Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ballerinas behaving Badly

Today, Bella came out of ballet very upset that one of the little girls in the class was ignoring her.Apparently, there was an incident a couple weeks ago when Bella ( being that she is 5) told the little girl, "You are my best friend" to which the little girl responded, " NO, I'm not your best friend. So and so is my best friend!"  And another incident previous to that one where Bella brought her friend on bring a friend day and wanted to sit by her, this other little girl sat between them and basically was  friendly to Bella's friend but excluded Bella. Bella was very upset that day, as well. Friendship has been a big theme lately at our household. I think it has a lot to do with being new to this entire kindergarten situation. It's like everything revolves around who your friends, sounds a lot like high school.

Anyways, I've always been a big advocate of the "to have a good friend, you've got to be a good friend" mantra.Hell, you've all heard me preach it...time and time again. To an extent, I do believe that. Well, I certainly believe it...if they are in fact your friend. Now, it has recently come to light that there seems to be, what I can only classify as "mean girls" in the elementary girl set. I can't even believe I am saying this because it sounds so freaking ridiculous. But believe me you, I'm finding this all out the hard way. Not so much the boys, but it seems girls learn very early on about this competition amongst one another. I for one am an advocate of sisterhood and that has been what I have been trying to instill with all this To have a good friend, you've got to be a good friend  business.

But what do you do,when your child is heeding your advice and giving and giving some more when the other child is just taking and even worse..rejecting. I want my daughters to give people chances and not judge them by first impressions, but its hard to teach this when my girls are the only ones adhering to these rules. There's only so many times I can watch my child, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, approach another child only to have the other child ignore or reject my child. I'm not going to lie. It pisses me off. I try to teach my girls to be nice, respectful and giving in their relationships and I am watching it being met with unresponsiveness or insincere responses. I don't necessarily think that these parents aren't teaching their kids how to behave appropriately. I just think that I am around a lot more and so by being there, my girls follow the rules and it also gives me the opportunity to see the other children sometimes ( some more than others) behaving badly.

Today, I had enough. I had enough of Bella getting upset. I had enough of her feeling rejected. I had enough of this other little girl ignoring her hellos and goodbyes. I had enough of this little girls smart ass comments. She actually told my daughter, "I'm better than you because I am older and can dance better!" WTF? She is older. But my daughter is younger...and was placed at the same level. You do the math. This little girl used to be her friend. We moved away. Moved back. And the kid has metamorphosed into a full on raging mean girl. I know, how awful do I sound referring to a 6 year old as a raging anything? I'm sure there is a special place in hell for me...but I'm also pretty sure that kid is going to be there right with me.

So, I took my little girl's sweet little tear stained face into my hands and I told her "Forget about her! You don't need friends like that." To which Bella responded, "Yeah, because she is mean and stupid and she won't let the other girls play with me." Me: " Bella we don't call people stupid (even if they are). When you see her if she says hi, say hi back, If she doesn't, just act like you don't care!" Am I wrong? I can't keep telling my little girl to turn the other cheek when every which way she turns, this little girl is metaphorically slapping her in the face...and harder each time. I don't know what is motivating this behavior.I don't honestly care. I just refuse to teach my kid to be a doormat to others. Maybe I should teach my girls the 3 strikes you're out rule? That gives people an ample amount of time to redeem themselves, right? Of course, even under those circumstances this mouthy little girl would still be left in the OUT pile.Happy Mothering! Does this ever get any easier?


  1. I may not be a mom, but believe it or not, I am a ballet teacher! I'd say to chat with the teacher about the behavior in class. Often there is so much going on in the one hour, that little conversations like this go unnoticed. I always appreciate when a parent confronts me about an issue going on in the class. I'd try to put her near a child that is friendly, and keep a close eye on the "mean girls" to squash the bullying. After all, they are still young enough where you can manipulate some of the behavior- and the last thing I like to see is tears after ballet class!

  2. I think you are intervening too much. Steering Bella too much. Every Bella needs to get her slaps in life (better earlier) so that she can make correct choices about the people close to her in later life. Don't coach her on when to say "hi" or not. She'll be polite because you are. Give her freedom in her friendships so that she can learn and grow. I am giving you this advice so that I can take it. I learnt the hard way. (I once ruined one of my own friendships because of the bad relationship between my child and that of my friend). BIG MISTAKE! These days I listen and then I ask "So what do you think you'll do?" "Is that a good idea?" And coach her on trying to consider the consequences of all her behaviours. ALSO later in primary you'll find your kids telling you all sorts of things about their classmates based on their own have great perception but are not always great interpreters. I trust Bella will dance her way through this. GOOD LUCK TO HER!

  3. No. It's always something at sometime. You just roll with the punches better. My son is so laid back that he allows people to push him around. The boy can fight, but won't. It's hard to teach them that everyone isn't friend material, and friends stick together. Just hang in there, it will work itself out. Bella will begin to stick up for herself.

    I noticed that Bella said that she wouldn't let the other girls play with her either, I may would bring that up to the dance teacher. I only mention this because I noticed this in one of my classes (not to this extreme, but a "mean girl" excluding another and involving other kids in it), and I paired them off so that the one girl couldn't talk to any one other than her partner for the rest of class. And the girl being excluded was included as much as anyone else.

    I would mention it to the teacher, at least she can keep an eye out....this year my class is over crowded and it would be easy to miss something like that.

    Good luck, it doesn't get easier, you just get better at it!

  4. This is a tough one. Too many parents are sitting back and just allowing their children to rule the roost at home. Too many children are bullying and being bullied. My best advice is this...follow your Mommy Instinct. We all have one. It is so important to maintain a relationship of love and trust with your daughter(s)....keep loving her, keeep seeking her heart and if you can seek the heart of the other children, that's great. If the pain is too much, then step back, if you must so that you do not hurt them....if you can, maybe have a 'tea' party with the other child/mother...maybe there's something else going on, like jealousy. Little Tea parties are great...esp when they're kept small. Again...follow your Mommy instinct and protect your daughter's fragile heart.

  5. I agree with Rebecca - follow your Mommy Gut Feeling! Protection is in our nature when it comes to our young! 8)

  6. Bless your mama heart! Is there anything worse than seeing your child's heart hurt? We went through the same. exact. thing. with our Gracie, while she was in a Christian-Scout group. Crazy, huh? Love Rebecca's response.

    There's a difference between a lil' girl spat and being bullied. If this girl is separating her from the other girls, I'd say that's a clear sign of bullying... which needs adult intervention. Your daughter will appreciate it, feel loved, and safe.

    In our case, talking to the scout leader made a big difference. She didn't know it was happening, and when she found out... she handled it like a pro.

    I hope this gets smoothed over quickly... for your sweet girls sake.

    ((((huge hugs to you and your girl!))))

  7. @ The Sneezeweed, I would certainly do this if the teacher were not 16 herself. I don't think she is equipped to handle this sort of situation. I asked Bella if she had said anything to the teacher about the way the other girl was behaving towards her.Bella said yes. I asked what the teacher said and Bella said her response was "I feel bad for you". Yes, that was beneficial.

  8. @ Purple Cow,
    I thank you for your insight. I am not telling Bella when to say hi and when not to with everyone she meets. I do let her take her slaps and I do let her choose her own friends. Its just that this particular girl has been giving her "slaps" for the past month. I'm tired of my child feeling like something is wrong with her. I refuse to send her directly to the mouth of the lion. I'd rather her just not approach the child.If the little girl wants to be civil by all means I have told Bella to return in kind. I'm just not going to keep making excuses for the other kids behavior. Some people in the world are just assholes.Actually, the child's Mother and myself are friendly. Fortunately, yesterday the mother herself witnessed my daughter saying bye, the other little girl not responding ,her mother told her to go say bye ( remember these two have known each other for 3 years) and the little girl walked directly past my daughter and ignored her own mother. Her Mother look mortified because she saw that I had witnessed the entire situation. Hopefully, the mother addressed the situation on the drive home.We shall see.I am sorry that the relationship between your child and your friend's child ruined the friendship between the adults but I must admit, I think a true friendship between parents can weather a child argument. Of course, if it is just a casual play date relationship probably not and if that's the daughter's feelings come before any casual acquaintance relationship that I've ever had. I think if the girls were slightly older or this was the first time this same child has done this, I would be more likely to let Bella take her "slaps" but as it stands I have to guide her in some way.

  9. @ Rebecca,
    That is a great idea. The girls have known one another for 3 years and are in the Nutcracker together (both snowflakes) so they have to see one another 3x a week. They used to be friends. I may try setting up a play date/ tea party maybe the 1 on 1 time would be beneficial for the two girls to work it out.Thanks for the support and the advice!

  10. Wow! This is a tough situation. I guess my question would be what is your motivation for "to have good friends, is to be a good friend".

    If it is only for polite social interaction it probably would never pan-out, but if it is rooted a deeper more meaningful belief system, then you should stick it out.

    Just because other girls are mean does that give Bella any more justification to be mean? It's hard to teach kids to take the high road when they are 5 and 6 because everything is so literal. Today's "mean girl" will be tomorrow's "BFF" so a soft place for Bella to land would be my "mommy advice" . . .

    You don't know me, but I am your newest follower from the "North Pole" . . . thanks for following me. (FMBT)

  11. One of the most difficult things about putting your child out into the real world to make friends outside of the Playdate Bubble, is letting them handle their own issues.

    Unfortunately, boys go through this crap too, and sometimes you find out just how mean other children can be (and even worse, how mean their parents are!). I have always gone with my gut, intervened when I felt it was needed and backed off when I knew they could handle it. It seems to have worked so far.

    Hoping Bella has a much better ballet class next time and maybe the issues will be resolved soon and they'll be back to holding hands and drinking tea again soon! :O)

  12. The only thing that I would share with my kids is something about bullying in general. What it is and the best way to handle it. I wouldn't point out any specific situation. They will know it when they are living it. The best way to handle a bully is just to laugh at them. A bully is trying to make them feel small. Don't let them do it. Laugh at them like they are the biggest moron they have ever met. If they can show that they don't care. The bully will then feel like the small one and stop. I think girls get more verbal bullying from other girls (usually in 1 on 1 situations) and this would shut it down.

  13. Oh that's so hard! Isabella my eight year old deals with this sort of stuff. When someone is mean to her, even one of her "friends" I explain to her that little girls (and bigger girls) just don't know how to be a good friend yet. They won't learn how to be until they are out of high school, so the best I can do is to tell her that and to say that all she can do is be nice and kind to everybody, and when she see's someone else that been left out or someone has been mean to them, to ask them to play.

  14. Debi! First - this breaks my heart - I have another friend whose daughter is dealing with mean girls (at age FOUR). I agree you need to go with your mommy protective instinct, and teach along the way, just like you did. You are a fantastic mom. Second - I missed your bday celebration! We were on vacation, so I've been offline for almost a week, so behind. But happy happy bday, lady!! xoxoPeryl

  15. Oh, there is a rash of this going on.

    I just posted on it yesterday.

    My little Baby E is getting teased and taunted about his curly hair to no avail. I"ve gone to the parents, they have said to me, "butt out. That's how it is with kids"

    Meanwhile, my little one cut his own hair to get rid of his curls so the kids quit calling him "curly girly hair."

    Sucks. Some parents allow it.

    Different styles of parenting. Sometimes you just have to see it that way AS LONG as there is no physical harm.

    It's not clear cut, or black and white. And it sucks. But it is everywhere. And some parents just don't care about it.
    Poor thing. I'm with you.

  16. I tagged you in 8 questions- check it out here!

  17. By the way, there are a lot of books about how to handle bullies on the market. They give how to recognise a bully checklist, and get kids to home in on signs that there body gives them that they feel uncomfortable (eg. queezy stomache, sweat, etc) plus how to handle bullies. (Not so much at this age, but worth keeping in mind!)

  18. Debi, that's so horrible. Unfortunately there's not much the teacher can do. You could being it to her attention but she can't make the girl be her friend. She can tell her to be nice but is she going to comply? My guess is no.

    The turning the other cheek lesson is perfect but it totally sucks for Bella. Maybe if you see it, just mention how mean she is being to Bella. Hah I totally would!

  19. It's so hard when you do everything you can to teach your own child how to be a good friend and then she is faced with a "mean girl".

    I think you are right, you just need to listen and help her learn how to deal with people like that. I like the 3 strikes you're out rule. Then...maybe she can move on and hang out with girls who know how to be good friends. I do think it's our job as parents to guide our little ones and correct "naughty" or "mean" behavior so I really wish this girl's mom was in the know. Maybe she is and chooses to ignore it..I don't know.

    Keep on giving your daughter the power of words and self confidence so she can deal with others like this girl. Sad but true. Good Luck and I hope things have gotten better for your daughter.


Love to hear your thoughts on my truth! Please leave some love, insight , or even disagreement with mine. I believe in free thought and speech. Happy Mothering!!