Bullying....specifically as it relates to girls - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 43 Old 03-06-2009, 09:25 AM
 
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"are actually hurting and looking for a way to feel powerful" - For a long time this was believed. I still believe it is about power, but what new research is actually finding is that bullies feel very confident and powerful. And it's almost a gradiose feeling that allows them to behave this way. But I need to go read the research first hand, this was told to me. What I also dont' know is if it differs between girls and boys. I also do think that still some children fall into this category of hurting and that being the trigger point. Just thought I'd throw out there that not always can we address behavior thinking there is some hurt or lack.

to mamas. I went through bullying as a child, but my child while she's experienced mean kids I don't believe has experienced bullying.

I think the key in getting our girls to talk is to find opportunity and create hook questions. What I mean by that is come through the side door, ask about what science project they did and who partnered up...or who did they sit by in lunch. I know right now my anchors for dd apply to her school...what was for snack, who were the snack helpers, what was your job, who did your job with you, what were the stories, what did you do in art and science (if an art and science day)? etc. I wonder if you could go have lunch with her every now and then or pick her up a little early for tea...just to make a special event. Shake things up so that she is almost surprised to talk. But more than anything take advantage of every opportunity and talk about the silly stuff too...what magic power would you like to have? If you could be an animal what would you be...for that matter, what animal would Janey be? I've done that before with dd's classmates just to get an idea of her perceptions. Use drawing...have her draw her class doing something....

I'm glad ewe that you went to the lengths you did...our children must be protected and I'm sorry but bullying is not normal behavior and does not have to be tolerated. Our children need guidance on how to treat others, whether from example, discussion, gentle guidance, etc.

One other thought naismama is I wonder if you could use humor to help conversations?

This isn't too articulate, I have a little two year old boy climbing all over me....
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#32 of 43 Old 03-06-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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I agree that there is oftentimes something going on with the bully. In the very early years I would sometimes see a child who did not yet have the skills or desire to play with more than one child at a time-the group situation was overwhelming or threatening. I believe that I saw the child then attempt to isolate herself and another child into a small group of their own and through peer intimidation, maintain this small group. This was at first grade level. Just an observation, but my feeling was that there was a real need for social skills teaching among the whole group. Somehow this was perceived as a negative suggestion.
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#33 of 43 Old 03-07-2009, 09:21 AM
 
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Bizarrely enough our dd talked to me about K last night for the first time in her life without being prompted, seemingly dd and best friend were talking about how mean K was to them for a long time - I asked her if she would be able to cope with the bullying if it ever happen again, she quite confidently said yes, I also mentioned that K's mother wanted K to come and play on a Saturday morning with us last year - dd said 'I never knew that', I said that I knew and that I had said no to K's mother, dd then said thank you mamma for not letting her come, further into this discussion she decided that last year she wouldn't have had the confidence to say that she didn't want K to come play and that she probably would have said yes she would like her to come play if I had asked her. What amazes me is how manipulative this child was building one child up against another, dd also told me of stuff that this child had done that I never knew - I haven't listed the violence because of how shocking it is (or it is to me), what I am interested in knowing is that if a child capable of such violence both physically and verbally is conscious of the hurt they are inflicting? An older child I think knows, but does a child of 4 know, I mean really know what she's doing? Maybe i'm naive.

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#34 of 43 Old 03-07-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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Jumping in. Thanks, kerc, for starting this, and thanks so much BBM for contributing your writing.

Some scattered thoughts:
*I went to an all girls school starting in high school, and I wish I could have gone much earlier. This might have been the case of the specific school, but there was a lot of guidance and oversight with regards to "mean girls" and girl bullying. Occasionally some of the mean girl stuff would start up, and it would get nipped in the bud very quickly because the adults were aware of the problem and paying attention. This past fall, we had a situation develop where DD's seat mate would poke and pinch DD during the "silent reading" part of the day. My kid won't break rules, so she didn't say anything. I supported DD in her confidence that the behavior wasn't acceptable, and helped her find a way to communicate to her teacher (and I followed up).

*Girl scouts, with the right leader, is often a safe place for girls to build their confidence in a variety of situations. In my daughter's current troop, the leaders are effectively working with both the bullies and bullied (of the first grade sort) to make for a great troop.

*Someone mentioned up thread that this starts as early as 3, and there was some disagreement on that. I would posit that the behaviors of the bullies and bullied do start this early, as 3 is when kids are really figuring out gender roles at the same time as figuring out peer relationships. I'm seeing the same kids as bullies at 7 as I saw at 3. I also feel quite strongly that a lot of issues of self-esteem begin to develop around that age. It's certainly not set in stone, but patterns and habits start to develop.

I've taken particular interest in arming my daughter against these problems. I experienced them to the n-th degree in school, starting most intensely in 4th grade. Self esteem is a huge part of this, and the self-esteem need to extend to all areas of the self. I have huge confidence in my intellectual abilities, but I quickly lost confidence in social arenas. I see this in my daughter as well. As a result, we work hard to establish confidence and skills as a social being. I think this comes more easily to some than to others, but we're a family of introverts, and being social is taxing. So, starting early we:

*had frequent, short play dates with one kid at a time. This helps solidify friendships from school in an environment where I can keep an ear out for goings on.
*have zero tolerance of unkind words. Just as I don't want to raise the bullied kid, I also would like to arm dd against falling into bullying behavior. Especially when we have the neighbor 8 year old over, we spend a lot of time modeling appropriate ways to disagree.
*we spend time talking about DD's reactions to situations, and talking about her personality. Our goal is to let her be more reflective of situations and her emotions. Our conversation at this point is about kind words and unkind words, and words that sound kind at the surface, but really aren't. And we talk about taking control of how you feel despite what others might say. We have more control over our feelings than we do over other people's words.
*find environments that are not taxing for DD. Right now, that's a lot of swimming. She's thriving in the pool, and we are hoping that when she joins the swim team this summer, she will start to connect to people through that across age groups.
*we talk about talents, things that come easy, and things that come harder. Some thing take a lot of practice to master and others less. We work with DD to realize that some things that come easy to her (like reading or monkey bars) don't come as easily to others. If she points out her skills to others in a bragging way, it makes the other kid feel bad, while that kid needs more practice. On the contrary, things that come hard to DD (bladder control, spelling) come very easily to others. She needs to practice.

One more book to add to the mix: Growing a Girl by Mackoff. It focuses more on self-esteem than bullying in specific, but I've found it a great book on thinking about gender roles, a sense of self, and how we inadvertantly teach our kids what we want to avoid. {I did dislike the chapter on math skills, though, since the author assumes that the mom is not confident of her own math skills. That assumption bugged this physicist.}
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#35 of 43 Old 03-07-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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I think at age three I would question that it was "bullying" per se. I think at that age you are learning parameters of self and others. Empathy is a far away concept for a three year old.

I agree with you, that is why I called it bullying 'behaviour' as opposed to full-blown bullying. However, in my experience if these behaviors go unchecked I have observed them to turn into true bullying. In Barbara Coloroso's book she also states that some children and adults bully others because they feel contempt towards the victim, not because the bully has unmet needs. It is this type of bullying that scares me the most.

There is a wonderful program done in schools called "Roots of Empathy.'' I have yet to read this book, but I am wondering if anyone knows anything about it? Apparently it has been very effective in minimizing bullying in schools. www.rootsofempathy.org
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#36 of 43 Old 03-07-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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"Someone mentioned up thread that this starts as early as 3, and there was some disagreement on that. I would posit that the behaviors of the bullies and bullied do start this early, as 3 is when kids are really figuring out gender roles at the same time as figuring out peer relationships. I'm seeing the same kids as bullies at 7 as I saw at 3. I also feel quite strongly that a lot of issues of self-esteem begin to develop around that age. It's certainly not set in stone, but patterns and habits start to develop."

I agree wholeheartedly with this. I think it speaks to actually what I was trying to say, that these behaviors come naturally to many 3 year olds, but that this is the learning opportunity. This is where as parents we step in and guide our children in appropriate assertive behavior. Left unguided these individuals can learn that this style of behavior works and over time it becomes more and more entrenched.

zipworth - I think that's what the newer research is holding...is that it isn't unmet needs but almost a grandiosity. I find that hard to accept though for all children. I think there are those that this definitely fits, but I hope not all. That would sadden me for humankind.
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#37 of 43 Old 03-08-2009, 06:57 AM
 
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There is a wonderful program done in schools called "Roots of Empathy.'' I have yet to read this book, but I am wondering if anyone knows anything about it? Apparently it has been very effective in minimizing bullying in schools. www.rootsofempathy.org
Wow - I just looked at the site, it looks a marvelous program - I printing of some of the information in french and giving it to the school and the village Mayor - I think it looks fantastic. Thanks for that.

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#38 of 43 Old 12-05-2012, 05:09 PM
 
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Hereare some of the issues that I saw. Parents who refused to really look at the social dynamic. Parents who enjoyed the "special" relationships their children were having and had secondary gain for themselves via these relationships. teachers who refused to believe that bullying would be happening in their classroom, and thus were quite inneffective in protecting students. A wider school community with an on-paper commitment to an anti-bullying stance, but a pedagogy that made it difficult to really "get" bullying, and no real expert on staff to help people understand what girl bullying (relational aggression) looks like.

Bullying has to be gotten after from the moment you see it, IMO.

 I am experiencing these things with my dd1's school right now. she's very sensitive and empathic. it's breaking my heart. we've changed schools once already. homeschool is next. hoping it doesn't come to that. looking for help. reading "the highly intuitive child" right now. any other suggestions?


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#39 of 43 Old 12-06-2012, 01:06 PM
 
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*Girl scouts, with the right leader, is often a safe place for girls to build their confidence in a variety of situations. In my daughter's current troop, the leaders are effectively working with both the bullies and bullied (of the first grade sort) to make for a great troop.
 

 

I agree - Girl Scouts is a great program!  I just started a troop this year at my DD's school (she's in K).  The program really emphasizes acceptance and caring for others, and builds a team spirit. 

 

Actually, I can't believe how little bullying I see among the kindergarteners I work with.  They are kind to each other, constantly and sincerely complimenting each other, and have really accepted and befriended the girls they didn't know before.  I think DD's school has really done things right in this area. 

 

1. It's an immersion school with three language tracks, so there's a lot of talk about celebrating differences, and exposure to people who are culturally different.  I think that creates a atmosphere of acceptance. 

 

2. The teachers get to know the children well and place a lot of emphasis on social dynamics, i.e. encouraging the more passive children to speak up and the more overbearing children to tone it down. 

 

3. Maybe most importantly, they use an inquiry-based, student-led curriculum and I think all the children feel that their voices are heard and their opinions respected on a daily basis. 

 

I'm sure as DD gets older there will be more issues, but from my experience it is possible to create an environment that staves off bullying for a while at least!


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#40 of 43 Old 12-13-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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I see a lot of information about how to help children who are being bullied, but not much at all about how to help a child who has taken on the role of bully!  There are a lot of books and resources out there that encourage kids to stick up for themselves, but not much (that I've been able to find) that tells parents how to cope with a child that has finally taken that advice.  Perhaps to the extreme.

 

When my child first started school, she was bullied.  As the smallest in her class, this wasn't a surprise.  I was bullied for the same reason.  So was her father.  We knew this would happen (and her brother deals with it, as well, but boys just seem to hash it out and get over it so much more quickly.)

 

She started at a new school when we moved, and immediately butted heads with the school bully.  This girl was MEAN.  I would know.  I was her Girl Scout leader for two years.  This kid intimidated ME!  And when I spoke to her mother about it, she laughed and said "Oh that girl, she's such a character."  Um....

 

This year, my daughter ended up with a different group of girls, and after not too long, started coming home with tears in her eyes and stories of a new mean girl.  A girl that was formerly her friend.  I noticed, for the most part, the bullying stems from jealousy and fighting between the girls over who is whose "BFF".  There cannot be a group of three friends.  And whenever there IS a group of three friends, a power struggle ensues to decide who will come out as "BFFs" in the end.  It sucks.  And it's stupid.

 

So after it became clear that my advice of "Be nice to everyone, and they'll have no reason to be mean to you" was not working, I trekked into the principal's office for a chat.

 

It turns out....my daughter was the bully!  Wow!  My meek, shy little thing was the mean girl!  I was flabbergasted.  The principal acknowledged that it's certainly not a one way street.  That it seems to go back and forth between a bunch of them, and none of them are innocent.  But when I heard that a mother had actually come into the school crying, and freaking out at a teacher over my daughter bullying her daughter, I was mortified.  And confused.  And...lost.  What to do now?  My daughter has become the mean girl.  Years and years of telling her to stick up for herself caused her to just...snap... and stick up for herself.  But not in a good way.  To her, sticking up for herself meant putting others down.  To her, sticking up for herself meant mimicking what the other bullies had put her through.  It's the only way she knew how to deal with it.

 

So...where to go, now?  I have a pep talk with her every morning about being nice, and treating others the way she wants to be treated. But I'm not convinced it's working.  And I'm not convinced I can even trust her when she comes home and tells me that SHE'S being bullied, because she has already lied to me about it, this year.

 

I'm subbing, and am interested to see if there are any resources or help for familys on the OTHER side of the coin.  Bullies need help, too.  Or they can't change.

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#41 of 43 Old 12-13-2012, 10:57 AM
 
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I like the book The Bully the Bullied and the Bystander for ideas about dealing with each role and the boom Raising a Thinking Preteen for helping children develop more empathy as you work on emotional awareness as a family.
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#42 of 43 Old 12-14-2012, 12:18 AM
 
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that is a very valid point. I was always so afraid of disappointing my mom, doing something wrong, being mean, or not using proper manners. This was most important in our house. I never had my emotions validated. It just wasn't something my mom ever thought you needed to do for a child. She also over protected me so I never was given opportunity for growth and self confidence. I was raised to just obey authority.

 

 

same here.

 

my daughter was bullied a bit last year in 4th grade. It was her first year back in school after being homeschooled since kindergarten. Some girls were mean to her and kept keeping her out of things on purpose after they were supposedly friends and were just overall rude. I had a talk with one mother, she went to our church, but it finally eased off and now the three girls don't even talk that much, they all have other groups of friends. So it just got better on it's own.


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#43 of 43 Old 12-14-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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now that dd is in 5th grade and kinda settled with her puberty (some of her classmates havent yet. it usually happens around 11) i have rediscovered the world of bullying.

 

i really think we use this term very, very loosely. we use the term bully as a catch phrase for everything. when really it isnt bullying. mean girl and bully are not the same thing. 

 

amongst girls there is bullying and then there is cattiness. but calling the mean girl a bully i think is unfortunate. mind you doesnt mean the mean girl cant be a bully, but just assuming because she is mean, means she is a bully is wrong. 

 

so i feel we need to separate the two. esp. since we are talking about girls.

 

i feel its all about hormones and the emotional changes of puberty. girls just get horrible at around 3rd to 5th grade. all that is there right from the beginning in K, but in 3rd the cattiness really peaks. 

 

and honestly girl scout does not really help with that. its mostly girls trying to figure themselves out. the mean girl in second grade to dd was one of her girl scout friends who was going through a lot of mood swings. now there was a bully - who did horrible things including a lot of physical things like grabbing the nipples and twisting them hard, but the girl scout friend was mean - but not a bully. 

 

3rd 4th grade saw a huge peak of mean and catty girls. almost everyone was that including my dd. while my dd pointed fingers at others calling them mean, the other kids pointed fingers at my dd calling her mean. 3rd and 4th grade us parents had to be involved a lot in our dd's lives. we have had a lot of meetings. this is not bullying. it is mostly coping skills and trying to figure themselves out. figure out their role on the play field. meaness includes catty remarks, you cant play with that person, etc. this is NOT bullying. 

 

last year dd made one of her friends cry for days till teh mom came to me. i knew something was up but dd wouldnt talk about it. the girls were having a hard time communicating. dd is the type who needs space away from the person to heal and her friend was the type who needed to talk about it now and clear things up. so a clash of personalities. before the 4 of us met over icecream both the mothers tried showing our dd's the world through each other's perspective. i told dd that asking for space is fine, but be reasonable about it. dont take too much time. 

 

3rd and 4th grade was a mess. my dd was a mess. her classmates were a mess.

 

5th grade - wow what a change. most of the girls are so much mature and the cattiness is mostly gone. they are more empathetic and understanding. 

 

the mom wanted to meet with us recently too again but i said its time the girls figured this out on their own - and it has worked well so far. 

 

someone asserting themselves is not a bully imho. its more about trying to figure one's social roles out. and that can happen in K. some kids are more outgoing than the others.  ugh. in K dd adored one of those girls and followed her around. the girl bossed the other kids around. but dd soon learnt it wasnt fun always having to follow, and the girl fell from the pedestal dd had put her on. 

 

what has really worked for dd - is to be able to see through others perspective. when dd called another girl mean - i didnt jump on her bandwagon and call the other girl mean too. i dissected what dd meant. and it usually meant the girl wanted everything her way and wouldnt give dd a fair chance. so i told dd she would have to stand up and say her piece so her friend would know dd wanted to do stuff too. 

 

there was a breakdown of communication. in fact one thing i found absolutely brilliant. most of the girls took on two names. the mean girl name and the nice girl name. the problem was they did not want to break up their friendship, but they didnt know how to work together. dd has been through so many breakups. 

 

so we have to be a little more sympathetic to every single kid. not just our kid - but the kids around them. 5th grade is such a huge change it blows my mind. 

 

so be careful when you use the term bully. are they truly bullies or are they just trying to navigate the social rules. 


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