This morning in our house something strange happened and it really upset me to the point I sought solice in my fellow mummy bloggers and actually sat in the car on my way to the job centre and cried as I felt so uncontrollably upset for Roo.
I was bullied as a teenager, absolutely horrendously bullied. I had rocks and stones thrown at me, people made fun of my name, every class I attended throughout my GCSE year people would sing the BlackAdder theme tune at me. Kids can be incredibly cruel. I moved schools so many times over bullies, and it is behaviour I find abhorrent and intollerable at any age. I never want Roo to go through what I went through.
Imagine my shock and horror this morning to find my own daughter telling me she was a victim of toddler bullying.
Roo had been disobedient for most of this week. Generally petulant and acting up at things we usually have no trouble with, getting dressed, brushing teeth, having a wash – simple requests. Both myself and Daddy E knew that something had triggered it.
We just had to find out what.
This morning, after multiple requests to brush her teeth it was done the hard way which resulted in Roo getting upset. When she calmed down she was sitting on my knee and I asked her “Roo what’s making you so sad and naughty”…her little face crumpled and the words “my friends they say nasty things to me” came bumbling out her mouth.
These are the words I did not want to hear coming out of her mouth. She’s three and a half years old – how can kids form thoughts cognitively at this age and project them into words that could be directed to hurt their fellow playmates.
I gently prodded her for more information. “What did they say?” I asked, her response through sobs, breaths and tears was “they call me poo head and stinky when I have accident in my pants”. I stop and call Daddy E to listen. Again Roo repeats the same thing back and adds “I thought they were my friends”.
We look at her and say to her that the children are wrong and she is not those things, she is a beautiful girl and she must tell her pre-school workers when she hears them say these things.
To say this shocked me is a small understatement. I cannot believe that at pre-school we have kids of three years old bullying other kids. A number of things ran through my head that it must be my fault for placing her in pre-school with such a mixed group of kids, I should take her out and put her back in the gorgeous pre-school she was before as they would never have tolerated this, that I should pull her out completely and give up my dreams of being a teaching assistant and just be a mum.
Ultimately, I spoke to the head of the pre-school room and voiced my concerns…again. I have asked that the staff begin to reprimand children for using this phrase with other kids, surely it just cannot be restricted to being used on Roo and that I wanted it followed up with their parents and followed up with me.
After all, this behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated in my house if Roo called it to me so I am hoping that the other parents are teaching their children the same levels of respect and decency as I am teaching my daughter. The realisation that there are bullies in pre-school in something I was not expecting to deal with at this stage in my parenting adventure.
So what else can you do if you also find yourself in the same situation I did this morning?
Beating The Bully
- Talk to your child about what has happened. Make sure that your child knows that it is not acceptable to be bullied and that they are not the ones that are wrong here.
- Tell their teacher. If like Roo your child is young they may struggle to communicate. By telling the teacher they can look for signs of bullying and place the appropriate punishment on the child.
- Be sure you tell your child to stand up for themselves. We told Roo if this happens again don’t argue with them, walk away and find another friend to be with.
Surely, as adults we all have a duty to educate our children how not to say nasty and hurtful things to others? Isn’t it our responsibility to explain to them about how doing this hurts others?