Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm not allowed to slap other people's kids, right?

Are you sure? No, I didn't think so. But that's sounding like a GREAT IDEA right now because I'm going to see a kid who has been picking on Sophie at her gymnastics class tomorrow. A mean girl.

She repeatedly cuts in front of Sophie in line. She told Sophie she was bad at doing various tricks. She told her she has a big butt. WHAAATTTT??? Those are fighting words in my book. It's wrong to call a child a bitch, isn't it?

So Sophie and I discussed why someone would treat another kid like that. She's probably not happy about about herself. Maybe other people treat her that way somewhere else. And we talked about things Sophie could say back to her: "Why are you looking at my butt?" "Are you having problems at home?" We laughed a lot, and I don't thinking it's dampening Sophie's spirit, but I don't want her to have a favorite weekly activity spoiled by something like this. After all, it bothered her enough to tell me about it.

So what to do? Probably not a good idea to confront either the kid or the mom. Got that. Should I talk to the instructors? The director? Leave it alone for the kids to hash out on their own?

Any advice will be appreciated.

14 comments:

polo888 said...

slap the kid! but on a more serious note, you are a great mom. Sophie is lucky to have you. Hope this doesn't keep her from enjoying gymnastics

Kate said...

Is it bad to try to talk about it with the other mom? I guess the concern is that if the kid sucks she likely gets it from her parents. If it's not a kid she would see at school or anywhere except that class, then the instructor sounds like a good choice.

carolyn said...

Your instincts were right to talk to Sophie first and help her with some replies. Next, before you talk to "the mom", is talk to the instructor and him/her set some ground rules (and watch out for Sophie). If that doesn't work go to the director and then let them go to the mom.
It's so easy to just react but you're spot on my thinking this is probably the way the kids is being treated. Lucky for your Sophie she has a great mom like you.

Jen Yu said...

omg, you are such a good mom. i'd have bitch slapped that other kid to kingdom come. tell soph to tell that kid to be on the lookout for a pissed off asian chick with some phat tele skis who is gonna whoop her ass - first with one ski... then with the other. that pisses me off. hugs to sophie. xxoo

Purple Flowers said...

I'm with Jen Yu, but if you can't do that, then I'd follow something like what Carolyn said. The Instructor first. IF this kid is having problems at home, the Mother will most likely become very defensive to you. Who knows, maybe the mother is getting put down by the father, and the girl is repeating his behavior(acting out). The instructor and director have a responsibility here.
I am so glad that Sophie felt she could come to you about this. You have such a GREAT daughter, and she has a GREAT Mom! Keep the spirit.

Mom on the Run said...

Nine times out of ten kid like that have a mother who thinks princess can do no wrong, so talking to her would be my last resort if going to the instructor, etc. did not work. This happened in ballet with J1 when she was about that age (long, long story) and was eventually resolved by the director herself. Another time, a girl a year older who lived in the neighborhood next door and also went to our church was harassing J1 on the bus. One day after group time at Sunday School when the kids were leaving to go to their classes, I stopped her for a minute and said, "do you know who's mom I am?" She nodded and then I said, "am I going to have to have a talk with your mom about what's been happening on the bus?" And she said, NO MA'AM. And that was the end of that. Granted, that was a long time ago, and from what I hear kids are a lot more bratty and parents are a lot more lenient, so that may not work in this day and age.

I hope you find the right solution for your particular situation.

Gabriela said...

Are you familiar with the term "zero tolerance"? Yes, I'm sure you are. A mother's job, among others, is to be an advocate for one's child. It's not easy being an advocate but it's the right thing to do. It will raise the issue to the gymnastics gurus and it will send a strong message to your daughter that you are in her court and will defend her to the end. This gesture will go a long way in preserving Sophie's self-esteem. It will also teach her right now, at the inception, that bullying is not to be tolerated. I somehow doubt you want Sophie to play the role of victim when she's in middle or high school, or ever. My suggestion: talk to the gym, talk to the mom if possible, and continue to give Sophie the tools with which to defend herself. The tools and courage to speak up. Teach her to use the word "bully" loud enough for the authorities and other parents to hear. As in "Why are you bullying me?" This way she cannot be accused of name calling. She needs to learn the word "ridicule" as in "Why are you ridiculing me?" I speak from experience. I also taught my little girl to never allow anyone to lay there hands on her. I did some role playing with her where my duaghter played the role of the bully and I played my duaghter's role in order to demonstrate to her how to react. I showed my daughter how to use her forearms in an outward motion to remove a bully's hands from my daughter's shoulders. This way my daughter cannot be accused of hitting. Tell the bully's mother that Sophie's being bullied and that you want it to stop. If it gets ugly, then tell her you won't hesitate to get a restraining order on the woman. Sorry to be so lengthy on this.

Impoverished Preppy said...

Ok, I guess I'm the odd one out here - but honestly, I think you have handled it perfectly thus far and I would let it go for now and see how Sophie does at the next class using the "come backs" you talked about with her. Chances are the girl will see that Sophie is not an easy victim and will stop. If it doesn't stop after that, then I would talk to the director.

But seriously, you have given your daughter terrific advice and prepped her to deal with the situation. This could be a tremendous growing/learning experience for Sophie. You've given her the tools to be a strong, compassionate young lady, and I honestly think it would be doing her a disservice to go straight to the director or other mom without giving her a chance to try resolving it herself.

Cindy said...

Thanks for all the great advice. Sophie and I did a stake-out before class so I could see who the girl is and learn her name (Sophie's fairly new in this group and doesn't yet know all the names), and . . . she didn't show up!! Sophie observed that perhaps she was off being mean somewhere else today.

I did talk with the director though, and she said they have two ways of handling it: talking to the class as a whole (without singling out anyone) about what they expect from the kids ("Be safe, be kind, . . . ) and talking discretely with the individual offender. I also like the idea of Sophie dealing with the girl on her own . . . to a point. I guess it's all a good lesson, just a tough one for both of us. In the meantime, your support means a lot.

Kate said...

We are hving problems with another little girl bullying Caroline (AND this is in PRE-K!!) I met the mom one morning and it all made sense:(

What we have told her to do is similar to some of the things you have told Sophie to say. We tell her to look the girl in the eye and tell her that she doesn't like it and to stop. We've also talked to the teacher (who was already aware of the situation.)

The mama lion part of me once to handle it Jen Yu's way!

The Mrs. said...

OMG! Get her!

Jennie said...

So, rewind back about 16 years to when I was five years old. I was in gymnastics class and sure enough there was a nasty little girl who would not stop picking on me. She sounds just like your daughters bully. This girl even stole my legwarmers and you know how cool legwarmers were in the 80's! I ended up quitting the class.
I think your gave Sophie some great advice. I wish I had that back then. Good luck sticking it to the bully!

erin said...

Talk to instructor first. Make sure she is aware of it and can talk to class as a group. Then - if that doesn't stop it and halt it... go to the director. Stay away from the other child and parent. Good luck.

heretohelpyou said...

Kids deserve to be hit. There. We are off now to help proper people not none of you namby pamby, heutie teutie, should beat him or not lamo's. You all should have been beaten to death as kids then you would have a better understanding of how to raise them good. Anyway hope this helps. Ta ta!