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Can't really believe I'm typing this but I'm slowly getting the sense that my DD is the victim of a 4.5yo bully

(7 Posts)
JessiCake Wed 24-May-17 20:33:27

I never thought children as young as this could BE bullies.

But honestly, making a note of everything that's been happening with my DD and this one particular girl, it's going that way.

It started out, a few months ago, as what I think of as much more normal tricky interactions between kids this age (though tbf until it happened, I didn't think even this would start this young, and also tbf it is ONLY this one particular girl doing this, none of the others): 'You're not my friend anymore,' 'You can't play with me,' 'I don't like you.' DD would come home pretty sad every few days saying that this girl (will call her Rosie) was saying these things to her. They had been friends. DD not managing it very well, she's an emotional sort and not able to just shrug it off.

In the last couple of weeks, Rosie's behaviour has subtly altered. Last week she started telling DD she wasn't allowed to play with not only her but also others. Also last week she shoved DD out of the way at circle time and wouldn't let her sit back down. This week so far, she's apparently mocked DD for 'always crying for mummy, like a big baby' and laughed at her (the only one in the class to do so, I gather) when DD tripped and fell in a flowerbed in the nursery garden.

DD is starting to say she is 'scared.'

I have already mentioned this is a very generic way, no names mentioned (I am pretty sure that the staff will know exactly who I'm referring to, there have been 2 other documented incidents of physical bullying - pushing, pinching) with other kids that I know of) and they let me know that they understood and that they would do some stuff at circle time about kindness etc.

The latest stuff is trickier. I do NOT want to be 'that parent' going in and naming names and I do realise that there's a huge extent to which this might all just sound like argy-bargy between little girls.

I've heard the tone Rosie quite often talks to other kids in, however, and it is - honestly - very aggressive and sneering. My DD adores this girl (used to, at least, and I think still does) and has absolutely no incentive to exaggerate any of this.

It's all complicated - I wanted to leave this to the end - by the fact that I have been extremely good friends with Rosie's mum for the last 5 years.

I have delicately broached, with the mum, the fact that my DD has bene worried that Rosie doesn't like her any more and the mum is astounded, speaks to Rosie and comes back with, 'No, she adores her!'

Part of me - the part that's getting fed up - wants to tell Rosie's mum what her daughter is saying when her mum isn't around, but I don't think that would be at all helpful. And I really, really love her mum and value her friendship. Mum thinks Rosie can be a handful, but I think has no idea of the sorts of things that are said.

And what about nursery? (actually pre-school). Should they be more 'on' this? Rosie is pretty smart, I think, and only says most of these things when staff can't hear. Though I know she was mildly told off for laughing at DD. The comment about DD being a big baby elicited a response from a staff member, as DD told it, but obviously it's not enough to make her think twice.

I know they're only tiny children but DD is getting quite wound up about it - she keeps saying she's confused because she thought Rosie liked her, and now, as I say, she is adding that she is scared.

I tell her to avoid Rosie but - as they are/were friends, I think DD seeks her out, and I am pretty sure Rosie seeks her out too.

Sorry, this has been really much longer than I intended but I just wanted to ask if anyone has any advice, either for how to broach this if at all with pre-school and if at all with her mum. Part of me thinks that they only have half a term left so why bother, but also I can tell this is really blighting DD's experience there now and I don't want her to feel she's unsupported.

Or should I just carry on, as I am doing, telling her that Rosie's behaviour isn't kind and that she must find someone else to play with and also tell Rosie - loudly - that her feelings are hurt if she says mean things.

I don't think it's really sinking in, cos she's only 4.

No other issues at all with any of the other kids at pre-school and DD is generally described by staff and other mums as a sweetie, btw. At home she can be a bit of a nightmare - primadonna, easily frustrated - but I have no reason to believe her behaviour at pre-school is bad. What I mean is, I don't think for a single minute that she is provoking Rosie or needling her herself.

JessiCake Wed 24-May-17 20:59:12

For clarity: reading my post back I wouldn't want to label a little child as 'a bully'. So please just read it as my saying that she seems to be showing signs of bullying behaviour.

Mamabear12 Wed 24-May-17 22:26:23

Perhaps teach your DD to stand up for herself? There will be more bully's later in life and I think parents need to teach their kids to defend themselves a bit or later in life they could get walked all over. Just explain these behaviours are wrong and if a child says or does something wrong, either tell the teacher or ignore the child or help her come up with responses back for certain situations. For example today this boy was being obnoxious to my DD and her friend and not being nice and saying mean things (like you are poopoo head etc). The girls came to me and asked what to do, as it was upsetting them. I said go tell the boy you do not care, stop being so silly and then stay away. It worked. The boy then left them alone. And if the girl is being outright mean, go tell the mother or talk to the girl. If I found out a girl was saying to other kids not to play w my DD I would either speak to the mom or child directly. I would just say to the child "it's not nice to exclude others, if you do no t want to play with someone, fine, but do not tell others not,to play with ,my DD. If I hear about this again, I'll have to speak to the teacher and your mother."

Highlove Thu 25-May-17 13:27:01

I've been through this recently. My DD and her peers are a year younger than yours so it's a bit less sophisticated, but the same sort of stuff. I was also similarly shocked that it started so young.

I did name names with nursery. I was very uncomfortable about doing so (which I said to them) but felt I had to. Nursery have been great about doing more group and circle time and also focussing on friendship and kindness. They're also keeping an eye on things during free play. And I trust them to be discreet - if they have to tell the child's parents they won't say who the child has been mean to. (I know from when DD was bitten at nursery once and also when - blush - she whacked another child with a toy that they never give names or details that would disclose.)

DD's not mentioned it again although it's definitely had an impact on her confidence at nursery. It's so tricky isn't it; I was desperately upset on her behalf but didn't want to let on.

I have to say I disagree strongly with the advice from the PP. I don't think teaching young kids to just get tougher, rather than actually tackling bully behaviours, is the right answer. And it's also really not ok for you to speak to the child direct, unless you actually witness something - I'm sure you weren't planning to! But bad advice, IMO.

CharlieB161 Wed 31-May-17 08:01:34

I think mamabear12 has a good point about empowering your (sounds like really lovely) dd to know how to assertively respond to her friend. It sounds like the friend has some strengths and is not 'all bad' (your dd clearly sees something positive in her) and the pair clearly like each other much of the time and like to play together, so learning how to navigate the relationship is important. Giving your dd tips such as 'tell the staff when she makes you feel sad', or 'tell her not to be mean as it's not nice' are good bits of advice. We are not all wonderful all of the time! Especially at age 4!! So learning to navigate around mean comments is a good skill to learn, and I suspect even though your lovely little one rarely says mean things, she probably has and will on the odd occasion. It's a normal part of development. I feel for you that you have to see your dd feeling upset by her friends mean remarks, however, teaching her she (and you) can cope with these mean things, and teaching her the meanness is not about her, but about the person saying the comments, really is useful. If you don't make it in to a big thing, your little one won't either. It's tricky when you r friends with the mum, but I'm sure if mum is nice, this little girl will get through her 4 year old stage and her strengths will shine through again in good time smile good luck

Slurrycart Wed 31-May-17 08:17:09

Sorry your dd is going through this.

Suggest watching the secret life of 4 and 5 year olds! It's an eye opener!

The more dominant "bullying" dc eventually have to learn to integrate or they are rejected by the group. The programme showed examples of this and although it took a while for the "bullying" child to learn and adapt their behaviour, but they generally did so.

In the meantime, I would definitely mention it more forcefully to the school (tell them your little girl said she is "scared"). Definitely do some assertiveness role play with your child as suggested by pps.

Personally, I wouldn't say anything to the mother. I have experienced similar situations to this and it's a minefield. I would leave it to the nursery to have a word with Rosie's parents. If things don't improve, I would cool the friendship (with the child and the mother) for a while.

MiaowTheCat Wed 31-May-17 09:51:37

I'd be bloody well telling nursery if it's still going on!

We have similar with 5 year old DD1... child being really sneery and unpleasant towards her (unless she's got something the child wants obviously) and in the end I just openly told DD1 that, while I expected her to be kind and polite to this child, I didn't want her trying to get her to be friends as DD1 was desperately trying to develop a friendship for this kid to behave in a pretty damned awful manner in return. Started adjusting timings for when we arrived and left for the event the pair of them were together to reduce the time they were together as well and put a bit of distance between them.

It's helped a lot. Mum is genuinely oblivious to her kid's behaviour and I'd like to say on the civil and friendly side of things so I've just left it at that for now.

The other child who has been horrid towards DD1 (DD1 isn't the most socially savvy kid... but doesn't deserve to be told things like her hair looks horrible and stuff) I've told DD1 to say very loudly (thankfully DD1 is good at loud!) that "I don't like you saying that to me - it's not very kind" to draw attention to the little whispered comments and stop them. That seems to be working with that particular situation as well when it's really clearly intended to be unkind comments being done at points where adults aren't going to be able to hear them.

Poor DD1 - she's had a pretty horrid year from a couple of other kids - I'll get shot down on here from the "little kids can do no wrong" excuse brigade but at least the second child I'd describe as behaving in the way you'd expect a bully to.

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