intimidation in nursery(24 Posts)
hi there, this is my first post on mumsnet and i wanted to ask some advice, particularly from people who know a bit about child development
my 3 year old started pre-school in scotland in january
basically it became apparent that my son had been bullied / intimidated by another child and was lashing out at boys as a result. i pulled him out for a week and a half to try to understand what was happening, during which time a new head of preschool started who i liked and trusted to resolve the situation.
my son now only goes every other day and he is more settled, and is slowly building up confidence in feeling safe and trusting the teachers.
however, i have become aware that the intimidation is continuing from a boy who was brazen enough to do it in front of me, his grandfather (who did nothing) and all the other parents. he is a full year older than my son and he quietly, discretely goes right up to his face, physically very very close and stares at him to try to provoke my son to push or hit him. i've now seen this child do this to my son four times, he doesn't do it to any other children. the last time he did it i spoke to him sharply and he went away.
his confidence that he is untouchable is frightening and he was looking at my son as though he was prey.
i mentioned it to a teacher after the last incident who simply said 'oh yes, we had a talk with them all about being nice yesterday'. so i had a talk with the head of nursery who took my concerns seriously but implied that this boy did get very close to other children and that was how he communicated. this is not what happened and i've been dwelling on it since trying to decide whether i should say anything else.
i've been reading and reading trying to figure out what is going on. why would a 4 year old behave like this or have such confidence to behave like this? he is clearly very very clever and has been getting away with this for awhile. my son while one of the youngest is very tall for his age, is this other child top dog and trying to assert his authority over my son?
i feel awful suggesting that a 4 year old is a bully and that he is specifically targetting my child for bullying, but that is absolutely what i think is happening.
i would be very grateful for thoughts or advice. my concern is that the pre school staff are so nice that they are ineffective in dealing with this behaviour - when i looked in this child's eyes when i told him to move away from my son i knew he knew that i was onto him. his self assuredness was frightening. but the teachers don't see it it would appear.
it was clear to me from my son's reaction that he thinks adults can't do anything about this other child. he was shocked when my speaking to the other boy resulted in him leaving my son alone. my son's surprise at him 'going away' was very sad to see
thanks in advance for your thoughts
I think you are over reacting hugely to a small child being close to your small child, who then hits the first small child.
This is not bullying. This is your child hitting another small child.
You do not KNOW what is going on in the four year old's head, and to presume adult/preteen motivations of a preschool child is utterly absurd and bordering on paranoid neurosis - it could be that he has Autism, as children with Autism often have no notion of appropriate personal space.
Seriously, re-read your post. A child 'brazenly' stands close to your child. Your child hits him.
Who's the bully? Neither of them, they are both tiny tiny children. But your child is the one with the behavior problem if he can't stand to have other children close to him, to the point that he resorts to violent attacks.
my apologies if my post read like that
that's not what is happening, the other child is almost nose to nose to my son staring at him, deliberately provocative
my child has pushed him away twice as an instinctive reaction. the last time this happened the other child then approached him again, did the same thing. i turned my son towards me. the other child then physically pushed himself between me and my child and did the same thing again, i said that was unacceptable behaviour and to leave my son alone. this is in the corrider before preschool when we're waiting for the doors to be unlocked.
my son's problems at pre school were before this incident when he seems to have been so destabalised that he was lashing out at people in anticipation of being hurt. in every one of the incidents this other child seems to be involved in the background. yes my son lashing out was absolutely unacceptable which is why i removed him for 10 days to get to the bottom of it. he hasn't done this since. i also needed to find out why he had gone from a happy, sociable, chattery 3 year old to a withdrawn, insecure and uncommunicative child.
if my post is inappropriate i am happy for it to be removed.
It's not an inappropriate post, you're just wrong about how much awareness a 4 year old has about the world, and you are reacting as if YOUR child is the one being hit, where in fact your child is the one behaving inappropriately. It is far more appropriate to stand really close to someone than it is to hit someone. Your child is the one whose behavior is a problem. The other child will simply get pushed away a lont if he doesn't grow out of his behavior - YOUR child will get excluded if he doesn't grow out of his.
If a personality clash with the four year old is making your child unhappy, I suggest changing his preschool sessions so they never meet, but to be honest, I find your level of feeling threatened by a tiny child really quite disturbing, and if you are as nervous of him as you come across here, you're probably passing that nervousness onto your own son. A four year old cannot "know that I am onto him" and like I said in my previous post, the level of malice you are attributing to a non violent preschooler borders on paranoia.
>> his confidence that he is untouchable is frightening and he was looking at my son as though he was prey.
i think you are projecting hugely TBH
i cannot add anything to the wise words of the other posters
is this your first child to go to nursery? I think it is really understandable that you are concerned about this, but I agree with the others, I don't think you can attribute the degree of malevolence you seem to be attributing to one so little. It may be that this child has difficulties communicating, or that him doing this is his way of trying to make friends, who knows... but you are right to try to get the nursery to address your concerns, as at the very least, whatever the child's motivation, it cant be nice for your son to experience this. Rather than looking at it as the other chid being bad or trying to intimidate your son, maybe you could look at it as that child having some difficulties, and approach the nursery asking them if they think his behaviour is normal, and if not, then what they can do to address it. HJaving a talk with everyone about being nice doesn;t really cut the mustard for me I'm afraid - each child is different and they need specific tailored responses to their individual needs. Push for this other child's needs tobe addressed and you might find the nursery more receptive.
Or you might not! If you see my thread on bullying elsewhere on MN, you;ll see that sometimes education professionals can let you down and not meet expectations...but i think that is the exception rather than the norm and your situation really has good hope of resolution.
my apologies, i have asked mumsnet to remove my post
i did post late at night after overthinking what was happening and dwelling on it and i was feeling rather emotional at the time
i had originally been trying to figure out if a child of that age could be behaving in a malicious way, since that was genuinely what it looked like to me.
the fact that this has now been happening over a 3 month period and has resulted in such a dramatic transformation in the personality of my child is the cause of my distress combined with my inability to do anything about it, because as has been pointed out, this child isn't physically harming my child.
my post was in many ways thinking out loud and as such it was inappropriate.
thank you for your comments
Welcome to Mumsnet.
Now, 2 things straight off.
1. Your child is not being bullied by the other one.
2. Your child is the one lashing out and hitting. What do you imagine the mother of the other child thinks about that?
Your little one is only 3, has only been at preschool a few months, and that only intermittently. He is finding his feet in social situations. The other boy is older, you say, and then give us a long list of what seems to you to be threatening bullying behaviour, but which, from my side of the fence, could probably be construed as a 4 yr old's curiosity in the new kid. Has the other boy actually done anything other than stand too close to your child? (in your opinion?) How come you get to see all of this? Are you lurking in the flowerbeds?
I think your little boy is probably fine, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think you are probably over-anxious about him being away from you/worrying about the possible negative elements of nursery and are, as others have said, projecting this onto this other child.
Yes, your child is going to meet wee divilspawn at nursery, at school. Eventually. Tbh, from what you've said, he hasn't yet.
Lornay, please don't go, and don't take the huff.
Your little boy is probably tired and over excited from the newness of pre-school. My dd morphed into a complete alien-child when she first started!
Seriously, stick around, people are just trying to get you to look at the situation you have described in a more objective way.
I have to comment.
At 4 its very unlikely either child is 'bullying' I think youve put your own feelings in his place,perhaps you were bullied and you remember how very scarey it is,you obviously dont want your son to feel like that either which is why you took him out of pre school for a period to help him cope with his feelings.
Your ds is learning about the world and its place as are his peers they have no concept of social nicety and its up to adults to teach them,please dont think im criticizing you -Im not - because I too am guilty of this parenting 'sin'.
I think they can bully.
My ds was treated very badly by a little boy when he first started. He'd do it even in front of me. Very odd - I'd take ds in - this boy would spot ds, drop whatever he was doing, come straight over demanding ds said hello to him. Ds would and then this kid would take whoever ds was with and lead them away so ds was standing there alone like a lemon. He seemed so forlorn but by the time I'd pick him up he'd had a good day playing with others. So for this reason I didn't say anything to the teachers as I wanted to see if ds could somehow navigate his way through it. But I did tell the boy one time that ds doesn't say hello just because he wants him to. This went on daily for a month. I even heard him say to his dad that 'oh that's giveitagojr and that's the one I'm horrible to'.
They are now friends (!) and I've heard their little boy group talk about who they will be horrible to and how to do it so the teachers don't see. Nice! I did tell the teacher about that and I asked to ensure my ds did not partake in this as I saw a big behaviour change in him and it wasn't nice.
I also had a chat along the lines like your friends are nice to you but not to others - what do they do (he'd tell me) and I'd just say nice to have friends but you don't need to copy everything they do. Seemed to work - he's still friends with them but I'm told he's kind to all the kids so 'phew' until the next time. Beyond that if he decides to be a bit of git he knows that the teachers will discipline him. Hey, that's consequences for you.
Nursery is called preschool for a reason best get this stuff out of the way to help them better prepare for school.
i hope that you are over reacting as i have all kinds of similar worries when my DS 2.8 starts pre school nxt week. you would not believe the kind of things running through my head.
DS has just started lashing out in temper at others (have done a post tonight but no-one has advice for me) but i think i can understand where you are coming from when you say your lad is hitting
DS and my neice spend 3 days a week together and she is a screamy little thing. she will litterally screech and yell in DSs face when in a rage and by no means often, but he has when confronted by this hit out.
he gets an instant reprimand obviously but i agree that most children are extremely clever and sometimes nasty. i mean, if someone came and stood over you in a threatening manner or began uncontrollably scream right in your face it is self preservation to fight back. it is a natural instinct, reaction which as adults we understand self restraint and the law but children have to learn this.
i wonder if you where ever bullied/imtimidated as a child, i know i was and i think this stems an uncontrollable fear of our DCs being bullied or worse becoming bullies.
either way good luck.
Lornay, did you say anything to the child when he was that close to your son and staring at him? Or did you move your son away?
If I were you, I would tell your DS not to push him away or hit back, but to say very loudy 'please stop it X, I don't like it'.
It's worked for my son (who is also three) as it draws attention to the incident (staff at nurseries are busy, afterall) without your son being told of for hitting or pushing.
I know some people have said you are over-reacting, but I don't think you are
I think it's very possible you are misinterpreting the other child's actions, and neither boy is communicating well (understandable at this age). It seems very unlikely that a 4 year old would attempt to intimidate another child by standing close to them.
Maybe you could work on teaching your ds to use words in a situation he doesn't like? I work in a nursery and we try to encourage our pre-school children to use stop, no, I don't like that etc instead of lashing out when another child does something they don't like.
Missus, I'm reassured by what you have said. It means I am doing the right thing
I think you should have another word with the staff if you believe this is upsetting your son. I don't think anyone would like another person to stand so close and stare, it is intimidating whether meant or not. You and the staff can work on a strategy for your ds to say loudly to please stop and that can alert the staff to come and gently intervene without anyone getting upset. This will teach your ds how to react in a situation and teach the other boy better social interaction. I don't actually blame your boy for getting upset by it but I think you would feel more relived by some closer staff monitoring of the situation.
For Lornay. I think that you have just been bullied by these responses into removing your post! It should feel safe on this forum to think out loud about issues of bullying and the best way to protect your child. Firstly it is important to believe your child (and I think that you do) and not be shamed into thinking that it is an overreaction on your part. Children at a very young age can and do act out and will experiment with the potential power they can wield - an interesting article by Deborah Carpenter 'How to Handle Preschool Bullies' is available on the internet. I hope that with your help this can somehow be turned into a valuable learning experience for your little one. I have only joined mumsnet to answer what I feel was actually a very considered post on your part - not a mere 'thinking out loud' - it was your experience and is a believable one.
It strikes me that the OP comes here explaining what sounds to me like bullying at nursery - and gets bullied herself as a result. You folks aren't that supportive. It sounds like a complicated situation that isn't going to resolve itself. I would pull him out of the environment.
I read and re-read Lornay's post to try and understand the situation. Nursery is a big time in any child's life and, in my opinion, if after 3 months things haven't improved then Lornay needs to have a frank discussion with the teacher and get all her fears and concerns 'on the table'. This may help in coming up with ideas to calm things down and if the children aren't playing well together, keep them apart and watched to see what is happening.
To a parent some childrens actions can seem cruel and deliberate but often aren't and the teacher should be able to help Lornay with this.
It sounds like they are small children who can't communicate well. The older child gets physically too close to your child as he wants some sort of interaction and doesn't know how to get it any other way.
Your child then hits out because he doesn't know how to say: "don't stand so close, I don't like it".
You need to teach him how to say that. You also need to teach him that hitting is not an appropriate response, and to help him find other ways to express his emotions.
The nursery staff need to be helping both children. They shouldn't be dismissing the other boy's behaviour, particularly if he is doing it repeatedly to lots of children. He needs help too, to find ways to engage with other children and his parents need to be aware of this also.
This thread is over two years old. The lad will be in school by now
I can't believe I missed the date on this post. Sorry, blame it on the
Thanks for pointing out how old the thread is - i actually found it while trying to find some helpful imput from mumsnet regarding the subject of nursery bullying - so basically never a topic that is out of date and a post that many people will continue to read whilst looking for help in that area - unfortunately looks like Lornay didn't get much help - and it was her first (last) time on the site.
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