Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Help! My kindergartner is being beat up & picked on!

I need your help. My daughter is having an issue with one of the children in her class. About a week and a half ago, M- was "fake sneezing" on K-. She thought it was gross and talked to the teacher about having M- stop. M- was upset about K- talking to Mrs. H-, so he has continued to be mean and do mean things. He has:

1. Made ugly faces at her. I told her to ignore them.
2. She tried to show him a necklace that I made her. She was excited about it, but being a boy he was not. She said that he ended up pulling on her necklace really hard. (No, it didn't break.)
3. He has told her what a mean and bad girl she is since she snitched on him.
4. He sat on her really hard. Yes, the teacher knew and addressed it.
5. He knocked her down and though K- didn't tell on him, classmates did.

I've told her to tell him good morning, but other than that, to ignore his bad behavior. I said that if he is speaking nicely to her, go ahead and talk to him, but not to let the bad stuff get her down.

I told her not to continually tattle on him. I don't want her to be viewed as a tattle tale. I asked her when the whole thing started if she had asked M- to please not do the "fake sneezing" on her and she said that she hadn't spoken to him. I told her that if she had talked with him nicely first, it may have been all she needed to do. (To her credit, I doubt that it would have helped, but I always want her to use her kind words first.)

I talked with her about apologizing to him about not speaking with him first. Later that evening, she said that the conversation went something like, "M- I forgive you." "K-, I forgive you, too." Then, she really thought it was water under the bridge. Later that day was when he plunked down on her hard.

M- has some behavioral issues. He seems to be an ADHD case or at the very least ADD. To function as a room parent and do parties is sometimes difficult as he is demanding and can be disrespectful.

The teacher is aware of the situation between them and disciplines accordingly. I don't want to be THAT mom who continually says, "But my child isn't being treated nicely by . . . " I want to give K- good tools to use and not always come to her rescue. I want K- to be able to function on her own, though I don't want to leave her high and dry either.

Beating him up is not an option.

Speaking to him disrespectfully is not an option.

Help me. I don't know what to do. Please don't think that I'm saying that my child is perfect. If she does something wrong, she fesses up to it. If she makes a bad choice, she'll tell me/us. We talk about different/better choices that she can make in situations such as this. At this point, I'm out of suggestions. Ugh.

Smiles in my day:
- My seeds arrived! They sent me a free package of seeds. I'll be sending Rachael out her goodie pack of share seeds probably Thursday.
- We walked to school today. Well, it was a challenge since I didn't realize that it was slick. It was a very light mist on our way. I slid multiple times and K- actually fell. (She's okay. Hubs was holding her hand tight.) On the way back, the mist changed to snow and made everything even more slick. Hubs actually went down. He'll be okay, but he cranked on his wrist pretty hard. It was nice to see Mr. Jim. I'm glad that he was there, as someone blew the crosswalk on our way back. That's the third time this year.
- K- is set for swimming lessons. They changed the day though! They are on Sunday now and not Saturday. Because of the change, she'll miss the first class as we are scheduled to be out of town, but that is fine. The first time she took lessons, she missed the first class because of a chlorine burn on her legs. (Sensitive skin and she went in the hot tub with me. She ended up having to be put on antibiotics and I felt like an absolute horrible mother. She didn't even want to go in. I did. Argh. Never again.)

I await your advice. Help me please!


Sheila said...

The only thing you didn't specifically mention was praying. That's my best recommendation. You are doing all the right things. The teacher is on it. Try praying for a bit. Parenting is hard - my oldest is 13, and it's just hard in a new way. :) God bless you.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

We went through the same exact thing with M. The only difference is that the other boys mother called me to say that M was picking on her kid (not so, but I couldn't call her kid a liar). We basically let the teacher handle it and told M to stay as far away from the boy as possible. My last advice was "I don't care if he punches you dead in the face. Say nothing, turn around and walk away". This boy torments the other children then blames them for it and he never seems to get into trouble. He's not a bad kid, he just has learning disabilities that are finally being dealt with. I see positive changes in him already. There's only so much that you and K can do.
My only other suggestion is that if it continues and if he continues to put his hands on K, call the teacher and request that they be kept apart as much as possible. Just explain that they must be having a personality confict and that it would be best to separate them for the time being (I did that).
OY, I really dislike these school issues. I don't remember having things like this happen when I was in school. Now we each have a child going through it and I know others that do too.
HUGS to you both. I hope it works out. Sheila's idea of praying helps too.

Melissa said...

You are doing everything right. This too shall pass. That said it seems that he has a crush on K. Thats the way boys that age show it.

Harper said...

It sounds like you're doing a great job. I know what it's like for your child from personal experience. Unfortunately, the only thing I can say is that the likelihood of this bully stopping because his your child is ignoring him and turning the other cheek is next to nil. That solution rarely works. Since the bully is physical, I would make sure that there are mechanisms in place to keep your child safe should the physical harassment continue or escalate--including your child's ability to act defensively (I don't necessarily mean hitting back, but how to block an assault and how to fall in such a way that avoids injury). Don't worry about your child being labled a tattler--squeaky wheels and all that. When I was in school, whenever I stopped complaining about bullies, teachers assumed that the problem had gone away or I had decided I liked the treatment. But most of all, make sure you keep the lines of communication open. As your child about which strategies work and which don't. The quickest way to shut down communication is for your child to decide that you don't have anything useful to offer.

Real Life Sarah said...

This exact thing happened to my daughter last year. A few boys were horrible to her, ever since preschool, saying all kinds of violent things to the girls in the class.

Honestly, I had to make a stink. The school counselor told me "boys will be boys" and I said ABSOLUTELY NOT! Normal boys do not threaten to dismember girls! She routinely came home saying she hated herself and didn't know why the boys were so mean to her.

He said that they had to work together to teach the boys how to act. I told him that MY job was to make sure that my daughter would be safe at school, and that I would do everything possible to stop this. I even considered taking her out.

In the end, I had a conference with the teacher and principal, and the boys' parents. I wished I'd done it sooner.

My advice is to take this seriously, and don't fall into thinking your daughter is exaggerating. (unless that is her character to do so). At the very least meet with the teacher, and take it farther if needed.

I really hope it gets better, it breaks my heart to see little kids picked on like this. If she were older, she may be able to handle it on her own.

Mom2fur said...

(Sorry this is a long reply.)
Real Life Sarah has the right idea about a conference! Parents, kids, teachers and the principal should all sit down together to address this.
You have every right to be THAT mom who says, "my kid isn't being treated nicely..." etc., etc. If not you...WHO???
This might get me in trouble, but ADHD and ADD are no excuse for tormenting another child. Someone needs to work with this kid before he gets too big and too old. If he's like this in kindergarten, what will he be like as a sixth-grader?
For the record, there was a kid who had it out for my son in the fifth grade. He would get on line behind him just so he could kick him. I called the school about it and the problem was addressed, and my son never had trouble with that kid again. But after that, we signed him (my son) up for martial arts classes to help build his self-confidence. Although Michael did struggle with mean kids all his school years, I'm glad we stepped in when we did. I'm sure that the main reason he survived was knowing he had parents who stood behind him 110%!
Good luck, and if nothing else--remember that school will be out in just a few months.