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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a daughter who is in second grade. I volunteer in her classroom once a week, so I have a chance to see all the kids in her class on a regular basis. I have noticed that the kids are extremely critical of each other, both in the classroom and out. They pick on the smallest things ("You painted your cat BLUE? Why would you do that?" "I can't even read your name the way you wrote it." "You like raisins?!?"). We were at a birthday party this weekend, and my daughter had made a card for the birthday girl that said "I hope you enjoy being 8!" The girl immediately said, "You wrote 81!" and when my daughter explained that it was an exclamation point and not a 1 after the 8, another girl said, "Well, we can't even read it because there's so much stuff all over it." (My daughter had indeed spent a long time decorating it.) I wouldn't think that much of a comment like that if I didn't see that kind of behavior ALL THE TIME. Is this typical of kids this age? Should I say anything? Should I mention anything to my daughter about it? I would love to know if other parents have observed this kind of constant nitpicking among their children's friends and classmates. I find it very depressing.
 

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I do see it and it very depressing. The way I see, we can only talk to our kids about the way they should be with others. And explain (if we can) the situation.
 

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I do see it and it very depressing. The way I see, we can only talk to our kids about the way they should be with others. And explain (if we can) the situation.
Interesting, I have a 9yo and I haven't seen what you are describing. Are you (and the pp) in a high ranked school district, by any chance? I am just curious.
 

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Interesting, I have a 9yo and I haven't seen what you are describing. Are you (and the pp) in a high ranked school district, by any chance? I am just curious.
I'm curious about the same thing. I work with 2nd and 3rd graders in a low SES school and I seldom see what you describe. It happens sometimes, but the response from adults (and from other children) is to ask if that was a kind thing to say, or to simple state, "that wasn't kind." But our school really, really stresses kindness.
 

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I live in a state that has a high rank in Ed. I wonder if that plays a role in the way that these kids treat each other? :shrug

I homeschool by the way
 

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It sounds like dd's former school. I hadn't seen it first hand but had heard about it from dd. Is it possible to talk to the teacher without it looking like you're interfering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We live in Florida, and my daughter's school is ranked B+. The school does try to emphasize kindness, but I just don't see the message trickling down very well. I've noticed that the kids are also (not surprisingly) very critical of themselves. They're always pointing out how bad they are at this or that. I'm interested to hear that some other parents have not seen this type of constant fault-finding at all. I was wondering if it was some sort of phase. Thanks for your input.
 

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Bullying was one of the issues dd had at her last school apart from getting bored. Dd had been told many mean things over the years. She simply didn't play much with the girls because of the catty comments. My take on it is that if the teachers have more kids than they can handle (23+) then they cannot pay attention to bullying simply because they just have too much else to do. I work as a substitute and I know how much time complaints take up. If the school has extra budget they will hire help for the classroom in the form of an aide or a co-teacher. This reduces the student to teacher ratio. I think all schools and teachers want to do the right thing but unfortunately in the amount of time they have in a day they can't get to everything. Her school also encouraged kindness, doing the right thing etc. They'd have one day a year set aside for just discussing bullying and it's consequences but the rest of the days life went on as usual.
 

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I remember this kind of behavior being fairly common when I was young and when I was a Girl Scout leader. I see it among my son's peers too.

I also was bullied. The kind of comments quoted in the OP are not bullying. Especially if these comments are being made to most of the other kids (not just one or two) they are not bullying. Some of them aren't even necessarily criticism--maybe the other kid is just wondering why the cat is blue, is surprised that someone likes raisins (because he doesn't like raisins himself), etc.

What you are hearing here is a combination of inexperienced people not understanding how their comments might be perceived and not moderating their tone, and children imitating the kind of comment they hear from adults. I noticed with kids I knew growing up and with girls I had in Scouts that the kids who most often question/criticize what another kid is doing are the ones whose parents frequently question/criticize the kids. A real classic was when my son unwrapped a gift from a friend (6th birthday, I think) and ten seconds after he had the paper off, she was saying, "What do you say?" in a nudging tone that sounded quite nasty to me--but I thought, she's learned from her mom that that's what you say to a person who just opened a gift!

I agree that this behavior seems more common among high-achieving, upper-class type kids, and I think that's probably because they tend to have parents who are more concerned with getting everything right and less likely to trust that the kids can work it out for themselves, so they intervene and "guide" more, and maybe they do it in a kind and thoughtful way, but their kids who don't edit their tone or word choice as well and are less equipped to see another person's perspective may come across much more harshly doing the same basic thing!
 
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