Mothering Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
746 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few months ago, dd (4) told me a little girl in her swim class (there are only ever 2 or 3 of them in there) told her her hair is stupid. We are Af-American, and dd wears her hair in cornrows, sometimes with beads. I have told her that the little girl shouldn't have said that, and that sometimes people say mean things about things they are not used to seeing or don't understand. That seems to satisfy her, but she keeps bringing this up every few days, particularly after the Saturday swim class. So now, in addition to having the word "stupid" being introduced into dd's vocabulary and used all the time<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">, I have to constantly reassure her that there is nothing wrong with her hair. This wouldn't bother me so much if dd didn't keep bringing it up. Is repeating the same thing over and over again (that the girl was rude, dd's hair is beautiful, etc.) good enough or is there something else I should be doing or saying to dd? We are very much a minority where we live, and I worry about dd's self-esteem being impacted by such experiences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
880 Posts
Oh mama, I am so sorry that your little one had to be on the receiving end of this <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I find that kids this age are individuating, and 'learning' to play with meanness, power, and tend to pick up on role modelling from older siblings/kids, especially when they get negative attention. My DD's first mean experiences from other kids came at this same age...in preschool, from the neighbour kid. I have seen, though, that meanness one day could also lead to best-friendness the next.<br><br>
Having said that, I don't know the age of the other child (4?). If she was older, yes, she *should* know better, and someone is teaching her horrible things. Some kids are born/made into bullies, and that is who they become.<br><br>
After some angst, DH and I made the bullying situations that happened to our DD into wonderful learning experiences, in that we talked about people being mean, how sometimes they are sad or scared themselves, and don't know any better. We also role played responses so DD had the vocabulary to react instead of internalizing it. We did a 'strength' chart - for a while, she got a sticker when she talked about something strong, like standing up for herself or another child, or even something like speaking up in class. She loved it, and became quite resilient.<br><br>
Another thing we did was to ensure she had playdates with positive, happy, loving kids to counteract some of the negative experiences. That really helps them build confidence and a sense of self worth.<br><br>
You can't change other people, but you can teach your DD to integrate and respond to things in a positive way.<br><br>
I hope that helps...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,612 Posts
I'm so sorry that happened. I have no idea of what might be the right thing to do or say, I am dreading the first time something like this happens with my own daughter. She's just such a sweet little thing, the idea of her coming up against meanness brings out my own mean side.<br><br>
Is the little girl STILL telling your daughter stuff like this? If so, I think you'd be well justified in going to her parents or the swim instructor with it at this point.<br><br>
Hugs for your daughter and you, and good for you for continuing to build up your daughter. I feel like the world tries hard enough to knock them down, it's our job to fill them up so they can weather this kind of thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
I am also so sorry this happened to your daughter. We are always fighting the negative hair image issue (my DD is 3.) Some things we do are point out women and girls on TV and magazines who have beautiful, curly hair. We tell her how nice her hair is. But she still wants straight hair so badly. I'm not saying your DD wants straight hair, but it's kind of the same concept--not being satisfied with the hair you have because of what you see or what someone else says. (I'm White, DH is African, so the kids are biracial, with DD1 having very, very, very curly hair with a caucasian texture.) We've talked about how we are all different, made to look many different ways, etc. She still will cry because she wants straight hair. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"> Anyway, other than building her self esteem and talking about how people say mean things, I don't know what else to say.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
746 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You know, in general, she seems to really like her hair. Tonight I put her hair in twists (like the ones Malia Obama wears sometimes) and she loves it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">. Also, MamaEli, dd and I have the same hair, so I really think that helps (from your posts it seeems like your hair is straight? I would imagine that might make it harder for your dd--that's tough). Part of me thinks she is trying to process the word "stupid" and why it was applied to her hair. We don't use that word at home.<br><br>
I guess it is the ages of the girls? The girl who made the comment to my dd has just turned 5 and is in school. My dd is 4.25 and is not in school. Cascadian, thank you for the suggestions, especially role playing. We'll try that!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Cascadian those are great ideas! Role Playing is such a great way to help LOs process things and get a bit prepared for future potentially difficult interactions.<br><br>
OP I also think that if you're way in the minority where you live, as much as you can you should try to visit places where you're in the majority. African-American neighborhoods of big cities, or small towns... anywhere that you are majority. That can be a life-changing experience for a child who is used to not seeing people who look like them around them. And it can be incredibly empowering.<br><br>
One other tactic you might try if your DD is still bringing it up, try focusing more on what you can teach her about the kind of person who tells anyone that they're "stupid" and focus less on hair specifically. So maybe talk about which kids in the neighborhood (cuz you said she's not in school yet, right?) say mean things to other kids. Maybe talk to you daughter about how people who say mean things are often sad about something, and that it feels much better to say good things to people so you and your DD will try to look for people who like to say good things and hang out with them.<br><br>
I know she's got the whole hair thing stuck in her mind now, but it can help the situation to focus more on the other girl's behavior and less on hair to see if that helps your daughter shift her focus on the situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,233 Posts
As someone previously stated, role-playing is awesome. Also, putting the child around other kids or situations that are positive and empowering is a great idea.<br><br>
But I would avoid assigning motive behind the bullies' actions.<br><br>
First, emphasizing that a child who bullies is sad/victimized him/herself removes power from the victim to feel she should defend herself. At young ages, learning empathy is important, but having too much of it for the wrong people is harmful.<br><br>
Second, you really don't know the other child's motivation for being mean so assigning "sadness" to it may not be true. There are plenty of bullies who do what they do while being happy and appearing quite well-adjusted. A LO who sees this while being told otherwise, will be confused and may even think they deserve to be bullied.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top