I never thought that my daughter would be bullied. She’s feisty and confident. She’d stand up to someone twice her age and size … or so I thought. But I was wrong because at the moment another seven-year-old girl is making her life miserable. My Nat is being bullied.
From a mamma’s point of view, it’s terrible to see the effect this is having on my daughter.
Gone is the confident (over-confident even) girl, instead she tells me she is ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ and ‘has no friends’. She cries every morning as we leave for school, telling me she’s sick and can’t go today. She has ulcers in her mouth and goes to the sick bay at school with sore tummy (classic stress signs in Nat). One of her teachers tells me she won’t take part in group work anymore. Yesterday she pretended she had forgotten her sunhat so she had to stay on the class veranda – being too scared to venture into the playground.
All of this because of the actions primarily, of one girl. It’s mostly words and manipulation. Girls can be M-E-A-N!
There have been grumblings between Nat and this girl throughout the year but I didn’t take it too seriously. As I said, my girl is feisty, and girls will be girls. We talked about appropriate ways to act, making good choices in friendships, and ways to resolve conflict. I figured it would settle, which it did for a while. And then it came back in force.
I’m so grateful Nat has been honest with me about this from the start and praised her for talking to me about the hard stuff. But even though she’s willing to talk, it’s still so hard to help her to understand that it’s not her fault and there’s nothing she has done to deserve this, that the fault actually lies in the bully – in the midst of it, with her self-esteem at an all time low, she can’t see it.
I pray with her and for her, and we pray for the bully. We role play ways for her to get away from the bully. Her brothers at the same school know what’s going on and she does run to them (she’s never been more grateful for big brothers!). We’ve also come up with a list of ‘safe’ friends she know she can trust, but somehow, even they don’t feel safe to her at the moment. Yes I am in constant communication with her teacher and have a formal meeting tomorrow where I will be seeking practical solutions.
I’m amazed at the damage one small child can to do to another in such a short amount of time. I hate to think how horrific this is when it involves teenagers! I do worry about how this could shape her socially and will be advocating hard for her as she’s too terrified to speak up for herself. Nat wants to change schools but I don’t want to teach her to run away from her problems. We have six weeks until the end of the year and I know we can make it through then we have the summer holidays to heal. I will definitely seek reassurance from the school that the bully won’t be in the same class as Nat next year so she doesn’t have to stress about that all summer.
I’m just so frustrated at being so helpless. I want to yell at the perpetrator and tell her what she is doing to my child. I want my confident happy girl back.
Anyway, I just came here for a rant and I guess I’ve achieved that.
If you have experience with any of this, particularity with young children (Nat is seven) and can offer advice, please please please do leave a comment or email me as I’d love to hear anything that could help my girl!
abbiesbabble [at] gmail [dot] com
Thank you 🙂