Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bullying Already? Really?

There's a little girl, Isabel, in Rachel's class at preschool. I don't know what her problem is, but back in January, Rachel told me that Isabel said "You're not funny" when Rachel was making goofy faces at her during circle time. After that, it became a regular thing for Isabel to say that to her, apparently.

I tried coaching Rachel on ways to respond and ignoring Isabel, but she persisted with the nastiness and, recently, got other kids to start saying it to Rachel, too. Rachel is a social girl and likes to be the center of attention, and she loves making people laugh. And much as she tries to pretend it doesn't bother her when someone is rude to her, it really does. So she's very bothered by this behavior.

Me? I'm pissed. When it was just Isabel involved and was obviously a problem that a nasty little girl had, I dealt with it between me and Rachel and hoped that it would blow over. Once I heard about the others, I talked with a friend who teaches the other preschool class at that school. She said she'd want to know about it if it were happening in her class, so I talked with Rachel's teacher.

The ironic thing is that, that very morning, she had caught two girls saying "You're not funny" to Rachel and assumed that the other girl was the instigator because she often does stuff like that to other kids. So it was good that she'd seen the behavior before I talked with her about it, since she knew exactly what I was talking about. She already spoken with the girls involved about treating others kindly and appropriate behavior.

A few class days passed and Rachel would tell me "Isabel didn't say anything not nice today." Well, now it sounds like it's starting back up again, and there's possibly another child involved with whom Rachel has been friends since she started at the school last January. Either they're being rude to that girl, or that girl is now also being rude to Rachel. There's some discrepancy in what Rachel's saying, so either she is not remembering correctly, or she didn't tell me that this other girl is now being rude to her, too.

I'm willing to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I've also been telling Rachel that it's okay to let her teachers know if people are saying mean things to her, since they aren't always saying them when a teacher is around to overhear and deal with it. But, frankly, I'm pissed that my child has become the target of bullies, and in preschool, no less. I just want to get in these kids' faces and tell them to back the crap off and leave my daughter alone. I know that Rachel needs to fight her own battles, but when it's 4 on 1 and it's ongoing behavior, how does a 4-year-old do that?

Some things that we wish we could tell Rachel to say in return:

  • "Isabel? More like Is-a-smell."
  • Isabutt
  • If they say "You're not funny," she could say "You are. Funny LOOKING."
Or some other rude, insulting comment. I know that returning rudeness for rudeness isn't the answer, much as the mother lion in me wants to just lash out and be hurtful to those who are hurting my child. I just really hope that the teacher is able to catch the behavior more often and deal with it seriously. If not and this continues, I think I'll have to ask for an official conference to discuss it and what can be done. I think Isabel's parents should be told about her behavior. I would hope they wouldn't condone it and would have conversations with her about how she needs to treat other kids.

So that's the sucky, frustrating situation we're in at the moment. It's upsetting to know that Rachel is being ostracized and insulted. I can't figure out why, unless it's because she tries too hard to get attention. It may get annoying, or other kids might be jealous of her social nature. Or maybe Isabel just decided one day "I'm going to pick on her because I feel like it/don't like her."

But it needs to stop. And it will, one way or another.

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