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Is my child a bully? Is it my fault?

(13 Posts)
Worriedmum2 Sun 20-Jun-10 00:26:22

I'm heartbroken to find out that my 5 year old daughter may have been bullying another girl in her class. She seems to pass nasty comments to even her closest friends sometimes with no thought to their feelings.That's all it was until last week when there was a more serious incident encouraged by an older girl. I am freindly with the little girl who was picked on's mum, and she is understandably furious and tells me the nasty comments have been going on for quite a while.

I have promised to resolved this but to be honest I don't really know where to start. I have done the usual things like taking away her toys and not letting her spend time with friends but I feel I need to do something else.

If this were an isolated incident it would be different, but the spitefullness has gone on for a couple of years. When I look back I'm not sure she has ever been too considerate of peoples feelings. And yet, if someone were to fall in the playground she would be the first to help. I always considered myself to be a good mum and my husband a good dad, but now I am left wondering what we are doing wrong to make her so desperately unhappy that she would act like this. At least thats what all the bullying websites are teling me the reason for the behaviour is.

Any advice would be appreciated as I feel like a failure that has had her heart ripped out.

seenyertoeslately Sun 20-Jun-10 04:15:19

This must be very upsetting for you and all credit to you that you are taking it seriously and trying to do something about it. Some parents of children who pick on another child take the attitude that this is just something children do and will even present you with imagined or magnified instances of provocation that make their child behave like this; or they may take the attitude that adults shouldn't interfere and that the children should sort it out for themselves - no help if a child is being physically hurt or refusing to go to school because of nasty remarks. You are clearly not a failure as mum or you wouldn't be posting on mn about it.

What does your daughter say when you talk to her about these incidents? Does she understand that that her toys have been taken away and playdates cancelled because of her behavior to the other child?Has her teacher noticed what is happening and can you enlist the school's help in dealing with this?

How nasty are the nasty comments? Working in a kindergarten, I do hear remarks like "You're not my friend" and "You can't come to my party." We talk to the children about thinking about other people's feelings. I really don't think that the perpetrators of the remarks are necessarily desperately unhappy but I have observed many times a trigger of this kind of behavior seems to be the birth of a sibling, when the child may feel supplanted or is simply adjusting to a new routine.

seenyertoeslately Sun 20-Jun-10 04:22:04

On the other hand, she may be trying to cement group links by rejecting another child; it seems likely in this case since you mention that she was incited by an older child.

I don't know if it would be possible for you and your daughter to sit down and talk about it with the other little girl and her mum. This would only work if the adults can talk reasonably and not get angry or accusatory.

Worriedmum2 Mon 21-Jun-10 11:50:05

Thanks for your reply, I have spoken with the school this morning and they feel that my daughter is a very popular girl who likes to lead. They are not concerned about her behaviour, but the thought of her making someone elses child so unhappy is so saddening. The comments are just like the ones you hear. " i don't want to talk to you/play with you" or "go away I don't want to be your friend". I understand her mems anger though and have spoken to her about it at length this weekend. I have tried to explain how feelings can be affected her comments by relating it to her younger sister. eg. if someone said that your your little sister how do you think she would feel? hopefully she will take this into consideration in the future.

MeMudmagnet Tue 29-Jun-10 00:41:51

This must be very upsetting for you, but it's very refreshing to hear a Mum in this situation wanting to work through the problem rather than make excuses or deny the behaviour.

It's good you're able to talk openly with the girls Mum. Keep in close contact with her and let your dd know you are doing this. Also let you dd know how sad this makes you feel and how sorry you feel for the little girl.

She is only 5. I'm sure with the help of such supportive parents this faze will pass quickly.

Longtalljosie Thu 19-Aug-10 08:27:39

"they feel that my daughter is a very popular girl who likes to lead"

Yes but I think that's one of the fundamental misunderstandings teachers have. They like to think that they would be aware of who was exhibiting that sort of behaviour, and that they wouldn't approve. But actually, the people who tend to bully do tend to be attractive, confident characters. They're confident because they know they're on top - and that confidence is attractive - to teachers as well as to other pupils.

Children learn at school that popularity is currency - and power. And they test that power - to the detriment of those who don't have it.

I think the best thing you can do is really work on her empathy skills. Talk her through what she's saying, and ask her to tell you what the person she's talking to feels like.

highlandspringerdog Wed 25-Aug-10 14:34:58

I am so impressed that you are posting this on here. So many parents would look for any excuse not to accept wrong doing in their own child - to the detriment of everyone, including their own child.

That is bullying in my view yes, and the response from the school seems absolutely classic. But you are fantastic the way you are taking action with your daughter yourself, I think posters above are right, it is all about empathy, and using her little sister as an example is really good.

Well done.

Oblomov Wed 25-Aug-10 14:47:43

Good for you OP. Please don't think any less of yourself.
You will need to delve a bit further and find out what is going on in your daughters head to make her think it is o.k. to speak to this girl this way.

what is she actually saying to her ? tell us. however bad it is, it will give us more info.
does your dd really not like her ? is she jealous of her ? is it that she actually wants the other girl to be her BEST friend and th eother girl is not interested ?
I don't know which if any of those it is. but when you think about it, your children, it is normally quite simplistic.

maybe you will have to change your tact/style of questioning in order to get this info out of her. hard.

come back to us.

Oblomov Wed 25-Aug-10 14:52:36

rather than use the 'how would your sister feel', try it on her. what hurts her ?
say, how would YOU feel if (name of someone she really values) said a/b/c.

Sounds like she is a leader, but she needs to appreciate that that comes with responsibilities too. good grief, stop myself, we are talking 5 year olds here ! no seriously, if she is a natural leader, then great. but she has to learn how to manage that, direct the group, but in a loving/carign way. else she will soon lose thta leader status, and it would be harder to re-build relationships once damager is done.
all this in relation to 5 yr olds not 33 year olds, if you see what i mean !!!!

Oblomov Wed 25-Aug-10 14:56:57

children work out who is top dog, within weeks of reception. they all want to be mates with top dog. ds1 did. his top dog was and is a lovely boy. now it has all calmed down a bit in year 1, which ds1 has just finished.

Conundrumish Fri 08-Oct-10 09:22:27

I wouldn't use her sister as an example either as she very likely has confused feelings about a younger sister anyway (loves her but maybe feeling pushed out by new baby etc).

SweetBeadieRussell Fri 08-Oct-10 10:12:57

If it was my dd (who's 4.6) I would start by asking how she would feel if I said these things to her. I've tried this approach in the past (when she has called other children 'ugly' etc, not in their presence but to me, at home). i've tried to get her to see that everyone is unique and so 'different' to her, but that that's great because it makes the world a more interesting place ('how boring would it be if we were all the same?').

I've told her many times that being kind and gentle to others is much more important than being 'beautiful' (she's a princessy kind of girl), and pointed out how kind Cinderella is, and how unkind her stepmother is, and used storybook things like that which are on her level. I find I have to repeat myself endlessly but eventually things start to sink in.

Kezzaw29 Wed 15-Mar-17 18:02:44

My son is 5 and had not the best start of his early years. He is under Social care and been back with myself for just over a year. However at school he is biting other children and has this please myself attitude at school and at home. I blame myself for what he has been through how can I help him I don't want to loose my little boy. I am scared that Social services take him off me because of his behaviour as it has got bad and quite serious on 2 occasions. Please can anyone help me

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