i need some advice...dd 8, hurting spirited child...defacing school property... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 02-18-2011, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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not sure what to do about this w/out her feeling shamed or punished by me or her school.

 

the most recent happening is that i believe she is guilty for 'graffiti' on the lost and found table in her school. it says a former friend of hers' name WAS HERE. its in permanent marker. its about as big as my hand, total circumfrance.

 

i say former friend because my dd apparently is banned by the other girl's (also 8) older sis and brother who also go to the school...they say my dd lies and they don't want their sis near my dd. yikes. they have had mediation w/ a teacher there (its supposed to be a democratic environment) and i thought they'd worked thru stuff but obviously not.

 

i took a pic of the 'graffiti' w/ my cell phone unbeknowngst to my dd and had her write her upper and lower case letters. i also asked her the next day how she writes this particular girls name. my dd HAD to be the one to write that. the girl wouldn't have wrote that...she'd have framed herself big time. it is most definitely my dd's handwriting. and how do i let her know i'm convinced 99% that SHE did this???

 

my dd is obviously  hurting badly about this friendship gone downhill...  it's hurting me too. not sure what my dd needs from me...but i feel she deserves protection and nurturance. do i tell the school my concerns so they can support her better? i am tired of my dd being singled out as trouble maker (they don't use that term but i feel it) or a liar or thief or hostile.

 

what would you do??? i've talked w/ her already many times about how much it must hurt to not have her best buddy anymore...its so sad. they were so close the whole fall of this past year at school...  and what would you do re. the other girl and/or communicating w/ the school? i think i will request a mediation w/ the teachers (who are called facilitators there), the girl and her mom...maybe her bro and sis too, and my mother and i. my mom lives w/ us and she is like the other parent.

 

i'm so sad. and don't want my dd to be looked at as someone other kids should steer clear of.

 

do i have her clean the graffiti off? goo gone? in private so nobody at school sees?

 

sorry for rambling. my heart is hurting...

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#2 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 08:18 AM
 
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I would let the 'graffiti' incident go and focus on the friend issue and how much she must be hurting.  Let the school handle the graffiti.  I doubt they are going to do anything drastic, especially in a democratic school. They might confront the ex-friend, she will say she didn't do it (and be able to prove it with her handwriting). And everyone might get a talk about not defacing school property.

 

I would work more with more mediation and school support, involving the other kids parents if necessary, to resolve the friendship issues.

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#3 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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This is going to be hard for you to hear, but why would the girl want to be friends with your dd, when your dd tried to get her into trouble?  And it's apparently not the first time?  I don't think the other girl and her family should be "mediated" into being friends with your dd again.  They've made a choice and while they don't have the right to be rude to your dd, they have the right to avoid her.  If your dd is totally innocent, then they wouldn't be the kinds of kids I'd like my dd pal'ing around with anyway.

 

Instead, I think you should focus on your dd's behavior.  What's the matter with her being ashamed of defacing school property? She should be! The consequence for that apparently is that she loses friends.  I think she should live with that consequence.  Yes, it's a hard lesson, but I don't think you're doing her a favor by trying to get her out of trouble.  She needs to face the music.  Then, maybe she'll stop acting like that.

 

To me, that is a gentle lesson.  Tell her how you know she must be hurting and ashamed over it.  Listen to her.  Ask what she thinks she should do in the future if she has the urge to deface property again-- coach her on how to resist.  

 

Coach her on how to make new friends and talk about what it means to be a good friend.  

 

Hopefully she'll learn something and come out of this a better person.

 

I'm sure this is hard to watch as a parent, but I don't think it's a parent's job to rescue a child every time they fall.   It is your job to love her, but that doesn't mean bail her out.

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#4 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

This is going to be hard for you to hear, but why would the girl want to be friends with your dd, when your dd tried to get her into trouble?  And it's apparently not the first time?  I don't think the other girl and her family should be "mediated" into being friends with your dd again.  They've made a choice and while they don't have the right to be rude to your dd, they have the right to avoid her.  If your dd is totally innocent, then they wouldn't be the kinds of kids I'd like my dd pal'ing around with anyway.

 

Instead, I think you should focus on your dd's behavior.  What's the matter with her being ashamed of defacing school property? She should be! The consequence for that apparently is that she loses friends.  I think she should live with that consequence.  Yes, it's a hard lesson, but I don't think you're doing her a favor by trying to get her out of trouble.  She needs to face the music.  Then, maybe she'll stop acting like that.

 

To me, that is a gentle lesson.  Tell her how you know she must be hurting and ashamed over it.  Listen to her.  Ask what she thinks she should do in the future if she has the urge to deface property again-- coach her on how to resist.  

 

Coach her on how to make new friends and talk about what it means to be a good friend.  

 

Hopefully she'll learn something and come out of this a better person.

 

I'm sure this is hard to watch as a parent, but I don't think it's a parent's job to rescue a child every time they fall.   It is your job to love her, but that doesn't mean bail her out.


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Never doubt that a small group of committed, thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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#5 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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Does anyone at the school know that your dd is responsible for the graffiti?  I think she needs to take ownership for that and make amends.  I would suggest to her to apologize to her teacher/whoever it seems most appropriate to apologize to.  You can be there for support while she apologizes.  The school might wish that she help clean it off, or the apology might suffice.

 

Regarding her friend... yes, it does hurt to lose a friend... poor girl.  I don't think it's the friend's brother and sister's place to tell her whether or not to be friends with your dd.  But it might be that the friend came to that conclusion herself and the brother and sister are just "standing up for her".  Do you know?  If not maybe you could call and have a chat with her mom to try and get some insight?  If the girl genuinely doesn't wish to continue the friendship, based on things that have really happened between them then I think your dd needs to accept that and work on "letting it go" (with your continued support - it sounds like you've been doing a great job in that department mama).  If the girl doesn't want to continue the friendship because she's being pressured by her sibs, or based on misinformation then it seems worth the effort to work it out (mediation at school, privately between the families... whatever you feel is the best way to go).  Based on your OP it's hard to know exactly what's gone on between the girls, and I realize it's likely that you too might not know the whole story.  Whatever happens I would talk with your dd about apologizing to the friend for trying to implicate her in the graffiti incident.  I know that action came out of hurt and maybe she can find a way to explain that to the friend.

 


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#6 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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Do you have any idea whether the friendship was wobbly before your dd wrote on the desk, or whether the graffiti incident cause the breakup?

 

I could see a couple of possible reasons why your dd what she did:

She really likes the girl and wanted to write her friend's name.

She was mad at her friend and wrote the friend's name because she was mad.

 

I can also see why, once it was "discovered" she wasn't going to own up to it, especially in public. She was probably embarrassed and ashamed.

 

I would try to see whether you can figure out what was going through her mind when she wrote the name -- I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the fact that she lied. I'd simply say "Hon, this is in your handwriting. I know that you've been having a hard time with your friend and I want to see if we can work together to make this better. What was going through your mind when you wrote this?"  When she says "I dunno" you can maybe give her some choices.

 

I would see if there's a quiet way she can make amends -- if for nothing else to make her feel better and to show her that even if you do something that you don't own up to right away, you can make amends. I guess I'd talk to the teachers about that; I'd talk to the teachers about her friendships and see if either there's a way to repair the friendship or if there are other kids who your dd can hook up with to expand her circle.

 

From my friends who have 8 year old girls, the girl-girl friendships can be very tumultuous at this age. A couple of good books are: Playground Politics: Understanding the Emotional Life of your School Aged Child and  Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children.


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#7 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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I am sorry that your daughter is having such a hard time.  It is so hard when our children are hurting.  What I would suggest are three things  1) Talk to her. Let he know that you know she did the graffiti and see what she says.  Empathize with her about her feelings of sadness and anger over this friendship.  Also let her know that doing the graffiti is not a good way of dealing with this. This leads into number 2 which is talking to her about how the graffiti is wrong in that it defaces property, and also it tries to get another child in trouble (if that was her intention.) She may be wanting the other child to feel hurt like she is hurting.    3) I think it is important that she also makes an amend to the school. i.e. admitting to it; making an apology, cleaning up, whatever it is or combination.  I would suggest that you be with her to support her.

 

I think if it was me I would also want to contact the other parent. I would really want to know what was going on. You mentioned that your daughter was accused of lying. I would want to what this was about. Was she lying to get someone in trouble, were they lies of bravado (I can do something which she couldn't) etc.  What else was she doing? How was the other girl?  I would be wondering in the back of my mind - was she feeling bullied, frightened, etc.  What were the other kids part in this?  I would want to know so that I can have a bit more of an idea what may be going on for my child. So that then I could figure out a way to help.  Perhaps she needs more help in social situations, perhaps she is feeling inferior and is making things up,  does she need more one on one play dates with supervision. I would also be looking at the school environment. Is it a good fit for my child?  Does my child like being there?  Things like that.

 

When our kids are hurting they need both our support and guidance.  Things can feel so overwhelming that they can act out in ways that they are unable to fully understand.  We can help them try to navigate these waters by being a support to them as we both tenderly hold them and gently guide them forward.

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#8 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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I am sorry that you and your DD are going through this.  I am a teacher, so I feel that she should be encouraged to tell the school what she did.  You should be there to support her, as the others said.  I would let the school decide how they want to handle it.  They might ask her to clean it.  In the schools I have worked in, when something like this happens, the school has the child clean it during off hours, so that none of their peers see it.  That is a good way to handle it, I think.


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#9 of 9 Old 02-19-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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i did almost the exact same thing when i was in grade school. i do NOT remember the exact circumstances, as to why i wrote another kid's name on the floor with -- i think it was -- crayons. i did a tick tack toe pattern and signed her name to it. 

 

nobody found out, but it ate me alive with guilt for YEARS and i still remember it. although i don't worry about it anymore LOL (i'm 42), i can assure you that your daughter already (probably) has the shame and guilt and doesn't need that rubbed in her face by you. but it might be a big favor to her if you take this off her chest by confronting her about it, in private, yourself, and tell her that you know it was her work, and just talk about why she did that. 

 

in my opinion, you should let her guide the discussion about the incident, the friendship and what if anything should be done to make amends.

 

i would probably not go and tell the school. for one thing, they already saw it, i would imagine. and i would think they've dealt with similar in the past and have the materials on hand for removing such permanent marker on desk top. it will be the janitor's job, and oh well, not really the end of the world. 5 minutes work at best i would think.

 

the real issue is why she did this, you already know she's hurting. use this as your reason to break into her shell and boldly meet her in her pain.


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