Need advice on cliques in kindergarten

Carrie - posted on 11/03/2011 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My daughter just started kindergarten two months ago. She already knew a couple of girls going into school from the neighborhood, but she is a little shy. The first month was the adjustment period. Now she is coming home from school at least three days a week stating that girls are already being mean, excluding her one day, and then best friends with her the next day. A certain girl that we are neighbors with has threatened to punch her in the nose, and makes mean comments (this girl has a few problems at home). But I just have no idea what to tell her because I went through the same things when I was younger, and it breaks my heart to see her come home from school crying. I just tell her to try and be friends with everyone, and if someone is mean to you, then you don't want to be their friend anyway. But this doesn't seem to be helping her. I need advice, please :(

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[deleted account]

Hi-I just read your post and can definately relate. My duaghter is 8 and is also on the shy side and sensitive. We have almost the same problems. Since kindergarten there has been a girl that was her friend and then she was mean to her and now it's a constant battle. She calls names and she's manipulative. Luckily other kids have the same problem with her (it's not just my daughter). My advice that I have given other parents and my own daughter is that your friendship is a gift and not everyone deserves it. It's always important to treat others nice but if they aren't nice back then walk away and know that they don't deseve your friendship. For some reason this has worked for her. I know how hard this is. It breaks my heart when I hear mean girl stories. Our sensitive girls need lot's of confidence building. I also let her assert herself at home so she can learn more about how to be a little sassier. Good luck.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/03/2011

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Also, address this immediately with the teacher. Bullying should not be taken lightly, and maybe she can split up the mean girls discretely.

Pamela - posted on 11/07/2011

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Socialization is a lifelong process which we all deal with. Though she is a bit young to understand the concept of not taking things personally, you could sit down and explain to her, as best you can, that when others do or say mean things to her, or ignore her that she must learn to not let it hurt her inside, but rather be like a little duck and allow the words or actions to roll off of her skin and not go inside. If you are in an area where there are ducks in a pond you can show her how the water runs off of a duck's feathers and the duck doesn't get wet or cold from the water. Perhaps this will help her to "see" that it is possible for the same thing to happen to her when she simply doesn't allow the words to come into her heart.

It is difficult with little ones. However, you must also be VERY careful not to play into her making a big deal of it simply because you had a similar experience at her age and cam still remember how it felt.

Here too, is an EXCELLENT opportunity to teach FORGIVENESS which will allow her to NOT retain the pain as you seem to have done. There are lots of children's books that teach these kinds of awareness. Go to your public library or nearby book store and do some research for such materials.

[deleted account]

My advice to you is to put her in a Christian school. In Christian schools children are taught Biblical truths of being kind and loving to everyone, not being jealous, envious, or mean to others. It's clear that these girls see something in your daughter that they wish they had. Your daughter might answer all questions correctly, draw beautiful pictures, or have beautiful hair. I experienced this type of torment all my life from "mean girl cliques" only to learn now that it was all because they were jealous of me. Children don't understand that and it can do sooo much damage. I am now 25-years-old, married, beautiful child, had a career in the military and I am still terrified of people,suffer from low self esteem, scared of being around people for fear that they are going to be mean to me. I have tried to hide out in online classes, just to stay away from people. It is only now as a born again believer that I am overcoming this. It is like night and day when my son plays with his Christian friends and I take him to play in the mall. His Christian friends tell him they love him and that they think he's cool, give him hugs, etc.. When we play in the mall these kids are hitting and going up to other kids and screaming in their faces. It brings tears to my eyes cause I wish I had grown up with kids saying nice things to me and building me up instead of tearing me down.I just imagine the difference of a person I would be. Words do hurt and they have much power.

Nancy - posted on 11/05/2011

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Just make sure she knows if the bullying gets to bad it is okay for her to protect herself. When my son was in Kindergarten this one kid started picking on him. I went to the teachers, principles, etc. They said they would handle it. Well the bullying kept up through to the 1st grade. Then one day my son and this bully was in the bathroom, and he cornered my son, and was going to hit him (the first time) most of the bullying was verbal and my son ignored him. Well he had my son cornered, there was not teacher in the bathroom she was standing outside the door. He went to punch my son, and my son grabbed his arm and stopped him, then punched him in the stomach so he could get out of the corner. I was called to the school about this and I told them I have been complaining about this bullying going on for over a year. My son was just protecting himself. From that day on he did not bother my son anymore because he saw he would stick up for himself. We have always taught out children never to start a fight, walk away when you can, ignore stupid remarks. This was the first and last time my son ever hit anyone.

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Diana - posted on 11/07/2011

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My daughter was bullied from the time she was in 1st grade until 3rd by the same girl. I recommend encouraging her to talk to the teacher on her own, but also talking to the teacher yourself. My daughter was very shy so her talking to the teacher just wouldn't happen. My husband & I both talked to the teachers, school guidance councilor, and principal. This girl was relentless, but the difficult thing was that the girl denied doing it, she wasn't being physical, & no one could catch her. She was also a double bully...my daughter would avoid her like the plague, but the girl would keep coming around and try to make her play with her. When my girl would walk away, the other girl would go to the playground aide & tell her that my daughter was being mean and wouldn't play with her. My daughter ended up losing recess & having to write sentences. She was so upset by all this that I was having an almost impossible time getting her ready for school in the mornings...Screaming temper tantrums because her shoes didn't fit, or her socks didn't feel right, or her belly hurt. Towards the end the bully hit her for the first time. The school took that very seriously and had a conference with the girls parents. One of my concerns that I had expressed to the school was that if this girl was doing this to my daughter, what is she going through that is causing her to act out this way and how can she get the help she is clearly crying out for as well? It used to break my heart too to see her cry. Oh, and the temper tantrums at home were off the charts! She would lose it if the cup wasn't the right color because she was so stressed out about school. The tantrums would always happen when the bullying was occuring. It finally ended in 4th grade. The difference was that she was able to sign up for chorus and band. There were no school activities for the kids until 4th grade. She was never interested in other activities outside of school like sports because she was so shy, but music turned out to be her thing. She could feel like she was part of a group. It gave her a sense of belonging. I was pleasantly surprised to also find out that she wanted to run for student council that year and also wanted to become a peer mediator. She was chosen as one of 3 kids from her class to be a peer mediator and attended training classes in school. She also ran for student council and lost by ONE vote. I was so proud of her. My advice would be to definitely get the school involved even if you do it behind-the-scenes because you don't want to embarrass her. Talk to her about why the girl might feel like she has to be mean. I used to tell my daughter that sometimes if you can understand why someone might do the things they do, it might bother you a little less and it's not nearly as satisfying for a bully if they can't get some time of reaction from you. The principal said also that bullies are sneaky, but if we can help build my daughter's self-esteem maybe we can help change the way the bullying makes her feel and empower her.

User - posted on 11/07/2011

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yes, i too had problems but not with someone teasing or bullying a daughter it was my five yr old boy being bullied by two girls. They both liked him and he liked them but often one girl would get jealous and start saying mean things to my now six year older. I told him no one has a right to say mean things to you and in a couple of cases she hit him and tried according to him to choke him. I immediately went to the school and spoke to his teacher and the principal. This type of behavior cannot be overlooked with the assumption it will go away. As a parent you know how you raise your child and what limits you placed on him or her. But you cannot speak to how others raise their children nor do you know what they are exposed to at home. Children have to learn how to advocate for theselves within reason but if its casuing them to be fearful or affects their self esteem than I feell as the parent you have to step in and seek help from the school administration.

Debbie - posted on 11/06/2011

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My wee daughter comes home everyday from daycare telling me people poke her in the eye. Its someone different everyday. This has been going on for months. She loves going and its a struggle to get her to leave in the afternoons so I know she is happy there but she really tells storys! My daughter is 3 and a half how old is her wee girl? Not saying that your daughter is making it up at all but I know mine is, the cheeky little monkey!

Pinal - posted on 11/05/2011

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Speak to her teacher I did that with my Kindergartener last week as we faced the same problem, we also told our daughter to ignore those girls at first but it really didnt help as the other girls sought her out and were extremely mean to her.I hope it works.

Christen - posted on 11/05/2011

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please make sure above all first and foremost she knows she isnt at fault. that kids are just mean. you need to talk to the teacher and princapal asap. i know she is only in kindergarden but things like this tend to escalate if left alone. if the above refuse to do anything about it go over thier heads. this is serious. i havnt thankfuly had anything like tis with m,y 4 year old but i have had problems with my older step sons. i was also picked on and i know its no fun. esp if she doesnt have anyone to lean on and her being so young its not healthy.
hope you get all of this sorted out before it gets out of control.

Maraea - posted on 11/05/2011

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Unfortunately this is a reality we all see hear and do. And it happens at that age. It comes down to educating children, our own children of how people say mean things hear mean things do mean things. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Don't continue it yourself. Stop it i dont like it or we are all friends are some useful phrases. Not a remedy. But if you talk to the teachers they should reinforce this behaviour everyday. It is horrible and many children only copy what they see or hear. This is unfortunate for both parties. We as adults know about these situations and need to be aware of how we talk act and behaviour infront of our children.

Maria - posted on 11/05/2011

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I work at an elementary school also(not a teacher) and the "drama" starts early. However, if she is being threatened or bullied by another child, speak with her teacher NOW...meanwhile, encourage her to "broaden" her circle of friends/playmates and encourage her to play with some of the other kids; she may just find new new best buddy

Marlene - posted on 11/05/2011

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If she is being bullied at school, whether it is kindergarden or not...she should tell the teacher. The teacher is trained to help out in situations like this. She might be able to find out why these kids are doing this??

Katherine - posted on 11/05/2011

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I remember this too. Not fond memories. Friends one day enemies the next. I think every kid goes through it.
Marina is right, there is a zero tolerance for bullying. Maybe she can meet someone and make a play date? Not with one of the girls that is mean but someone else.
My daughter is in first grade and goes through the same thing. One day she's friends or best friends with someone the next day it's someone else. But I've found play dates help a lot. Also maybe try to find some mom groups you can take her to at meetup.com.
That way no one really knows anyone and if they do they are very welcoming.

Karen - posted on 11/05/2011

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kids at school can be so mean, part is what goes on at their own homes and if they have older siblings then they are expose to more unwanted behavior. T.V. can be negative too... My advice, ask your girl's teacher for a parent-teacher conference and have a good chat, come up with a plan together. School are willing to help a lot more since the topic of bullying is so big now. It can't be ignored anymore!

Melinda - posted on 11/04/2011

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I am not a teacher, but I do work at a elem. school, Yes you should talk to the teacher about the girl threating her. you should also tell your daughter to tell her teacher when someone says something like that. I do see and hear the kindergarten kids say the want to be your friend and play with you and then the next min. say no I don't like you, that is what most kinder. kids do and yes most grow out of that. it is hard, but you are doing the right thing in telling her to try and be friends with everyone and teaching her that they really aren't your friends if they treat you like that.

Alexandra - posted on 11/04/2011

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i agree with everybody. Taking to the school teachers is a ust, in my opinion. Then see if something else is going on with your girl, because you said the first month was adjusting but she was not complaining. Did she see/experiencing something that frightened her, or does she have to much information on her head that makes her confused and she can't focused? If there is something going on, then every little thing that happenes to us, we make it a big deal. You know how it is right? I am sorry she has to go through this. And you too!

Colleen - posted on 11/04/2011

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Going thru a very similar thing with my 5 yr old granddaughter who lives with us with her mom. She is also in kindergarten and the girl is doing almost the exact thing except hasn't resorted to threatening violence! Report it! It's sad that this is happening in classes with such young kids!

Desiree - posted on 11/04/2011

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You can try having mother n daughter over for play date and express your concern

Stephanee - posted on 11/04/2011

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This is one of my worst nightmares. I have a three year old in preschool and I worry about this for when she starts pre-k next year. Nothing can break your heart more than watching your child get hurt. First thing I would do is contact her school, set up a confrence with not only the teacher but a counsler if available. See if you can get her into counsling through the school to help with her feelings. If you know some of the other parents call them and ask if you could speak with them regarding this matter. I know not all parents care, and some sadly encourage it. It's sick. Good luck with your little angel. My heart goes out to you and her.

Mommy - posted on 11/04/2011

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Do things with her that help her feel good about herself, make her feel empowered, and loved, and make sure she has high self esteem. We all go through this stage at some point in our lives, and its when we have great family support and feel good about ourselves that we make it through the best. Maybe let her get involved in a dance class, or something she has an interest in, where she can make friends and do something that makes her feel accomplished. Girls are mean, aren't they?

Christy - posted on 11/03/2011

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Talk to the teacher about this ASAP. Tell him/her exactly what you have said here. If the teacher doesn't step up, go to administration, and if need be, the parents of the bully that has threatened your child.

Sherri - posted on 11/03/2011

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I am with Marina contact the school immediately. Most schools have a zero tolerance when it comes to bullying and they can put a stop to it a.s.a.p

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/03/2011

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I remember those days, but it was in about 6th grade that it started. Just let her know how wonderful she is, and to go to another shy girl in the class and make friends with her/him. That way, they can enjoy eachothers company. She just needs the confidence to approach another kid.

Christina - posted on 11/03/2011

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that is rough! i cant believe it is happening already, you would hope that it wouldnt start until she was older.
has she tried being friends with other girls in the class? she may not want to leave the comfort of the girls she does know, but maybe strongly encouraging her to talk to the other girls more may help her be separate from the mean ones. and as much as people hate it, talk to the teacher? maybe she is not the only child being picked on by this group and it may need to be address. there is strength in numbers so if she is not alone it may help.
children can be cruel. i hope things get worked out for your daughter. i was the kid that got picked on, it made life a living nightmare.
your doing a good job teaching her to be herself and strong against it, because unfortunately it may only get worse as she gets older, kids will pick on each other about anything it seems like.
good luck.

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