Thanks for your input, everyone. This is the problem with a huge time difference…I go to sleep with no comments, and wake up with lots! Had I been awake, I would have stepped in to assure you that of course I will be letting the school know. In fact, I did talk to the teacher and her coach about half an hour after this all came out. Her teacher is horrified, and her coach is pissed. The coach cracked me up…she said she was going to teach her to use her low centre of gravity (did I mention that the nasty girl is a good foot taller?!) to really shove her back and knock her flat. snort.
So it wasn’t so much “Should I step in?” but rather “How serious is this, really?”. This is also compounded by the fact that my daughter really isn’t interested in telling this girl off. In fact, yesterday she willingly included her in her game (with a friend that she picked out! yay!)! I asked her how on earth L was going to know that she didn’t like being treated like that if she never tells her and if she lets her play with her whenever she asks. Her response was “She should know better. And if she doesn’t, it’s not my job to teach her.”. Ummm…okay. Not really my philosophy, but I guess that’s fair.
I had a chat with another parent at school, who gently pumped her child for information. She relayed that this girl bullies everyone in the class at various times, and you just have to ignore her…everyone knows that’s how she is. And that my daughter really likes reading in the library at lunchtime. She is actually willingly excluding herself, but everyone really likes her and would love to play with her if she wanted to. I can understand using the library as a defence…both against the bully and against the possibility of being rejected by her friends (who she perceives as being in BFF pairs).
Ah…primary school. The joy.
Now that I’ve done some contemplation, my question is: what exactly do I expect the school to do? What is a fair and reasonable request? What I WANT if for my child to be protected at all times. Which could only really be done by watching the nasty girl constantly. Is that reasonable (I doubt it)? Is that even possible? And is that really good for her anyway?
I’ve got a WWMTD moment, ladies.
My girl (year four this year, and we’re halfway through the year) has had a problem girl in her class for several years. We know that this girl is a problem. She’s just not nice. Actually, it’s worse. She’s nice sometimes and really nasty at other times…completely unpredictable. She gloms onto new girls and then discards them once they catch on to her capriciousness. She’s incredibly nasty at times..and this is one of them. However, it has always been just snotty comments and “I won’t be your friend” nonsense before. Now it seems to have escalated to hard thumps on the back, pulling hair out of ponytails, and nasty comments about “Well, you just shouldn’t be on the netball team then.”
This all came out this morning. My stoic daughter, who NEVER complains about this stuff, was sitting on my lap with tears in her eyes. I said “You know that L is like that. Stay away from her. And you can only be bullied if you let yourself be. You need to let her know that it’s not okay to treat you like that.” Then I asked her what her other friends do when this happens.
She told me that she reads during lunch because she doesn’t have anyone to play with. She has plenty of friends in the class (she is invited on playdates, she has lots of people to call on for after school fun), but the girls have paired off this year into BFF’s (her words). And according to her “Someone always gets left out when there’s three.”.
While she is telling me this, she begins pinching the inside of her arm. Hard. Hard enough to leave marks. I hold her hand and ask her why she’s doing that. “I dunno.” I ask her if she does that sort of thing at other times. No answer.
- Nasty girl bully is escalating and getting nastier. My girl won’t stand up to her and won’t ask for help.
- She doesn’t have a crew to protect her. Even though she has friends outside of school, the pairing off has left her alone during school. She is retreating into her book to save herself.
- Self harm starting??? Or is that an overreaction?
My real question is: is this all normal stuff? I know that a certain amount of conflict is actually good in the long run (according to psych books anyway). There is a nasty person in every school, and workplace. Often that nasty person is in a position of power over you. You have to learn to deal with that and protect yourself.
Friendship stuff….it comes and goes. Should I be worried that she doesn’t have a BFF? She’s not really the sort to obsess over one kid. She would rather hang out with a variety of people. But that preference means that she is without a buddy to help protect her.
Anyway…I’ve spoken to her teacher and her coach. I’ve hugged her and assured her that it will get better. I’ve told her that I had trouble in year four and five. I’ve reminded her that this nasty girl is leaving the school next year, and that the BFF’s will all be broken up and reformed.
So…MT’s…a worrying situation or just typical primary school girl nastiness that we all have to figure out eventually (with help and loving support, of course)?