Thursday, February 17, 2011

How do you protect your child from a bully?

As my child enters Grade 1 I never expected to be dealing with a bully.  But unfortunately this is not the first time, as Prep was no picnic either in this respect.

My beautiful little girl is intelligent, articulate and very confident.  She makes friends with everyone and takes anyone slightly disadvantaged under her wing.  So when the bullying started last year I was shocked to say the least.  Let me first disclose that I am over-protective, so whilst I wanted to march straight up to the teacher and demand to know why this behaviour was going on, I didn't.  I assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that it was reasonably harmless, just little girls asserting some authority, and it would be a great lesson for my daughter in dealing with this sort of behaviour.  So whilst we did have quite a few traumatic weeks, my husband and I tried to teach our daughter that bully's are best ignored and they will soon get tired of bullying someone who shows them no attention.  We also reiterated that these kids are not kids that she "needed" to be friends with no matter how much they undermined her confidence to get her attention.  It worked.  Instead of fighting back, so to speak, our girl ignored all comments and found new friends to play with.  Her little world regained stability and the rest of the year was great.

Grade 1, and into week three we have already had an incident.  Our girl's best friend drew her a lovely picture, to which some other little person promptly and without our girl's knowledge scrawled "I HATE YOU" on the back of the picture.  G has not been exposed to the word Hate and actually had no idea what it said, however at the moment she discovered this writing on the back of her precious picture, so did the teacher.  The picture was promptly ripped up by the teacher with the remark "We don't use those words in this class room".  Fantastic on the teacher stance of this sort of language.  However I am not sure the message quite got across in the classroom.  For one thing my daughter was very upset that she had lost her picture and secondly she was under the impression that the teacher though she had written the awful sentence.  A little explanation to G would have been nice, and perhaps a talk to the whole class about the behaviour being unacceptable.

I don't know..... what is the right way to handle these situations?  Teacher have such a hard job already, maybe this was the right way for the situation to be handled, maybe not.  I guess all I can do it try our methods and if they don't work, try something else.

We would love to hear your experiences and how you handled a bullying situation.  Any ideas are helpful.

Jen & Row

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