Or a bully?
Would you wonder if it was your fault?
How would your approach the subject with them?
Would you leave it be and hope they grow out of it?
How would you react when another parent complained to you about your child and his/her actions/words towards their child?
I know no matter how much I try to to instill fair behavior in my girls, one of them if not both will have a moment or two of nastiness. Last year DD1 was taunted by a boy in her class, he would steal her snack every day and break her pencils. While the situation was remedied it left a bad taste in her mouth. She's not a mean kid, she's the mama in the group. However I can see how all her niceness will eventually break. DD2... well... she's not exactly a nice little girl. She has a BS meter and she will treat people unkindly even when she knows she's wrong to do it. I've had to talk to her about it often. So in a sense I'm preparing myself for the day DD2 does something really mean and I get a phone call.
meaness is a perception right. not a statement of fact right? what might be mean to one child might be quite ok for another. so while child A might find child C mean, child B might not.
yes i am the mother of a mean child and sometimes a bully. i think thats v. normal as kids. that's how they figure out social norms and values.
while most will say my dd is a sweet child, a couple of 6 year olds will say that my dd is a mean child and a bully because she doesnt play with them but plays with their older brothers. if the mom and i were not good friends i could see her complain to me. but she knows and i know - in the realm of childhood - some of this is bound to happen. so she talks to my dd and i do too. x wants to play with you. he likes you a lot. i know 6 year olds can be irritating but if you play with x for a little while, he will leave you alone.
gosh u shd see the attitude my dd gives. that one little boy drives her up the wall. and that little boy loves her so. he wants to marry dd when they grow up.
yes i have pointed out to dd about her tone of voice, about being kind, etc, etc.... but i've also not rubbed it in (she hates that). i've said it and let it go and then waited. in time she has conquered that lesson too.
i expect her to be kind and caring to others. but i know she cant maintain that all the time. so i've given her techniques and the one she really likes is to put some space and warn the kids to leave her alone to let her recuperate. unfortunately when she was 4 the other kids could not understand why she needed space, would be so concerned right when dd needed space to cope.
I think our culture rushes to divide children, esp. girls, into two distinct groups -- nice girls and mean girls. I don't think having a moment or two of nastiness makes one a mean girl.
Anyway, I hope not, because if it does, then I'm a mean girl.
Rather than labeling negative behavior as making my child a "mean girl," I just deal with the situation at hand without labeling what sort of person my child is. Many people have trouble balancing speaking up for themselves with being kind to others. I think it is a learned skill.
If a parent complained to me about my child, I would practice active listening and try not to jump in with strong emotions. I would convey that I really heard them and understood them. Then I would talk to my child openly and elicit their side of the story. I would assume the truth lay someone between the two versions. I assume that my kids are doing the best they can with the information they have, but that they have things to learn.
I don't know that being nice all the time is a goal of mine for my kids. I think there are moments when taking stand and even getting angry are appropriate. I want them to be able to stand up for themselves. I want them to be strong people, but I think that true strength is often very gentle. (I don't know if that makes sense.)
but everything has pros and cons
One of my children tends to be the peacemaker in almost all situations, and my other is feisty and will be as mean as they can get away with in the same situations. Both behaviors have their plusses and minuses.
With the one that will push the meanness - I would take whatever other parents said to heart and work even more on helping that child stop themself from choosing to be unkind. I would also expect some sort of apology or working out of the problem if it was big enough for me to be approached about it. Generally I consider it an issue of empathy and working to develop empathy in my child.
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