My daughter’s daily struggles in 5th grade now include some teasing from a few boys and girls. Bullying is definitely in our schools. It is tough to know exactly how to handle situations, but I want to share with you this story:
I bought my daughter a new coat. Her favorite color is orange, but this particular coat didn’t come in orange. My son was with me and we picked this navy blue and purple striped one instead. She loved it! As the weather turned colder she wore her coat to school. Turns out another girl has the same coat. So on this first day of wearing her “new” jacket she is walking in the hallway and overhears this girl say, “I can’t believe she has the same jacket…I’m going to burn mine!” My daughter felt that “fight or flight” response and walked quickly ahead to get on her bus to come home.
She told me this story when she got home. She was very hurt and a little worried about wearing the coat to school again. We talked about this incident and other ways people bully. I completely understand and realize that teachers cannot hear every comment from every child, nor do I expect them to, so I want to empower my children with the confidence to deter this minor bullying.
I know my daughter is clever and witty at home, but at school she freezes up a bit. So we did a bit of role-playing and I gave her some examples of things to say. She did tell me that she thought some of my responses “weren’t so good.” She said she didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but she would think of her own. I had to chuckle when I heard that, and I agreed. She was definitely right….her responses would probably be better than mine! She is in an environment everyday full of 10 year olds. I haven’t been 10 in awhile!!
A few weeks passed and my daughter made 5th grade honors chorus. I was so proud of her! The same girl with the coat was also in the group. So, one day after practice was over, the girl snapped, “which coat is mine?!?” to my daughter as the coats lay on the chairs behind them. My daughter responded, “This one is mine with my name written inside. Besides, I thought you were going to burn yours??” The girl turned bright red and started denying saying that…but my husband and daughter just simply gathered their things and exited the rehearsal. When they told me about my daughter’s response, I was so happy. She had thought of the perfect response to her earlier bullying. I don’t ever want to encourage my children to be mean or to bully, but they simply can’t cower to bullies, either. This girl got just a bit of an eye-opener and my daughter got a little boost of confidence that she needed!
Thank you for everyone who has commented on my blogs! I really enjoy reading your comments and learning from your experiences.