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4 year old is being bullied - what to do?

(20 Posts)
2under2 Mon 24-Nov-03 16:50:09

I could really do with some input on this please - my 4 year old dd started reception class in September. She goes to a tiny rural RC school - in her year are three other children, two girls and one boy. One of the girls is her best friend from nursery. Dd is a very sweet-natured little girl (of course I am biased , but this is the teacher's opinion, too) and her 'best friend' (bf) is a bossy little madam with a nasty streak. Over the past few weeks/months dd has been increasingly upset over how her bf treats her - apparently she daily threatens to kick dd, tells her that she is not allowed to play with her, and all the usual nastiness that some little girls seem to come up with. the bf also gets the other girl in their year involved in this game of being horrible to dd.
I finally spoke to their teacher about it last week who told me that it'd been going on for weeks and that they're always at it! She said that most of the time dd doesn't even realize that bf is being nasty to her. I told her that dd has been very upset about all this lately, but dd's teacher said that there is little she can do about bf's behaviour. She said something along the lines of 'You occasionally get girls like that and there is not much the school can do'. She does try to swap them round when they work in pairs etc but is unable to do much about the breaktime nastiness.
Today bf and the other girl in their year spent the break times whispering and running away from dd, telling her that she wasn't allowed to play with them and was never allowed to come to their houses to play after school. Dd spent her lunch break sitting under a tree by herself.
Nevertheless, dd proclaims that she loves her bf and is dying to go to her house to play. She has however started having more nightmares, the most recent one being about something horrible happening to her at school and nobody caring.
Dh wants to move dd to a different school (we are lucky in that there are plenty of good primary schools around) - I am thinking along the same lines, on the other hand I don't want to overreact. I think dd would adjust well to moving (she's friendly and sociable) but I am worried that things might not be as bad as they sound - no way of finding out though! I suppose I should talk to bf's mother - we get on well - but am too much of a coward to tell someone that her daughter is a bully, plus, knowing her, it wouldn't make any difference as she'd just laugh it off. Opinions, please!

ks Mon 24-Nov-03 16:58:49

Message withdrawn

2under2 Mon 24-Nov-03 17:22:55

ks, they've not spoken to the mother. Also, dd's teacher didn't seem to consider it much of a problem and said that dd seemed happy most of the time and little girls can be like this. I've lost faith in them though as there have been other instances when they have obviously not picked up on certain stuff.
I think I'll push the school to speak to the mother about this?! Just not sure that it'll help.

Clarinet60 Mon 24-Nov-03 17:32:04

It doesn't sound very promising, does it?
I don't think the school should be ignoring this and I disagree that there is nothing they can do about it. The child can be spoken to and told not to be so nasty, for a start. She can be made aware that she is being monitored.
For heaven's sake, if the child were being rude to her teacher on a daily basis, it would soon be dealt with!
TBH, my approach won't be popular, but if the mother is as lax as you say, I would invite the child for tea and give her a stern talking to. It should be easy to convince a 4 yr old that you are an all powerful mummy who knows what is going on at all times, even behind closed doors.

sobernow Mon 24-Nov-03 18:20:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marialuisa Mon 24-Nov-03 18:20:57

I'd be a bit wooried by the teacher's approach. Have you made it clear how badly this is upsetting your DD? TBH this sort of thing is one of the resaons i'm wary of very small schools. I know kids have to learn to deal with all sorts of behaviour but this girl sounds mean, and knowingly mean. no great advice, except perhaps to tackle the teacher again, and be completely honest about waht's happening. I tgink kids can appear happy to staff when they're not, esp if they're not the sort of kid to kick up a fuss, obviouly mope etc..

codswallop Mon 24-Nov-03 18:30:24

this seems to be happening between someof the girls at dsses school too

is it a "finding my bf" kind of ritual? - I remmeber things like that happening when I was aty school - sometimes to do with me sometimes not

lou33 Mon 24-Nov-03 19:10:03

From my own experience of bullying and upset children, I would go back to the teacher. Tell her that whatever her own opinions of the matter, it is clearly upsetting your daughter, and that you insist she deals with it using their anti bullying policy. She may not think it important, but then it isn't happening to her, and she is seeing it through an adult's eyes. Do you know the mother of this girl? Is it possible you could talk to her as well, and say that there seems to be a bit of a problem? I think on the whole, most parents would be horrified if they thought their child was upsetting another one, and be quick to take steps to stop it. I know I would. Good luck in getting this resolved.

adell Mon 24-Nov-03 19:19:17

This is very close to my heart at the moment. My DD is also 4 and just started reception and is having problems with her bf. I get on well with her Mum who is mortified by her daughters behaviour and we seem to be sorting it out.I'm quite shocked by the teacher's attitude to the situation, I can't believe in a school of that size they can't deal with the situation. I think if she's having nightmares then it is a big issue and the school really must do something about it.

When DD had a really bad nightmare whilst still at nursery, one of the teachers suggested a dreamcatcher. I bought a kit and we made it together and had a long talk about how it works. I told her that all the dreams get caught in the sticky net, the good ones slide down the ribbons so she can dream them and the bad ones get destroyed by the moon and the sun. It worked brilliantly - when she had another one ages later we told her it needed some new feather, stuck them in and have been fine again.

On the topic of dealing with the other child I was most suprised when DH said recently that when he was bullied at school his Mum started helping at the local swimming lessons and the problem was quickly solved - I'll never look at her in quite the same light from now on!

janh Mon 24-Nov-03 21:16:11

God, is 3 a bad number or what? 2under2, I would be loth to mention it to Madam's mother too. Tiny village schools can be wonderful but with a personality like this involved where can a child turn for relief?
Agree that moving schools would be a bit of an over-reaction but OTOH, given the numbers, this could go on - on and off - right through primary school. I think you could diplomatically mention to the teacher that if this goes on you will have to consider moving DD - which might concentrate her mind a bit, tiny schools can't really afford to lose pupils (they need the money) so she might pay more attention to what's going on.

Presumably the children are in a class with older ones? Might your DD be able to find a better friend with them?

2under2 Mon 24-Nov-03 21:40:26

thanks for the input - just a quick update, I spoke to the mother on the phone tonight after dd told me some more 'gems' that her bf had come out with today. Bf's mum sounded pretty baffled and horrified. I tried to be diplomatic and am hoping that bf will have had a bit of a talking to tonight. I'll also talk to dd's teacher again and let her know about the nightmares. I'm so disappointed with the school's reaction - we chose this school because of it's supposedly excellent pastoral care, so they better pull their socks up a bit. Dd asked dh at tea time if he could come over to school during breaks to play with her now that bf and other little girl won't.

suedonim Mon 24-Nov-03 22:49:11

I'm shocked at this, 2under2, as my 7yo dd also goes to a tiny two teacher school (30 pupils in P1-7). She had a problems with 'clubs' being formed at school recently, both factions wanting her in their club and threatening bad things would befall her if she didn't join. I spoke to her teacher and it was dealt with firmly next morning in the form of a talk about no groups being allowed at school, but without any child being blamed and the whole thing has blown over.

I really think your dd's teacher is not doing her duty, tbh. It's rubbish to say there is nothing the school can do. Don't they supervise play and step in at appropriate times? Ime experience, in small schools teachers know their pupils very well indeed and along with the small numbers are able to stop trouble much more easily. Dd's teachers knew who the culprits were before I'd even said their names! Dd's teacher does have more of a motive, I guess, as her own 16yo dd, has been the victim of bulling herself, so she knows just have awful it can be.

I hope this is soon sorted out and your little one can be happy at school again. Best wishes.

suedonim Mon 24-Nov-03 22:49:38

I'm shocked at this, 2under2, as my 7yo dd also goes to a tiny two teacher school (30 pupils in P1-7). She had a problems with 'clubs' being formed at school recently, both factions wanting her in their club and threatening bad things would befall her if she didn't join. I spoke to her teacher and it was dealt with firmly next morning in the form of a talk about no groups being allowed at school, but without any child being blamed and the whole thing has blown over.

I really think your dd's teacher is not doing her duty, tbh. It's rubbish to say there is nothing the school can do. Don't they supervise play and step in at appropriate times? Ime experience, in small schools teachers know their pupils very well indeed and along with the small numbers are able to stop trouble much more easily. Dd's teachers knew who the culprits were before I'd even said their names! Dd's teacher does have more of a motive, I guess, as her own 16yo dd, has been the victim of bulling herself, so she knows just have awful it can be.

I hope this is soon sorted out and your little one can be happy at school again. Best wishes.

suedonim Mon 24-Nov-03 22:50:43

I'm shocked at this, 2under2, as my 7yo dd also goes to a tiny two teacher school (30 pupils in P1-7). She had a problems with 'clubs' being formed at school recently, both factions wanting her in their club and threatening bad things would befall her if she didn't join. I spoke to her teacher and it was dealt with firmly next morning in the form of a talk about no groups being allowed at school, but without any child being blamed and the whole thing has blown over.

I really think your dd's teacher is not doing her duty, tbh. It's rubbish to say there is nothing the school can do. Don't they supervise play and step in at appropriate times? Ime experience, in small schools teachers know their pupils very well indeed and along with the small numbers are able to stop trouble much more easily. Dd's teachers knew who the culprits were before I'd even said their names! Dd's teacher does have more of a motive, I guess, as her own 16yo dd, has been the victim of bulling herself, so she knows just have awful it can be.

I hope this is soon sorted out and your little one can be happy at school again. Best wishes.

suedonim Mon 24-Nov-03 22:56:17

Oh dear, sorry, folks...... :-(

robinw Tue 25-Nov-03 07:29:05

message withdrawn

codswallop Tue 25-Nov-03 08:26:18

ds1 s school (admittedly very innovative) has playground buddies who patrol the playground in yellow hats and look after those who have no one to play wiht or report squabbles to the staff.

there is also a friendship corner bench where kids can just sit and chat wihtout the need to maraud around theplace in gangs.

seems to work - wonder if your school could take this on?

maybe you or dh could be a governor and get a good nose in at whats going on?

Batters Tue 25-Nov-03 09:40:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SoupDragon Tue 25-Nov-03 09:42:06

With 3 girls in the year, I suspect there are always going to be problems. There will always be one who is the odd one out. I hope you can get this sorted out quickly 2u2.

suedonim Tue 25-Nov-03 11:07:11

That may not necessarily be the case, SoupD. In dd's school all the Primaries play (and work) together, they don't restrict themselves to their own age or gender groups, which is one of the huge benefits, I believe. Dd took a bad tumble in P1 and it was a P6 or 7 boy who rushed over to pick her up and dust her down.

But ime, the atmosphere of a school does come from the top, and this teacher may just be a rotten apple, which is a shame for everyone.

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