23 Oct 2015

Bully Be Gone

We've all read about bullying and how it affects an astonishing one in three children at school or online. We all remember our own childhoods and if we were subject to any kind of torment at school.

I luckily never was apart from being teased by a boy called George who I now think secretly fancied me. It was tame and I never felt threatened or sad...just thought he was a silly boy!

But bullying is real, it's painful and it's nasty.

As a mother I didn't really get it and I just felt sorry for any child who goes through it but I wasn't affected directly by it. I hadn't realised its not just the name calling or put downs...it's the mental anguish faced when you are at home or thinking about it or hating going to school the next day. It's the uncontrollable rage, the flying off the handle and not knowing why, it's the unrecognisable child that gets returned to me at the end of the day. 

I would be horrified if I found out that my child was part of any form of bullying. I hate the idea of being left out or wilfully leaving another out. Even if you don't particularly like or know the person, kindness is still my preferred option. I've been subject to mum snubs in the playground and find it affects me awfully as I'm quite sensitive. But I'm also an adult, I can rationalise it better, a child can't always do that and hasn't  got the emotional tools to deal with rejection.

As parents we should be teaching our children kindness, support and tolerance. Reminding them that it's not nice to talk to people rudely or with disdain, everyone is equal. They should know a simple smile and hello are all it takes to make friends.

Starting school this year for my girl there have been lots of times she's come home and announced "you are only allowed one friend" or "I can't play with X as she has a new friend and says she doesn't need me"

'She doesn't need me'...

Such a heartbreaking sentence as is the following which makes me openly weep (but never in front of my girl, I squirrel myself off to tidy up).

"She told me to leave her alone for 5 minutes today, yesterday it was 10"

Me: what do you do when she says this?

"I go and wait on my own until the bell rings"

She is only four and my heart breaks for her. She thinks this is friendship but it's not. This is an older girl who in my opinion should know better. I hate the thought that she is stood on her own feeling a confused mix of emotions.

"She promised she'd play with me today but she lied mummy"

"She let me follow her around at playtime then said 'please leave me alone'"

I know I don't fully know the context but I know my little girl is in turmoil when she gets home. She has been taking it out on me and I can't stop her pain or comprehension of the situation. I'm going to keep trying and helping her understand being treated like this isn't fair and it's not right.

We've spoken to her teacher (who is speaking to the big girls teacher too). I'm also trying to keep an open dialogue about it and comparing situations. At first she hadn't wanted to tell me what was happening. I just want my happy little four year old back, I just need to see that smile and hear her laugh.

For advice and help there are lots of resources available. Here are a few I've found:

www.bullying.co.uk
www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/
www.stopbullying.gov
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