic, perceptive, and dedicated Year 6 teacher to make any kind of difference at all, so school support was vital in my case).

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 18:55:30

Bumping shamelessly for evening traffic smile

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 18:58:23

Thanks for the reassurance LadyV. And for the stuff on what's happening in X's head. Just really concerned that nursery basdically can't seem to actually make it stop sad

So I like the notebook idea - can I ask that they do that with X's parents as well?

What about putting X in the reception classroom at carpet time? It wouldn't be a propoer exclusion and horribly traumatic but would be getting her out of the way when things tend to happen.

I'm going to ask about proper buddying.

namechangeobv Fri 07-Feb-14 19:43:07


OpalQuartz Fri 07-Feb-14 19:50:34

I say to mine. "if someone is being unkind you walk away and find someone kind to play with. If the person follows you to be unkind you tell the teacher."

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