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AIBU To be already panicking about bullying...

(25 Posts)
Bathsheba Tue 18-Aug-09 05:35:00

DD1 starts Primary 1 today. She has been at preschool for 2 years.

I'm now in a complete tizzy about everything...! (I'm 18 weeks PG with DC3 so I'm allowed I think..)

She has always been very bright and popular, she is one of the oldest in her year, is very outgoing and has a lot of friends. She has been at the preschool in her school for a year and her nursery class is all going into the same Primary 1 class, so she will be surrounded by friends (and a fantastic teacher for 4 days, and her old nursery teacher who she adores for 1 day). I have absolutely no reason at all to doubt the abilities of the school.

But I was bullied as a child, and so was my DH.

And I'm petrified she will be to.

I KNOW its not something I have any control over, and its also something that children (unfortunately) will probably do anyway. Even if children have the right "things" etc, bullies will find some "way" to bully them. (I often see on Baby Name threads the question as to whether a child will be bullied for a certain name only to think that bullies will find something with ANY name, and some children with the most seemingly "bulliable" names will never be touched...)

Anyway, todays panic os over snack.

For the last 2 years she has been provided with her snacks by the preschool (we paid, but they gave the same snack to all the children). We've always tried to have a fairly balanced attitude to food - we try and be healthy but we aren't very strict or very over the top. So I've spent the summer holidays thinking about snacks that I'll be happy for her to have...

So, things like fruit, cereal (fruity and nutty) bars sometimes, home made plain popcorn (one of her favourites)...and maybe some days a mixture of things - half a bag of hula hoops in a wee tub, and a wee tub or fruit, rather than a whole bag of hula hoops for example. Another thing she quite often gets at home as a snack would be something like a slice of malt loaf, or a cheese sandwich (she loves crackers and cream cheese too).

But now I'm really panicking the she'll get teased her her snacks....and also I'm worried about how she'll be able to eat them (I can see its a lot easier to run around the playground clutching a bag of crisps than it is with a wee tub containing a cheese sandwich). Until now they have been at a table for their snacks (at school and often at home).

I don't want her to have crisps every day or even pre packed snacks - it might be less "cool" but I like her most of the time to have fairly unprocessed stuff and fairly healthy things. I guess she can run around with an apple or a banana (I've bought her a banana guard to protect bananas in her school bag) but again, I don't want her to have that every day because I like her to have some variety and try new things.

I'm over thinking aren't I...???

thatsnotmybelly Tue 18-Aug-09 05:49:48

You are overthinking, yes.

Take a breath.

Take another breath.

Be calm.

You will not be the only mother who does not want her child to eat crisps every day.

If she does get bullied because of her snack she will tell you and you can have a rethink.

I understand. I was bullied at school too and have the cold fear that it will happen to my children.

This much worrying will not achieve anything though. She'll be fine.

Bathsheba Tue 18-Aug-09 06:00:38

Thank you...

I'm also worried about her shoes - she has lvoely new Start Rite black mary jane style shoes..

But they have buckles....

I had a big panic in Asda that she'd be better with the £10 ones in Asda that had velcro...she'd be able to get them on and off better herself...

sunnydelight Tue 18-Aug-09 06:44:52

Yes you are over thinking, of course you are - she's your baby smile She will be absolutely fine, it is more than likely that the kids will have to sit down together and have their snack BEFORE they run around the playground. In total my 3 kids have been to 4 different primary schools and there has always been a time to eat before playing. Your main issue may be giving her too much so she doesn't have time to finish so you need to let her know that it's ok to leave stuff - my DD (kindy in Oz, first year of school) was anxious at the beginning about not having time to finish, but if she's hungry she manages to make time for a sandwich out of her lunch box too).

DD HAS to have laced up shoes - no buckles or velcro allowed. Kids manage whatever they need to, let her practice with the buckles at home so that's one less thing for you to worry about.

lljkk Tue 18-Aug-09 07:02:50

Good luck OP, I was badly bullied too so I understand Ur worries.
If she cant handle buckles buy her velcro later; DD managed buckles in reception (but has chosen velcro since!). Adults will help w/ shoes and dressing in reception. ime -- they'd rather not help, but they will if necessary.

Not much if any bullying (or teasing) happens in KS1 years, ime. It's when they hit Yr3 that it really kicks in, we found.

stillfrazzled Tue 18-Aug-09 09:35:26

OP, I totally understand - I was fretting last night about DS being bullied (I was bullied at school too; that nasty Queen Bee kind rather than being beaten up but it still had a huge effect on me).

The thought of my lovely little boy being bullied or left out makes me want to weep.

He's only 2, so I'm obviously borrowing trouble way in advance, too!

Don't know what the solution is. Think you just have to keep an eye open but not make your DD feel you're worried about her (I knew my mum worried and it made me more anxious).

NanaNina Tue 18-Aug-09 09:59:07

thatsnotmy belly - oh come on and stop tormenting yourself with stuff about snacks shoes and banana guards and lord knows what else. To be frank you sound a little over protective and that is not going to be good for your daughter.

The chances are she will be fine but I am a bit concerned that you will be on the lookout for bullying and see it when it isn't there.

I am sure your own experiences ar at the root of your worrying but try to put it in perspective. Do you know why you were bullied - there is usually a reason. This might help to see the differences between you as a child and your daughter.

The set up at your daughter's school sounds absolutely perfect. Your daughter needs you to be able to teach her the skills to cope with whatever she comes across in life and to do this you need to have a balanced outlook on life and guard against being over protective

AMumInScotland Tue 18-Aug-09 10:09:25

As others have said, you need to take some deep breaths and not project your own fears onto your DD.

She is not you. There is no reason to think that she will be bullied. There is no reason to think that children at her school are obsessed with "cool" snacks and will bully her for eating the wrong things.

The children her age will be too interested in either eating their own snack, or ignoring it so they can go out to play, to spend time examining what other people have. If they look at what other children have, it will only be to say "Oh I like them too" or "I don't like those ones" or "Can I swap X for Y?"

You say that she is popular and outgoing. You've obviously done ok at bringing her up so far, and giving her the selfconfidence to do well in new situations. Don't now undermine that by giving her the impression school is a minefield of unknowable social terrors where everything she does could be wrong and result in bullying.

From time to time she will get teased. From time to time she will fall out with people, or they will fall out with her. This is normal social interaction.

If she becomes withdrawn, regularly weepy at the idea of school, unwilling to go etc (not just as an occasional one-off, we all have days we'd rather not go to work), then you can ask the teacher if there are any issues. Until then, keep calm.

Goblinchild Tue 18-Aug-09 10:15:57

*Inserts cat amongst pigeons*
So no one is worried that their child might end up being the bully then?

yada Tue 18-Aug-09 10:17:10

i was the same when my baby (dd1) went four years ago, now dd2 is starting tomorrow and i have to say none of that panic is there blush

dd1 has what other children think is a strange taste in food, she takes little olive salads and sushi with her for lunch, i remember the first time she commented that someone had laughed at her but she said she had turned round and told them that she can bring in whatever she likes and it was not nice to laugh at her [proud]

no-one has said anything since.

Fairynufff Tue 18-Aug-09 10:21:12

Most of the kids at my DD's nursery have healthy, normal food like you describe. Calm down and do not pass your anxieties on to her as bullies notoriously pick on things they know a child is sensitive about.

AMumInScotland Tue 18-Aug-09 10:24:17

grin Goblinchild.... of course our little darlings are never going to be the bullies... those are the nasty children, with nasty parents....

Goblinchild Tue 18-Aug-09 10:27:53

Oh yes, I knew that. grin
It's one of the tricky things when dealing with bullying in schools, the children know what's what but parents are often shocked that one person's lively and confident is another's dictatorial thug.

Therevchasesducks Tue 18-Aug-09 10:34:08

funny most of the bullies at ds's school, had really nice parents.

AMumInScotland Tue 18-Aug-09 10:41:08

Unfortunately some nice parents seem to assume their children will turn out nice automatically, and never apply any discipline or teach them how to respect other people... And some bullies are experts at looking convincing in front of adults (specially their parents) who will keep "giving them the benefit of the doubt" long after their victims are left in no doubt whatsoever...

shockers Tue 18-Aug-09 10:44:07

On the snack front.... most schools don't allow crisps or sweets as snacks. I often see children in our playground with little bags of homemade popcorn or tubs of grapes or strawberries. The children who have parents who do not give them healthy ( and therefore allowed) snacks usually look pretty envious when snacks are brought out!

I have honestly never seen bullying in a reception class... I have seen children who have difficulty socialising be accused of it by other parents though. Your dd will no doubt have come across children like that at nursery. The children whos parents think they are being bullied often tend to be those who haven't attended nursery or pre school and so haven't come across children with social/emotional difficulties before.

This of course, is based on my experience only!!

She sounds like a lovely, well adjusted child and I hope she thrives!!

curiositykilled Tue 18-Aug-09 10:47:03

WOAH! Oh my God! You really are in a panic aren't you?! I feel so bad for you! Your dd will be fine!

Most children get bullied at some stage of their lives, it's how they cope with it that dictates how much it affects them. If you're an unconfident worrier you are much more likely to be really affected than if you are a popular confident child - your dd sounds the latter. She should be fine, especially if she's been in a yeargroup for 2 years already - why should it start now?

<<<big MN hug, stupid preggo hormones>>


Goblinchild Tue 18-Aug-09 10:48:16

'The children whos parents think they are being bullied often tend to be those who haven't attended nursery or pre school and so haven't come across children with social/emotional difficulties before.'

Or the concept of sharing, compromise and not being the most important person in the room.
Some young children define bullting as anything that makes them unhappy or uncomfortable, or when the answer to a request/demand is no.

shockers Tue 18-Aug-09 10:56:42

I knew I would get pulled up on that when I pressed "post message".

What I meant was that children who bite,nip, don't share etc are usually indescriminate and that children who have experience of a school type setting are not as intimidated and don't take other children's antisocial behaviour as personally.

Generally, a school will be aware from the first few days who those children are and will be on the case.

Real victimisation is usually more prevelant with older children.

Please be assured that I'm not dismissing bullying as a myth... as I said earlier, I am talking about my observations in a reception class setting.

We are very vigilant when it comes to antisocial behaviour to ensure that all our little people are happy at school.

katiestar Tue 18-Aug-09 11:16:10

Are you worried she will get the occasional bit of teasing or unkindness ,or that she will be bullied.They are 2 very different things .The first is inevitable at some stage ,the second is unlikely to happen because she has a different snack.

Bathsheba Tue 18-Aug-09 12:41:28

Thank you everyone - have clamed down now and I'm completely chilled..

She is back from her first day at school, she loved her snack (she had some before she went outside and some when she came back in)....she was absolutely thrilled that she was back with her friends...

I am quite over protective - she is my PFB and its the first time we have been through this - I was a bit worried that she'd be made to feel bad but she is a popular self confident wee thing so I'm sure she'll be fine

landrover Thu 20-Aug-09 12:21:21

good luck

NanaNina Thu 20-Aug-09 12:47:34

Oh good Bathesheba - so glad you are feeling better BUT I do think you may need to re-visit your own experiences of being bullied at school as this is clearly at the root of your anxieties. I am just afriad that that this anxiety will re emerge unless you are able to make some sense of what happened in the past.

I say this because of the way ahead........little girls (and bigger girls for that matter) as I'm sure you remember are always "falling in" and "falling out" and I found this very difficult when my little grand daughter started school and often felt sorry for her when she said "So and So says she's not my friend any more" etc etc. My DIL is a primary school teacher and she says over protective mothers are often in school complaining about stuff like this and really the children have tolearn to sort it out themselves. I would reiterate that children need to be taught the skills to learn to cope with what life throws at them (especially at school) and I think you may be hampered in this unles syou are able to come to terms with what happened to you.

Does that make any sense ?

poshsinglemum Thu 20-Aug-09 13:29:14

I can understand why you are worried as I was bullied and am already worried about dd. (she's 1!)
I think that the best thing that you can do for her is to have discussions about bullying, how to treat people right and how to be assertive and stand up for yourself. I think that if I'd reacted to the bullying with assertiveness then I wouldn't have been a target.
I have read Queen Bees and wannabees. It is an excellent book about girl cliques and it goesthrough how to educate girls about the challennges they face with friendships. Even if she isn't a target, it can teach her her to be the kind of girls who is not a bully herself.
I found it useful for myself as it made me able to understand the pressures that I was under when I was bullied and that it wasn't my fault. It made me give myself an easier time.
I have totally over though this but I think that the sooner we address girl cliques the beteer.
Mabe also wait until your dd brings up teh subjetc of friends before having discussions about ''fitting in.''
Do try to relax about her lunch box however. She should feel proud to eat healthily. Don't let her pick up on your anxieties. If you discover she is being teased because of lunch then why not brainstorm some clever responses she could use. However, it's unlikely to come to this.

I would read Queen Bees and wanabees in order to help yourself come to terms with bullying.

poshsinglemum Thu 20-Aug-09 13:45:05


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