Monday, July 7, 2014

BULLY FOR YOU: LINDA RECALLS PHYSICAL BULLYING OF HER DAUGHTER

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Our BULLY FOR YOU guest postess today is Linda of PRACTICAL PARSIMONY. True to her blog's title, Linda regularly presents ways to save money. Today she shares with us the physical bullying her daughter experienced in her dance class and in school.


When my daughter was five, she took tap and ballet along with about eight other little girls. She complained about another little girl kicking her. I asked what were they doing. My daughter said they were all lined up, holding the bar, listening to the tap/ballet instructor. Well, they had on tap shoes. She said one girl behind her kept kicking her in the back of her ankle every day. I suggested she get in line in a different place. She said she did, but the girl would come and get behind her. L had bruises all the time from weeks of kicking. My daughter tried to solve the problem by moving and telling her to stop. She did not retaliate by kicking or yelling.

I suppose I sound like a annoying mother right now, but my daughter L was beautiful. She was the prettiest girl in the room and this annoying little kicker was a mousy sort. I can only assumed she fixated on something she was not to make L's life miserable. People on streets and restaurants mistake my L for Mariah Carey now that my daughter is grown. So, I am not the only person who sees something pretty there.

The next time tap class was held, I went inside to watch. I stayed out of sight and watched the interaction before the kicking. Okay, I watched through a crack in door that was partially open. I wanted to see if my daughter and this little girl were equally guilty before I complained. My daughter was not teasing the other girl, did nothing to instigate the kicking. As a matter of fact, my daughter was basically ignoring her and everyone else as they all listened to the teacher, all but the kicker. The kicker did look at the dance instructor but still kicked my daughter. My daughter could not turn and complain because the dance instructor had told them to face him and listen as they held the bar.

The mother of the kicker was sitting in her car, waiting for the class to end. I went to her and related what L told me and what I observed. She asked very defensively what my daughter did to her daughter. I told her she had better take care of her child's behavior!  After the class, I went to the tap teacher, an elderly man. He said he had never seen anything my daughter described, practically calling her a liar. I told him I had just observed the kicking and suggested he make a general announcement, then speak to the kicker. That ended the bullying.

THEN, my daughter was in the same public school classroom with the kicker in the second grade. UGH! She never bothered L until the winter. L came home soaked every day. She said the kicker accidentally spilled her carton of milk on L's chest, back, or hair every day. I told L to stay away from her. She said that she had tried sitting in a difference place during the milk break.

This time I called the principal. He said I should try to be understanding because the child's father had died suddenly the year before. I knew this and told him I was sympathetic but that my child should not have to be soaked in milk if the kicker needed therapy. I also related the kicking incident that occurred after father died. Since I called him shortly after 8 o'clock, I told him to solve the problem before break time because she had instructions to call me if she got wet again. If the problem was not solved/stopped that day, I was going to the school board and insist she spend time in therapy and be removed from my daughter's classroom since L was her target. I suggested maybe that more drastic efforts should be made to stop her.

L came home dry that day. I commented on it and asked how she managed to avoid the kicker/spiller. She was all smiles and said the principal came in during break and sat in one of their little chairs and visited. The kicker/spiller approached him, faked a trip and extended her milk carton to soak him. He reached out and grabbed the carton. I and L were vindicated because he saw what happened and surely realized it was a fake trip. So, my daughter was not a liar!

My daughter was instructed not to be mean to this girl but to just ignore her from now on. I thought any friendship that could occur might just be seen as weakness from this kicker/spiller and that she would be even more devious in her bullying efforts in the future.


This bullying was always physical, never verbal. My daughter was very sociable and the other little girl was not. Make of that what you will. As the mother, I was in agony at the fact my little girl was kicked and soaked, mostly in cold weather.

Every year, I chose my child's teacher. After that year, I reminded the secretary of the physical acts of aggression towards my child and made sure the bully would not be in my daughter's class because the kicking was an overt act that could not be called an accident and left bruises that did not soon fade. So, the bully moved to an overt, still non-verbal "accident" to torture and control my child every day of the school week for weeks. I worried what the little bully might think up next when she learned to be covert and maybe more verbal in her attacks.

Thank you so much for writing this post, Linda. I'm glad the principal acted. The kicking must have been painful for your daughter, and getting soaked with milk would have been uncomfortable. I'm sure it caused a lot of worry for you, along with the extra work of washing her hair and clothes. It's so sad that "the kicker" fixated on your daughter.

I encourage you all to check out Linda's blog and to leave her some bloggy love in the comments.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

31 comments:

  1. Hi, Linda! Thank you very much for sharing your bullying story. It amazes me how parents of bullies go into denial and become defensive when the parent of a victim brings bullying to their attention. They turn into spin doctors and public relations spokespersons for their children. We see it on the news every day - mothers of murders insisting the offender is "a good boy (girl)" who would never do anything like that.

    It's hard to believe the tap teacher never saw that girl kicking your daughter. Elderly or not, it's his job to pay close attention to form and execution. Kicking isn't part of the repertoire unless you're in training for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. And where was the teacher all those days when "Susie the spiller" was soaking your daughter with milk accidentally on purpose? Looking the other way, I presume. It takes courage, but teachers, principals, law enforcement, clergy, political leaders and parents all need to be willing to take action to curb the bullying epidemic.

    The only conclusion I can draw from your story is that the girl lost her dad and was acting out. She perceived your daughter as a beautiful girl that had it all and was everything she was not. Bullies make the mistake of looking at a potential target as someone who has a perfect life. None of us do. We all have our share of problems, challenges and heartaches to face. Sadly most bullies are so immersed in their own anger, bitterness, self pity and self loathing that they never stop to consider anyone else's feelings.

    Thank you again for contributing to the dialogue about bullying, dear Linda. Take care!

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  2. Mom did the right thing by staying on top of the situation. Too many parents ignore it for fear of being "that parent." So what! They only get one childhood. I'd be "that parent" any day, rather than force my child to submit to that nonsense.

    If they knew the child needed therapy or help, shame on them for not helping that child,too.

    Great post, Linda and Janie!
    Cherdo
    www.cherdoontheflipside.com

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  3. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as ignoring them or avoiding them. When a bully picks a target, they will almost always go out of the way to continue to bully them. Sometimes it's because they see them as weaker, other times it's because they feel safe with that target, other times they fixate on something about that target that they don't see in other people.

    I'm glad that you took action to make things stop. The fact that you wanted to get proof and make sure you were not getting an innocent girl into trouble shows a lot of compassion and integrity on your part. A lot of people wouldn't consider that perhaps their child had upset the other one somehow.

    I'm glad that L's problem was taken care of. I'm also jealous that she looks like Mariah Carrey. Is she as musically talented?

    Love,
    Rachel

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  4. Amazing how many people did not want to believe what was going on. Glad the principal acted. Odd, also, that the kicker's emotional state was an issue. What about L's emotional state from being bullied?

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  5. Oh dear, what an awful situation and, I sometimes think that, those in charge , choose to ignore it as it is a difficult thing to resolve. It just goes to show that you have to keep plugging away until you get it sorted. It's so good that Linda writes about it ….. it helps others who are going through the same situation.
    ….. and, on a lighter note, thank you so much for your lovely comment today. It means a lot.
    Have a great week. XXXX

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    1. I was pleased to comment on your very interesting post. The children are so sweet.

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  6. That's so sad that the bully was fixated on your daughter, especially when your daughter was ignoring her. It must've been some jealousy issue. Glad you stayed on top of the situation.

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  7. This was such a well-written but disturbing post. I guess I'm among the fortunate ones who never really experienced bullying. I was told to shut up a lot but that's expected when you're a chatterbox.

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  8. I am going to have to comment to comments here, because I cannot reply to anyone. I have tried for an hour.

    Shady,
    That puzzled me too--how no adult in charge noticed these things. Both teachers were surprised. If my daughter had whined and complained, she would have been the troublemaker, disrupting class. L was very amused that the principal almost got a chest full of milk, not for him getting wet, but that she knew how much trouble the spiller would get into. She went straight to school when her child was being bullied unmercifully when he entered preschool.

    All the proclamation of my "son was a good, sweet, kind, respectful child and should not have been blamed for this" always make me wait to see how many charges he has had against him. Often he abuses his mother. I know mothers love their own children, but I really was angry at my son, thinking he was in on the bullying of a very nice little boy. I tried to get my son to stick up for the bullied child. He said he did. At any rate, the bullied boy told me 37 years after the fact that my son was not involved.

    The kicker/spiller should have been in therapy if everyone knew she was suffering. I think she was jealous of my daughter who was very vivacious, laughing, talking (too much), and had lots of friends. This child was mousy and quiet before her father died. But, hurting my child was not going to be her therapy.

    Cherdo, I never minded being that parent. However, I was well-known as a room mother, scout leader, minister's wife, and involved with my children in another dance school and the swim team. They were going to listen to me. I wonder what success a less-present person would have had in protecting her child.

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  9. Silver Fox,

    I was absolutely amazed that the principal was only concerned for the bully's feelings and showed no compassion for my daughter's feelings. That is why I told him I would take it farther if he did not solve the problem that day. He never apologized for her behavior, said he was glad to help, never said anything to L to reassure her she was safe. But, the problem stopped. So, I was happy and had a strained relation with the principal. I just acted friendly because I had two in that school and another to enter. I did not want them treated shabbily because of my unwillingness to act like I was okay. I was not.

    Jacqueline,
    This was not just a squabble. It was deliberate attack and the same technique over and over, so it could not be ignored. My child was in agony because she knew she tried to get out of the child's reach. That helpless feeling she had just killed me.

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  10. Sherry,
    Yes, I do believe it was jealousy. There was nothing wrong with the little girl, she was just not the little beauty, firecracker that Lisa was. I had to stay on top of it. The mama has to stay the fight.

    Stephen,
    Thankfully, this was ended soon and she was young. L was always on the case of bullies when she was older. I suppose the bullies in school figured you were getting enough grief, so they just moved on to someone else.

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  11. Thank you for sharing, Linda. I'm so sorry your daughter had to endure this.

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  12. I came by to thank you for the good wishes for my hubs at Roland's blog (Writing in the Crosshairs). He is stable for now but sedated (heart attack). I appreciate any help getting him better.

    I also wanted to comment on the post above: my daughter was also bullied by little girls in middle school and last years of high school. All verbal: threats of being beat up by high school girls, even came to our house one night and yelled at my daughter to come out. I called local police and alerted them. Then two years down the road, a lawyer's daughter starts threatening her in the hallway where everyone in her class can hear. I went Mother Bear on these events and made the school system deal with the issue. They didn't suspend or expel the offending parties in either case. I suspect jealousy was the root of both these incidents. I did get support but I had to push for it. I understand how it feels to see your child get picked on for no reason other than animosity.

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    1. I'm so sorry about the heart attack, but I'm always glad to pray for anyone who needs it.

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  13. The simple fact that the mother turned a deaf ear to you speaks volumes. My youngest once hooked up with a bully on his school bus and shared a seat with the bully. Well, it seems the bully enjoyed verbally taunting kindergarteners, and unfortunately my son joined him. The mom of the kindergartener caught my son as the bus unloaded and screamed at him (he was in the 1st grade). Had she simply called me (we live in a small town, not hard to figure out what child belongs to whom) I'd have appreciated it. The way she did it? I called her and told her to never bully my kid again or I'd call the police. An adult approaching and screeching at a 6 yr old is uncalled for.
    (side note, my son thought my ire at the mom would save him from trouble, but no- this mom can multi-task and he was severed from a friendship and electronics. Kids will be kids, but they need adult guidance)

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  14. I remember bullying that was directed at each of my three kids. It was very upsetting and hard to deal with as school authorities didn't really want to address it. In one case it was directed at my daughter (and all females athletes) by a male teacher. I'm telling you, if I had it to do over again, I'd seriously consider home schooling. I realize that doesn't solve the issue - rather side-steps it - but even though each child learned to deal with the behavior in a positive way, it still leaves scars. Luckily, they are all happy, well adjusted adults, due to unending family love and support (and a fair amount of Mama calling the school!) Can't say how the bullies turned out.

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  15. Hi Janie and Linda - it seems you dealt with it so well ... but what a dreadful thing to happen to anyone .. my thoughts to one and all .. and congratulations on your beautiful daughter! Cheers to you both .. Hilary

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  16. what a horrible position to be in. so difficult to deal with, especially when they get sneaky. moving post!

    and thank you, Janie for commenting on my broken branch falls blog tour at crystal's!

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  17. I would have kicked back. Harder. Which is why I don't say much on Mondays.

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  18. Armchair,
    Thanks for the support.

    Elizabeth Seckman,
    I was so surprised that the mother was not concerned and blamed it on my daughter. Yes, that spoke volumes. But, I was determined to get peace for my daughter. No one should have to learn to put up with bullies.

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  19. Karen,
    You know I can find out how a bully of another little kid is doing. I may just call the mother. Her child did not bully my child, but idolized him.

    Hilary, thanks.

    Janie, I wonder why I cannot use the reply button on your blog. I know I have had problems with my blog, but this is the only blog so far where I cannot use the reply button. Sorry I am having to reply this way.

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    1. Hi, Linda. I have no idea why the reply button isn't working. Sometimes it doesn't work for me. That's Blogger.

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  20. People always assume it's the popular, pretty kids bullying those who are lesser in social status, but that isn't the case. In fact, when I was in school, I often saw people speaking very bitterly about popular people and even making fun of them where they could hear it. One popular girl was telling me that she went up to a girl who always dressed differently and asked if she wanted to participate in something she was doing. The girl spit in the popular girl's face...just because she asked her a question. It's jealousy and it's sad, but it's probably one of the least talked about forms of bullying you see among young girls.

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  21. I think Shady is spot-on.

    Doesn't it just make our hearts shrink up when we know our kids are being hurt???

    -andi

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  22. Wow. Now that's a mature way to handle things from a parental standpoint. I don't think I could be that cool headed. Must work on that one.

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  23. "She asked very defensively what my daughter did to her daughter...." It's always the same. Your own child can't possibly be an idiot or a bully, and parents get defensive when their child is criticized. Typical. And that principal person should be smacked and asked to be understanding.

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  24. Modern moms and children.... More aggressive than old moms from the sixties.....

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  25. Good for you that you followed through and supported your daughter. She showed tremendous self-restraint. I know what I was like at that age and if anyone had kicked me I would have been loudly vocal in outrage and if it kept up I would have kicked her right back...well, or more probably pinned her down on the ground and lectured her--LOL!

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  26. Oh how I hate it when the victim of a bully is called a liar it really makes my blood boil I feel once something has been reported the school should watch without being seen to see what is really happening and then take steps to fix the problem not that it is easy to fix the problem that I know as you said the bully can become very good at hiding what they are doing.

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  27. I do wonder what will happen to that mousy child who was bullying your child.
    I also am at a loss at how schools STILL do not know how to handle bullying. Granted back in the day kids threw fists, but it seems to have escalated to something much different these days.

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  28. It sounds like you handled it perfectly, Linda. It had to be so tough to keep your cool in those circumstances. It's too awesome that the principal got to witness the "accident" for himself.

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