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To ask what you do about bullies - young ones

(16 Posts)
Jassmells Sat 17-Feb-18 23:59:29

It has come to light that my DD (5 nearly 6) is being bullied by her so called best friend. I have suspected this for a while but she has finally confirmed it. The girl comes across as very shy and innocent when you meet her but she definitely isn't and it's having a very negative effect on DD.
It is typical "mean girl" stuff and at the age of 5 very childish, e.g. "You're not my best friend today" "I don't like you today" "today you can be my servant" "today you can be my friend" "your birthday is going to be rubbish" etc.
My DD is very friendly and outgoing and I really don't want this to derail her. The problem I have is would the school even see it as bullying and what can they actually do? My ideal is they keep an eye on it and keep them apart but I don't want to be seen as over reacting when a lot of the time they appear outwardly as friends. Help!

UpstartCrow Sun 18-Feb-18 00:03:18

You're not overreacting, the school should protect your DD and help the other girl with some guidance and counselling if she needs it.
You only get one childhood. It shouldn't be full of care, so don't be afraid to step in.

Jassmells Sun 18-Feb-18 00:09:01

Thank you I know the other girl is out of order but it's the age thing that concerns me whether they will be seen as too young to be a bully? Obviously not but not had to have this type of discussion before. Thanks

Isadora2007 Sun 18-Feb-18 00:17:28

I think she IS too young to be bullying. But that doesn’t mean the school won’t do anything. I’d definitely mention it to school but I wouldn’t call it bullying. I’d just say I am concerned by little X saying unkind things to dd. Dd is very upset by -insert examples- and I wondered what we can do about this to make it better for them all.

Children of 5/6 are very young and are learning about how friendships work and about the power they can have as well. The whole class could probably do with some reminding about being kind and how to be good friends etc.

AJPTaylor Sun 18-Feb-18 00:17:52

You need to highlight it to teacher. Yes they are young but the ideal age to be told how their actions impact others.

meandmytinfoilhat Sun 18-Feb-18 00:23:25

Highlight it to the teacher.

Teach your dd how to stand up for herself.

Kids that age are brutally honest and while some kids are awful, most just say exactly what they think. If the other girl starts the I'm not your friend, tell your daughter to reply with something like "ok, I'm going to play with xxxx" and walk away and to also tell a teacher.

Explain feeling sad about what is said is natural but she needs to do something to make herself feel better such as playing with another child.

ICantFightThisFeelingAnyLonger Sun 18-Feb-18 00:48:41

Exact same thing happened to my DD at the same age. Best friend was very sneaky and said all mean comments when no one else could hear. I highlighted to teachers but it didn't stop and of course they never witnessed it. Eventually I went to Head Teacher who got the girls into her office together and talked about friendships and what it meant to be friends. Best friend cried and has never said another mean thing to my DD again. Two years later they are the still the best of friends. My advice is tell the Head now, it needs stopping for both their sakes. Good luck.

nancy75 Sun 18-Feb-18 00:56:50

My Dd has this at around the same age, things like you can’t come to my party, I like x better than you. School were pretty useless. I taught DD to just say ‘i don’t care’ it’s a phrase that leaves the nasty child with nowhere to go but is t teaching your child to be nasty.
You can’t come to my party - I don’t care - the nasty child is t getting the pleasure of seeing your Dd upset and what else can they say

KeepServingTheDrinks Sun 18-Feb-18 01:07:00

with any thread on here about bullying, you get people who come along and tell their stories about how they were horrendously bullied and how the adults they trusted let them down and didn't step in to protect them; and it makes the threads very emotive.

As horrendous as those stories are (and upsetting to read, and horrible to know someone went through that), I think that generally the word 'bullying' is overused by parents.

This child's behaviour doesn't sound at all nice, and I'm not excusing it. But I think the word bullying here is too strong. Whilst unpleasant, I don't think this behaviour is untypical for girls of that age. And I say this as a parent who (at that age) witnessed a child of a similar age doing the exact same thing in my DD's 'group'. That friend wielded a LOT of power, and was often quite nasty.

Yes, by all means, have a word with the teacher or the head.

Yes, teach your DD some strategies. (pretending not to care and walking away is very powerful)

But try not to get overly involved. My DD's "friend" was like this for a good 3 - 4 years, but grew out of it (eventually). Although she's still quite feisty, and they're still all friends now (10 years later).
Your DD needs to learn to negotiate this stuff, and it's not actually helpful if your mummy swoops in to fight these kind of battles.

Italiangreyhound Sun 18-Feb-18 02:52:19

@Jassmells I am sorry this has happened but glad it has come to light.

Do you want to define this as bullying?

Well, "it's having a very negative effect on DD."

Saying stuff like "You're not my best friend today" "I don't like you today" "today you can be my servant" "today you can be my friend" "your birthday is going to be rubbish" etc.

I think that does sound like bullying, it is quite low level but it is. Definitions of bullying may vary; personally this is the definition that resonates with me...

"Bullying is when someone is being hurt either by words or actions on purpose, usually more than once, feels bad because of it, and has a hard time stopping what is happening to them."

SecretsRsecrets Sun 18-Feb-18 03:03:44

Op, I don't now if this helps, but I taught my DCs to look the other child straight in the eyes and calmly say, 'That's unkind', and then walk away.

I hope you find something that works for your DD, I'm sorry she's going through thisflowers

Italiangreyhound Sun 18-Feb-18 04:42:27

Re "The problem I have is would the school even see it as bullying and what can they actually do?"

The school will hopefully acknowledge that it is a problem even if they do not share your definition of it.

The school can set up a meeting between the two girls so they can talk about their feelings etc.

You could ask to be present at the meeting, unless you would rather not, and of course the other parent/s could too.

Re "My ideal is they keep an eye on it and keep them apart but I don't want to be seen as over reacting when a lot of the time they appear outwardly as friends."

You can ask for them to be kept apart but is this what your dd wants?

Bullying is very dis-empowering for children (and adults) so one way of helping your dd is to consult her and ask her what she wants to do.

Does she simply want to stop being this girl's friend? Does she want a chance to talk together about how the words are making her feel and give the other girl a chance to change her behaviour?

Rather than getting her to pretend not to care can you remind her that people who behave in a nasty way are not really worthy of her friendship, she doesn't have to be friends with this girl, nor does she need to pretend not to be hurt when she is.

She may feel she needs your 'permission' to exclude this girl from her circle of friends.

She may need your help to articulate how to say "That's not nice and I don't want to play with you today because of the way you are treating me."

Walking away can be a way to do this but your dd needs to know she does not deserve this type of behaviour and she needs to know you are there to back her up as she is very young.

Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Sun 18-Feb-18 04:45:00

Or as @SecretsRsecrets says more succinctly, 'That's unkind',

Cavender Sun 18-Feb-18 05:24:27

We’ve been through this too.

I worked with my DD on how to respond to these kind of comments using role play.

We discussed what she could say that was effective but that wouldn’t get her into trouble if repeated to a teacher.


“Your birthday will be rubbish”

My birthday is going to be amazing but if you don’t want to come I won’t mind at all.

“you can be my slave today”

I’m not anyone’s slave. You aren’t in charge of me, I’m in charge of myself”

“You can’t play with me today”

Excellent <big smile> skip off to play with someone else.

Jassmells Sun 18-Feb-18 07:53:59

Thanks all. I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill but I will be having a word with the teacher.

Callamia Sun 18-Feb-18 08:01:23

Please talk to the teacher.
Whether it’s a dictionary definition of bullying or not is by the by (fwiw, I don’t think that five year olds generally ‘bully’ because it’s quite a cognitively-complex thing to do), but it is hurtful and unpleasant behaviour, and something that needs addresssing.

It’s definitely right to equip your daughter with the right words to respond with, but the other girl needs some input too.

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