Bullying– It Ain’t Just for Big Kids Any more

Posted July 14, 2008 by

Photo of elisabeth

Jessica tells Sophie she can’t play dress-up with her and her group of friends because Sophie doesn’t watch Hannah Montana.  Three boys form a “gang” at day camp and terrorize the rest of the kids during free time.  Pop Quiz: How old are the kids I’m talking about here? 

A) Teen-agers or pre-teens

B) Elementary school students

C) Pre-schoolers and kindergartners

If you guessed “C”, you’re right.  Bullying has trickled down to the toddler set, if you can believe it.  They’re calling this  “Barbie Brat Bullying.” (Ugh. I wish they could come up with a better name, but there you have it.)  I’ve seen it at my son’s pre-school, where kids are already savvy about the coolest TV shows to watch and know who the hottest singers are–and they exclude other kids who aren’t hip. I’m not anti-entertainment, and believe me, my son watches TV and movies with the best of them. (Case in point–he tells people he can’t wait until he turns “PG13.”) I guess what I object to is the fact that materialism has, in some ways, replaced simple, imaginative play. And kids are adept at turning “things” into something over which to compete. I’m not ready to go back to Little House on the Prairie days, but I do sometimes long for more simplicity in our lives.  I just can’t imagine Laura and Mary Ingalls arguing over who was going to play Grand Theft Auto next, you know? Anyway, for better or worse, we’re living in the age of technology and media influences, so we have to learn to find our way–and teach our kids how to be humane– in this strange new world we’ve built.

I don’t have any solutions for young child bullying, but my instincts tell me that  the greatest way to combat it is to teach and foster empathy in kids from an early age. Small children get this right away–at heart I think they’re naturally caring. (Maybe not when you’re trying to take a fistful of pinata candy away, but in general, they get what it means to be loving much more quickly than we jaded adults do, in my opinion.) At our house, we try to talk a lot about how other people might feel when they’re excluded. When I catch my son teasing another child, I sit him down then and there to talk about why that feels bad. It’s the only method I can think of that might influence how he treats other people down the road.

How about you?  Have any of you seen this kind of bullying  firsthand with your young (or not so young) kids?  And what do you teach your own children about it? Any thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcome!

About

Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Popular on Empowering Parents

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. DSchulz (Edit) Report

    My daughter is 5 and in Kindergarten. There is a girl that is both at her school and at the daycare center after school. She is already exhibiting the queen bee behavior of everyone wanting to play with her (I’ll call her Anne). Anne gets to decide any given day based on arbitrary reasons who she will play with. For example, you don’t watch Monster High so you can’t play, or what someone is wearing, or you want to play kitties but we don’t so we are not going to play with you today. 

    This similar situation played out last year when everyone was 4 with a different girl who has now moved on to a different school. I hope the conversations I had with my daughter back then and again now helps her make good decisions if she is ever the “kid in demand”.

    As far as advice to my daughter, I just encourage seeking out new friends, cross the gender barrier or seek out a friend who doens’t routinely decide not to play with you. Hope it is helping her.

    Reply
  2. Le (Edit) Report

    Bullying Definition from stopbullying.gov:

    Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. 

    We must teach compassion to our children and we can accomplish this by modeling the behavior.

    Reply
  3. J.Quigley (Edit) Report

    I’m so confused. My Kindergartener is in same school as my 5th grader. At the first conference (the one all parents sign up for not a special conference), the teacher tells me all about my sons skills and not so skills. Then adds in the last seconds after the next parents arrive that ‘your son is a bully and aggressive with peers’. I was shocked and she rushed me out of room saying we had no time left and she couldn’t give me the report she was reading from but that she would ‘later’. I called and then emailed to ask for follow-up and examples. She never responded. My son seems happy and fine. He’s been to 1/2 the kids birthday parties so far and is fine with all the kids. Prior to Kindergarten he had no issues: Day care, sleep overs, playdates, parks, vacations, etc… Never any mention of problems for 4 years. This is same teacher my older son had and I never had any issue either. Everything I read about bullying and aggression suggest angry kids across all situations. My son isn’t and he isn’t complaining at school but my caregiver who picks him up and drops him off tells me bi-weekly that the teacher says he has hit/kicked/bullied and she will be scheduling a conference. When I ask my son and the other parents, who I know through playgroups etc…, they say their kids never complain. The teacher has given enough info twice to suggest which 2 kids he is ‘fighting with’. One my son does seem to mistreat…he states he doesn’t like her and she is annoying but never admits to hitting or pushing her. The other is a boy who is his best school friend and they play together at least 2-3 times a WEEK. My son in the past month has stated he got sent to the principles 3 times for being mean to the girl and he does express mean thoughts and words to her..he says things like ‘this is an ugly pumpkin and I’m going to name it xxx (the girls name). Just today my caregiver told me the teacher said he pinched the girl and made her cry. He pretty much said same thing: he claims he only snapped play tongs in her face and did not pinch her and he did it because she talks to much. Again we are supposed to have a conference. This is private school and I’m so scared he is going to be kicked out. I get so upset every time but when I ask the teacher, in this case I’ve heard nothing either yet, she downplays it. I have no clue what to do and no ideas how to discipline my son, he’s 6, because get such confusing information. To top it off my son has no arms so to pinch the girl with tongs for example he had to get the tongs in his teeth and pinch her face, which logically would have taken enough time for the girl to get away so I just don’t get how he can be bullying anyone, especially with him also not displaying anger and aggression other places (anywhere else)! I don’t want to be THAT parent who is defensive and saying ‘not my son’ but how do you get over the denial and anger and face the truth. The truth is he doesn’t like that girl and he does say mean things but is he really a bully? The girl has no special needs that I know. It is a school for typical kids and provides NO special education services to any of the kids. I am just so fuming with anger and not my kid I can’t imagine if I ever do get a conference how I won’t be defensive the whole time.

    Reply
    • Elisabeth Wilkins Report

      Dear J. Quigley: I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through with your son’s school. I would request a meeting as soon as possible with his teacher, the principal and the school social worker/counselor. Come prepared with questions for them and be willing to hear what they have to say. It sounds like your son’s teacher is avoiding this situation for some reason, but I think it’s important to get to the bottom of it for your son’s sake. Take care, and please let us know how it goes.

      Reply
  4. Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor (Edit) Report

    To ‘cmprgrl103’: This is a tough situation. It sounds like you are not only concerned about how this coach is treating your child but the kind of behavior that is being modeled for the children. Aside from continuing to file written complaints to the administrators, it might be helpful to focus on teaching your child how to respond to and cope with the coach’s leadership style. If your child is bullied by a teammate, I would definitely report that to the school as well. And, of course, I think there comes a point where you have to sit down as a family and decide if it is worth it for your child to stay on this particular team right now or not. Here is an article that will give you more ideas on supporting your child through this: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent

    Reply
  5. cmprgrl03 (Edit) Report

    I have quickly read over your site, and believe that it is very helpful for parents with young children. My question is, what do you think about coaches being the bullies? And what steps can a parent take to stop the bullying after they have been to the principal and superintendent and nothing has been done to resolve the problem. I think when the kids see the coaches being the bully, it makes it OK for the students to play the same role, which in turn leads to more problems.

    Reply
  6. Olathe (Edit) Report

    Elisabeth:
    I am writing because a quick search led me here.
    I have a 5 year old daughter who has just started kindergarten. She didn’t go to daycare or preschool as a kid, so she only knows her little sister well….
    We have started walking to school with another 5 year old in her same classroom, who lives right across the street from us. My daughter is a happy kid, smiling, courteous, eager…but this other girl appears to be repulsed by my daughter.
    She doesn’t say hello to my daughter in the morning…just glares at her, or doesn’t even look at her. If my daughter tries to walk with this neighbor, she says: “Leave me alone!” or “Don’t talk to me!”. If my daughter talks to the neighbor’s mother, the neighbor says: “Don’t talk to my mom!”, or “My mom already KNEW THAT!”. She will completely ignore my daughter, but when any other child comes along, the neighbor hugs them, and compliments them on their beautiful shoes, hair, pants, etc.
    The other day, I overheard her whispering to her mother: “Mommy…why does she always wear the same tennis shoes every day to school?” I turned around and explained that my daughter had grown out of all her other shoes.
    When my daughter asked the neighbor to come over and play someday, the girl openly told us that it would take precious time away from her playtime with 2 other girls she would rather play with. I asked her if she was saying that those 2 girls were more important than my daughter, and she admitted YES, that was true.

    My daughter starts every day, so happy, but as she is shot down by the neighbor on the way to school, is heartbroken by the time she gets to school, and I have recommended that she try not showing how she feels, because the girl appears to be the type who feels better about herself if she can crush everyone down around her. I told my daughter above all else to not cry in front of her, because when the neighbor sees her distress, she will feel empowered.

    I have since contacted the teacher in the class, asking how I should handle it, and instead of telling me, she took it into her hands immediately to reprimand the little girl.

    Now the neighbor’s mother has become upset that her perfect daughter might not be the most beloved student in school, because she has been reprimanded by the teacher. Her 5 year old daughter has also formed a clique with 2 boys and another girl, and one of the boys has informed his mother that not only does this neighbor girl treat my daughter in a mean way, but that “all the kids in class are mean” to my daughter.

    My daughter has told me that nobody else is mean to her, so I am confused, but this information from one of the clique-members has caused my neighbor’s mother to believe that my daughter must have done something so terrible that everyone hates her, and that parent is now on the warpath now that HER perfect daughter is being reprimanded for something the whole class is participating in together.

    The mother threatens her daughter with a slap in the face if her daughter is rude to me or my daughter, (and I am completely against spanking or any corporal punishment under any circumstances, so I felt uncomfortable to begin with), but then tells me that she teaches her daughter and all of her preschool aged daycare kids she cares for that nobody should ever tell on anyone unless they are BLEEDING.

    Because of this anger and gossip that is now spreading amongst the other mothers (namely the mothers of the clique-member 5yearolds), that my daughter is overly sensitive and is causing grief for the perfect neighbor girl, I started worrying that I was overreacting by talking to the teacher. I contemplated just dropping everything, and not going to a conference with the school psych, and the principal and the teacher, fearing that I may be just complaining too much, but now that I have read this blog, I feel so much more justified in talking to them.

    This is my daughter’s very first experience with companionship, and she now believes that people who treat her like that are normal….she has no idea that there are other girls in school that are very sweet and caring. I do NOT want my daughter to try to be friends with her, and have informed her that in my childhood, my enemies hadn’t even treated me that bad.

    Her plea is that “well, she lives across the street, and I see her all the time, and I want her to love me!” *sigh*
    So, we are finding reasons to not always walk to school with the neighbor now, and I have pretty much helped my daugher realize that she must ignore this type of behavior….that she cannot let one grouch ruin her day…there are many other kids in school who would love to be friends with her.

    We have since involved ourselves with other parents with very sweet girls, but this threat across the street makes every day just a little more gray, because the mother cannot accept the fact that her daughter is so mean.

    Mind you, the same clique-member who said that my daughter was treated bad by everyone, has also confided in my daughter by telling her that the neighbor girl (his supposed friend) is mean to a few other kids in class.
    And I must also stress that I have been treated, to a lesser extent the same by the neighbor’s mom. She is very selective of the type of friends she speaks to….so I’ve noticed that she talks to me until another clique-member’s mother comes along, and turns her back on me, ignoring my existence entirely, without introducing me to anyone she is talking to. I am an adult, and can handle that myself. I see the other clique-members mothers actually turning to me a little more, seeing the way I am also treated, and trying to be humane. The neighbors mom will never ever EVER say anything positive about my hair or clothing, but the minute a clique-member’s mother walks up, she says: “Hey! I LOVE you’re toenails! Great blouse!” So, I see where this neighbor girl is learning her common courtesy.

    I have noticed now that on the days we are unfortunate to walk with this little neighbor to school, and we ignore her, she is more tempted to warm up to my daughter. I hate this game. I’ve grown up with sincerity and respect, and this should not be the way to gain a girls friendship.

    I can only hope that soon, the girl who belittled others to feel better will actually be the lonely one.

    I have instilled in my daughter the belief that if she sees someone alone on the playground to invite them to play…whether she is with someone else, or a whole group of kids. The more the merrier. Don’t leave anyone out, ever.
    I am hoping, perhaps, that being that way will earn her the sincere friendship she deserves.

    Reply
  7. zory (Edit) Report

    Hi…My son will be 5 this July and will start elementary school this fall. He is usually the child that gets bullied at school, parties, etc. My husband and I have tried talking to him about it. We have tried boosting his self confidence with positive feedback/reinforcement. It breaks our heart that he has so much difficulty standing up for himself. He even gives up his toy or snack immediately to the child that intimidates him. Please help! How can I help him stand up for himself?

    Reply
    • Elisabeth Wilkins Report

      Hi Zory. I’m sorry to hear that this is going on with your son. Some kids are on the more sensitive side and have a harder time standing up for themselves, and my son is one of them, so I truly feel your pain. I think it’s good that you’re working on building your son’s self-confidence. Have you thought about signing him up for another activity (something he’s good at or likes to do) outside of school? This can do wonders for a child’s confidence. We signed our son up for Karate when he was about 5, and it’s been wonderful for him. (His martial arts teachers are all very positive and encouraging of the kids.) I also think you should talk to the teachers at school right away if your child is giving up his snack, etc. They need to be on top of that. Finally, with our son, we work on having him come up with things he can say/do to when the more aggressive kids tease him. It’s a long process and I definitely get anxious watching him have his feelings get hurt from time to time, but he is slowly becoming more confident and able to walk away from kids who are bullies.

      Reply
  8. Mary (Edit) Report

    Hi Marla. Interested in how you dealt with bullying from one twin to another. Please write back and we can share ideas. -Mary

    Reply
  9. Marla (Edit) Report

    Wendy, I hope you still read this site. I also have twin boys. They are 19 months old and already I have one that bullies the other. Colton has always been the more aggressive and Hayden is definitely, shall I say, more laid back. Colton pushes, grabs, and intimidates his brother to the point that if Hayden has a toy and sees Colton get up, Hayden will run away screaming even before Colton shows aggression. I am currently searching for information on how to handle this. I am scared that if I dont address this early my boys will not get along as they grow and I worry that the bullying could extend outside of the home by one or the other of the boys. I want to address Colton’s bullying, but also empower Hayden on appropriate ways to handle bullying so that he may be able to defend himself through out life. I believe this originated as sibling rivalry. I believe that twins especially are in constant competition for their parents individual attention. I believe my husband and I have been very aware of splitting our attention between the two (even though we struggle to ensure extended families do the same…as I said, Colton is more outgoing and thus receives much more attention outside of our home). We even split the boys, one parent with one boy, making sure that we rotate who was with who. Well to end this post, I was just wondering if anyone had tips to deal especially with twins at age 19 months when toddlers think they are the center of the world! On a side note, we have noticed that Hayden has began to defend himself more, but we fear that he does this out of extreme anger and fear that now we need to not only empower him to defend himself against bullies, but also how to tame the anger!

    Reply
  10. Kind Campaign (Edit) Report

    There’s a great non-profit organization that is trying to address this very problem among women of all ages. Visit it’s website, KindCampaign.com for more information!
    It’s time we spoke up on this very distressing issue!! Join the movement! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Elisabeth Wilkins Report

    Jennifer: This is such excellent advice. Thank you for sharing it! I think role modeling how we want our kids to behave — including showing empathy and kindness — is one of the most important things a parent can do.

    Reply
  12. jennifer (Edit) Report

    I see this in kids younger and younger. I see it within families, siblings, stepsiblings ect. What is really sad is that often the parents of these little bullies “can’t” teach empathy because they have none themselves. I want to spit when I hear that “kids will be kids”. I think these parents are just plain lazy and selfish. They don’t want to be bothered with teaching their children the basic human behaviors. They are the ones who don’t care what their kids watch on tv/computers/video games/music, never check on if the child is doing homework yet blames the school when their child is failing. These little bullies live by example. My suggestion is to be the positive example. I have often invited the neighborhood bully along with other children over for some fun activity and set down rules – let them all know I expect them to treat each other kindly or they won’t be able to play. I usually have some really fun activity and snacks ready so the kids really want to be there. And I stay with them and monitor and guide them. It’s pretty amazing how these little bullies thrive and some positive and structured attention. Some of the worse little bullies I know are now like adopted children to me. I find that instead of watching on the sidelines getting upset did me no good. Complaining to the kids parents can make things worse. Talking to the school often has no effect. I chose to step up and be a mentor of some sort when I can. At the same time it’s teaching my daughter that some people act in anger because they just need others to teach them to be kind, I tell her that maybe noone has ever taught them how to be nice or loved them. She has a very kind and forgiving heart and often will step up when she see’s others bullying someone. She has some friends that initially were her bulliers. These are good kids and love coming to our house. They follow the rules often better then my own daughter!! And they seem very eager to get my approval. I don’t let them play vid games ect. Usually we do actual activities/crafts/games/ect. They love charades – an excellant game to act out good lessons.

    Reply
  13. dlmiller1054 (Edit) Report

    Kids are cruel. They, at times can be worse than a bunch of animals. I think the trick is to get them to realize how the other child/children is feeling. It seems that when a group of bullies are together it gets worse. I agree that it is best to just let it go. That is, to a point. There are times that you feel that you must intervene. Try talking to the bullies yourself. Trying to get them to understand that they may be strong today, but there is always someone stronger. What are they going to do then? Then there are the parents. They are not always the answer, sometimes they are the problem. I do like the idea of taking a self defense class. If your child is not physical this may not work either. Time usually works these things out. I know it is hard to wait when your child is suffering. Keep supporting them and let them know as they get older they will get stronger. Both mentally and phisically.

    Reply
  14. Wendy (Edit) Report

    I have twin boys who just turned 13. Ryan will bully Kevin into whatever it is he wants. He also calls him names, tells him he’s fat(which he’s not), teases him constantly with words or just a look so that I am not hearing it and it sets Kevin off. I need some skills to help Kevin in dealing with his brother. I think he genuinely wants to be Ryan’s friend but it always has to be on Ryan’s terms. Ignoring him is not the option because Kevin is a very sensitive boy and it really bothers him. We have spoken to the both of them numerous times and nothing seems to get through to Ryan. HELP!!!

    Reply
  15. Lee (Edit) Report

    My 15 y/o son has been diagnosed with sensory integration disorder. He is very perseptive, but also sensitive and shy as a result. Because he does not make friends easily, he can be the butt of jokes and teasing, some mean-spirited and some in just good natured fun(if there is such a thing). Usually, our son will take and take this until he “erupts”, usually in a very aggressive,physical manner and as a result, then feels bad about himself….it is a viscous cycle. Often fatique and hunger play a role. Kids can be cruel, but our son also needs to be able to deal more effectively, recognize when he is at his limit. I am reading “How to win friends and influence People” by Dale Carnegie and also a book on Anger Management. The concern I have is that there are different things in life stages which come up that frustrate anyone, annoy all of us, fatique us mentally and physically. As a parent, I am not alwyas going to be around. How do I teach this teenager to recognize the “warning signs” within himself and prevent future outburst? I don’t want him to be the victem, but I don’t want him to injure someone else either.

    Reply
  16. Elisabeth Wilkins Report

    Teri,
    I think you’re asking a good question. It’s easy to understand how a child could “learn” how to bully other kids after he’s been picked on himself. In fact, I think that happens to a lot of children out there–they decide the best defense is a good offense, so to speak. It sounds like you’re doing exactly the right thing by talking to him about what’s going on, and noticing when he’s being physical with other kids. What’s worked well for our family is to enroll our son in a good karate program. The teacher does not emphasize aggression, but self-defense. And he talks about bullying in class quite a bit: focusing on both how to protect yourself from bullies, and the fact that it’s wrong to engage in it. If you decide to go this route, talk to the teacher first and ask other parents to make sure you find the right program for your son. (Your local Y will probably have a program. Community centers often have them, too.) This really worked wonders for our five-year-old after he was pushed around by more aggressive boys in his class. (By the way, when the bullying was happening, we also noticed that he was lashing out at home and around the friends he felt “safe” with.) It’s a confidence builder and burns off energy, to boot. There are probably other good sports or activities that you could get him involved in to address what’s going on, but this is what worked for us. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

    Reply
  17. Barry (Edit) Report

    Kelly – I did not mean to minimize – simply to generalize. My only point was that not all kids fit in to the same box. If your child is the smaller, glasses wearing, violence limited, odd man out – there is still, most likely, a group of like minded well rounded kids that he will bond with at some point. The idea that everyone should simply just ‘get along’ is the naive part. Forcing your child to associate with other children that either are raised differently – or simply have different perspectives on their world is not the solution. Offer the support YOU know your child needs and the rest will, eventually, take care of itself.

    Reply
  18. Kelley (Edit) Report

    My son (10) has been the target of other boys because we don’t allow him to play T & M games or watch PG13 movies. Barry’s view of these issues is a bit naive. It’s really hard when you’re the odd man out – smaller in stature, glasses wearer and with parents who limit your violence quotient. We’re trying to give him the tools to deal with it but he does feel left out quite alot.

    Reply
  19. Teri (Edit) Report

    My experience is somewhat mixed. When my son was younger he was the one that other boys hit and he did nothing. He is now six and we have noticed that does little things that are just rotten. My husband and I are concerned that the little behaviors are bullying the other kids. For example, the little push down the slide or the little elbow as he is walking by or excluding the boy who is two years younger and always hanging around. But then there are other times when he insists that the boy who is excluded by the other kids is included in their play. He is a very physical boy at times and has a hard time recognizing the boundaries or being in tune to how he plays with some boys is not liked by other boys. We spend a good deal of time discussing empathy and the feelings of others but it seems to stop at the ear and not process. Therefore my husband are left wondering will this play out and let him learn by the social interactions of peers. Or do we having a little bully in the making.

    Reply
  20. Barry (Edit) Report

    I can say with 100% certainty that your child will survive ‘early-childhood’ bullying much better if you let them try to work it out themselves rather than ‘helicoptering’ over them and trying to fix everything for them. You have to face facts: Some kids don’t get along with other kids. Just because you live in a Utopian neighborhood – it doesn’t mean that the younger residents of that area will blend – likewise – lifelong friendships that start at pre-school ages in ghettos are a reality. You have to look past the moment and see the greater picture. Perhaps the girls who are excluding your child are being TOLD to by their parents – perhaps they are simply reacting to human nature in that there are certain behavioral characteristics that we all carry around and some of our beliefs and behaviors are simply not universal. Being broken hearted because your child doesn’t get included in the most popular clique or because these girls won’t play with your child is temporary and you cannot change that. Trying to do so will cause more long term grief for your child than simply letting nature take its course. You have to let your kids grow through these times and learn there are differences all around. Everyone does not fit somewhere simply because they are told to fit.

    Reply
  21. viv (Edit) Report

    I know my thought is probably wrong. My granddaughter(11) is being bullied in a facebook by a girl she thinks she knows and a boy from the school. They both call her “fat”…I just said that that is stupid behavior and to say “Well, I can get over being fat, can you get over being stupid…thats harder?”
    I’m not with her often and can’t monitor her whereabouts…I can only suggest to Mom.

    Reply
  22. Elisabeth (Edit) Report

    Anne: Try reading this article by bullying expert Peggy Moss, J.D. I think there might be some good tips you might apply here to help your daughter.

    http://www.empoweringparents.com/mean-girls-bullying.php

    One thing Peggy stresses is to work with your child to come up with some ways she might deal with the bullying herself. I like this approach because the result is that it empowers your child. You can also do some role plays with your daughter to help her practice what to say next time it happens.

    I believe bullying is one of the toughest situations we can go through–it’s hard for child and parent alike. Hang in there, and let us know if things improve!

    Reply
  23. Anne (Edit) Report

    My daughter has, for the past 6 months, and is still being excluded by the neighborhood “in” girls, who live right across the street, so it’s pretty difficult to watch for her and I. My heart breaks seeing whats going on. I wonder how my daughter’s self-esteem will be affected long term by this. A few weeks ago they told my daughter to “get lost”. They naturally denied it when I asked them, very nicely if they could all just play together. I then talked to the other parent, thinking “open communication” is the best policy. She then decided to sit them all down for a little pep talk and to set out some ground rules. Just before she did, the other girls pressured my daughter into lying to cover for them so they wouldn’t get in trouble. So, she lied and told the other Mom that they really didn’t tell her to get lost. My daughter came to me the next morning and told me how she lied to protect them. The other parent now has the satisfaction of thinking my daughter is a liar. Where does a parent draw the line? Part of me thinks this is all part of growing up and another part is telling me to set the record straight. Open communication isn’t the answer. Nothing has changed.

    Reply
  24. Heather (Edit) Report

    This is happening with my 4 yo daughter in our neighborhood. One 5 yo girl in particular picks on the rest and decides who is “in” and who is “out”. It drives me crazy! the end result is that my daughter doesn’t like to play with those girls any more and has found some new friends.

    Reply

SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS TO DISRESPECT?

Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help

150,000+

Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families