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Do you think a 5yo can be accused of bullying?

(29 Posts)
cheeset Wed 03-Oct-07 12:18:53

I would appreciate peoples op on this.

Last week, a mother in my dd class went into to see the head with her husband to complain about another girl also in the class, bullying their daughter.

The head then called the other mother in to discuss the situation and was offered support with her dd. Her dd had problems last term with her behaviour in class by swearing and generally being a bit difficult.

The head also told the other mother that the parents had asked her to move her dd into another class(which she refused) and when the head suggested they get the girls together to sort this situation out, the parents refused. The head said that the parents needed to accept some responsibility for their daughters behaviour in that she was a bit bossy.

As far as I'm aware,the teacher has been left to monitor the girls in class on a day to day basis.

I know both the mothers as we used to all stand and chat before this and I feel as though I am piggy in the middle(but I know this isn't about me).

I know the two girls had a problem once before and the mothers sorted it out between them. She also asked the mother to tell her if this ever happend again.

I have had a few problems with the girls accused of bullying in the last year.She used to come over to my house for a play and would say nasty thing to my dd like'my mummy doesn't like you' and would be spiteful and bossy.I put a stop to her coming over for a play and my dd doesn't tend to play with her as sch very much.

I get on very well with the mother and she knows what her dd is like-coping on a day to day basis with her daughters behaviour but she raises the following points;

1.She believes that it's a problem
with 'social interaction' at 5yo and
not 'bullying'

2.Too heavy handed of the parents booking an
appt to see the head(why didnt the mother
have another word with her?)

3.Discraceful asking the head to move her
child out of the class.

4.Refusing to get the girls together to sort
it out.


The other girl is bi-lingual and one of the oldest in the class, would this be a factor also?

NotADragonOfSoup Wed 03-Oct-07 12:26:58

1) I think a 5 yo probably can bully although it may have begun as "interaction" problems. It depends what form the bullying takes

2) If there had been problems before which have not been sorted, I do not think it heavy handed to speak to the head.The assumption being that the previous "word with the mother" did not work.

3) Which child was this about? Moving the bully or the victim? I don't think it's disgraceful either way as the mother wants to protect her child.

4) I wouldn't make my child get together with their bully to sort things out if they did not want to. Would you want to spend time with someone who's being nasty to you?

iota Wed 03-Oct-07 12:30:19

I think that it was right to involve the school as the problem is taking place in the classroom

cheeset Wed 03-Oct-07 12:52:47

NotADragonOfSoup, It's so difficult for me because I am split down the middle and I want to support both of them. It's really uncomfortable now in our group of mums when we meet at school now this has happened.

The 'victims' parents asked for the 'bully'-as I will call them (as a reference, not my personal op) to be moved into another class.

The 'victim' and the 'bully' are both strong characters, my dd doesnt play with either of them at school.

The 'bully's' mother felt as though the 'victims' mother was close enough to tell her if her dd was making her dd unhappy and if she'd have known about it she could have sorted it out sooner.

I just think at this age you can get them together and try and play more nicely?

23balloons Wed 03-Oct-07 13:01:23

There are definitely some 5 year old bullies at ds's school. I mean boys who repeatedly target others and kick, hit, punch and push. Unfortunately they seem to have very little discipline at home and their parents do not want to encourage their children to behave.

The worst in ds's school have left another school usually in Reception/y1 and come to this school blaming the other school for the childs problems and now our school has to cope with them.

What exactly did the 'bully' do to cause the victim's parent to class her as a bully?

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Wed 03-Oct-07 13:01:52

I think you have to say to the mothers that you like them both, don't want to lose either of them as friends so have to stay out of this as you can't and won't take sides.

(couldn't think of another way to refer to them other than bully and victim! )

MyTwopenceworth Wed 03-Oct-07 13:08:51

It is bullying if the person it is happening to feels bullied.

The bully doesn't get to say whether it is or not!

The child being targeted is unhappy. End of story. Whatever is going on with this child is not her victim's problem.

The mother needs to pull her head out of the sandpit and deal with her daughter.

Does the child have to start giving wedgies, stealing lunch money or sending death-texts before she is sorted out?

The mother should stop trying to turn things round to give a bit of the victim status to her child and see that this is her daughter's doing and so it is her daughter that needs sorting - a good talking to/punishment/moving to another class/whatever.

I just wish some parents would stop making excuses for their kids and DEAL with unacceptable behaviour.

MeMySonAndI Wed 03-Oct-07 13:09:56

Oh well, obviously, the "victim"'s mother could have told the "bully"'s mother... But to be honest, there are so many mums who can't be bothered about their children's disgraceful behaviour blaming it all in "children problems". The victim's mother has spoken to her on the past and obviously, the problem continues. So, what else they could do? ask the school to keep an eye on them to prevent more problems which sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Besides, it is not exactly as if you can have an eye on your child when she is at the school were behaviour can't be seen or corrected immediatly by the mother.

I think that rather than asking the question if the child could be a bully, you should be askink yourself what on Earth that girl did for the parents of the victim to be forced to act on that way.

cheeset Wed 03-Oct-07 13:17:18

Yes your quite right, I should stay out of it.

If I'm really honest with myself, I want to tell both of them that I would of done things differently, but then we are all different aren't we. Why should my way be the right way?

I would be more disciplined with the 'bully'(not my personal opinion of the child), get her behaviour sorted out, I know the mother has problems there.

Suggest to the 'victims'(not my personal opinion of the child)mother, that maybe she needs more help with social interaction as bi-lingual(do they need more help?).

Suggest to the parents that they talk things through with each other before letting it get to this stage, make the girls aware that they are making each other unhappy- name calling and 'i'm not playing with you' comments.

We the parents, are going to be in that playground for the next bl 6 years together-surely it could have been handled better?

Anyway, got that off my chest and I'm going to keep out of it, my op but their problem to sort out.smile

MeMySonAndI Wed 03-Oct-07 13:28:54

What's the problem with being bilingual? can't she understand the bully's swearing?

TripletEm Wed 03-Oct-07 13:34:09

I had the same problem with my dx3. They were all being 'bullied' by one boy in particular and the school decided that it was best to concentrate more on him than making my children feel safe at school,they were starting to get upset at school and wouldn't play outside so they stayed in whilst the 'bully' played outside. I thought that it would be best if I invited this boy around for tea so that I could find out what was going on,but the school advised me against it as he had problems at home and they didn't think that it would be a good idea,so talking to the mother was out of the question for me.
Couldn't you all have a 'playday' together and then maybe the mother of the 'bully' might be able to see how her daughter interracts with the others and understand where the other mother is coming from?
i know that it's hard to see where the 'bully' is coming from,but perhaps she is unhappy and dosen't feel like she fits in at school for whatever reasons and is just expressing herself in the wrong way.

cheeset Wed 03-Oct-07 13:35:30

MeMySonAndI, smile

I put my comment in brackets about the bilingual bit because isn't social interaction something you learn and if you have two different languages operating alongside each other doesn't it become a bit confusing?

Clearly i'm not an expert but that was mentioned by the other mother. Just seeing if mners knew if this would be relevant?

23balloons Wed 03-Oct-07 13:37:01

I personally can't see what being bilingual has to do with it. There are several korean children in my son's school who are all bilingual and they are fine.

dustystar Wed 03-Oct-07 13:37:04

I just wanted to add that I firmly believe that children are capable of bullying at this age and that the parents need to put a stop to it. BUT just beacuse a child (particularly a boy ) pushes, punches and kicks doesn't necessarily make them a bully as such. MY ds behaves like this and I assure you it is not from a lack of love or discipline at home but becuase he has SN. His old school made things much worse by the srategies they used with him so i moved him to the school he is at now and they are fab. However it isn't obvious to others that he has SN and i am sure plenty of parents must think he is a little thug but he isn't. He gets lots of support at home and at school and has improved loads but he still has difficulties in this area. Naturally the other children don't like it and i don't blame them but he is not a bully. Before you judge a child like this - or their parents- remember that not everything is as clear cut as it seems.

dustystar Wed 03-Oct-07 13:38:31

Sorry cheeset - rant overblush

I think you are right to keep out of itsmile

23balloons Wed 03-Oct-07 13:43:23

dustystar the children I am referring to at ds's school do not have special needs. Some of them are in my ds's class and I think I would know if they had special needs. Regarding a boy who repeatedly hits people who joined in Reception - his mother told people he left his last school because 'he' was bullied. However another parent knows somebody working at the school and he was asked to leave because of his behaviour. Said boy asked my then y1 son what is your name and then proceded to punch him in the face as well as several girls in the class. Why should well behaved children have to put up with this at school?

cheeset Wed 03-Oct-07 13:47:01

TripletEm, the 'bully's'(hate calling a 5yo this name and not my po just as a reference in a sentence to establish who's who)mother knows her dd is an anxious child and feels the break-up of her marriage and no contact from her father has impacted on her dd's behaviour.

Her mother said that last year she went into school with party invitions and came home really upset. She hadn't invited the bi-lingual child but she was hassled by her to invite her.

A tough one isn't it but your suggestion to get them together is a good idea but I don't think the mums would now, they would probably feel a bit awkward.

dustystar Wed 03-Oct-07 13:50:51

They shouldn't 23balloons and I hope the school is dealing with it. However how would you know if some of these children have SN if no-one has told you. With things like ASD and ADHD its not always easy to tell. Lots of parents prefer to keep quiet about their childrens SN as they worry how others will view them. I am very open about DS's for the same reason - I'd rather people realised that he has SN than dismissed him as a thug with no parental discipline. the trouble is that there are plenty of little thugs with no parental discipline too and it is very hard to tell the difference between those children and the ones with SN as the behaviour is very similar.

dustystar Wed 03-Oct-07 13:54:39

The child you refer to may well be a thug but when ds pushes and hits he is usually trying to be friends. Its not a successful technique and lots of work has been done at home and at school on how to play with friends but he still does it. Its really not malicious although it looks that way from the outside and he is never allowed to get away with it.

TripletEm Wed 03-Oct-07 13:59:12

Yeah, it does seem to be getting out of hand a little bit,it's such a shame how it has ended up.It would have been so much easier if they had just nipped it in the bud, but I guess the mother thought that she was doing the right thing by informing the school,it's just a shame that the school seems to have let both of the children down. I can see why the mothers are clashing you know what it's like if you want to defend your child and with all of the upset in 'b's' life it must be quite emotional for everybody too. If you want to stay out of it in case it all goes wrong,why not hint at one of the mothers how nice it would be if the children could have a 'playday' and they might go with the idea themselves. Or if you are feeling super brave meet up with them somewhere away from the school and just say that you are both good friends of mine and i hate to see you two upset,let's sort it out!! Of course you know them best and if you think it would cause a riot,probably best not toogrinand maybe just try to stay as neutral as possible,don't make the mistake of saying anything that they could use to score points with each other if an argument started. I've been there,done that!!!wink

23balloons Wed 03-Oct-07 14:06:33

cheeset sorry for going off on a tangent maybe you should just try to not get involved after all if one didn't want the other at her bday they are obviously not very good friends.

dustystar it must be very difficult for you I hope all of your hard work pays off with your son. Children do need guidance and if the parent's don't give it the child will often become out of control. My other son has a SN boy in his class but nobody knows what his SN are other than he has 2 pt assistants assigned just to him. Ds2 likes him and calls him a friend, he doesn't have bad behaviour as far as I know I do think if the parents knew what his needs were then they could be more supportive and help their children to help the boy but nobody has mentioned what is wrong with the boy and it feels wrong to ask.

Blandmum Wed 03-Oct-07 14:12:26

I think that some children can bully others at a young age. At that age I don't feel that the child can be held fully responsible for their actions. However early intervention is the best thing that can happen to sort out this sort of behaviour before it becomes entrenched in the child.

My dd was bullied at around 6, when the chance came for dd and the 'bully' to move classes I requested that they should be split up. Many years down the line I have discovered, from conversations with other mothers, that I was not the only parent to do this and that dd was not the only victim.

If the school handles this well then both the 'bully' and the 'victim' will benefit.

cheeset Wed 03-Oct-07 14:27:53

Triple and 23, thanks for your support and advise, much appreciatedsmile

I love MN!

Hermit Thu 04-Oct-07 10:24:50

I am surprised at how many of you would approach the other parent. I believe that problems in school should be sorted out in and by the school, and would be pushing that approach in this case.
If I see a child misbehaving however, after school or in my house I will say something.
I think I get on quite well with most of the parents in my dc's classes, but still wqhen my ds had a problem with one of their sons, i went through the school and it was all sorted with no hard feelings.

MrsTittleMouse Thu 04-Oct-07 11:04:09

I was bullied at the age of 4 by two girls the same age. One was a very spiteful little girl (always was, even when she grew up), the other was just carried along by a more forceful personality and I became friends with her a few years later. As well as physical things that were designed to look like "games" (she was mean, but she wasn't stupid), I would have psychological stuff too, she was a bit of a teacher's pet and would suck up to adults, but do nasty things once the adults were out of the room.
My parents approached the school, and it was definitely the right thing to do, as the teachers kept a close eye out in the playground and were able to sort out the behaviour as and when it happened (rather than rely on he said/she said, they could see what happened and deal with it directly). It worked out very well.

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