Aren’t these supposed to be the golden years of innocence for our children? My daughter is coming home from school with murmurs of bullying. She’s not yet 7, but many of the children in her class are. I talk with other parents and hear of the talk of ‘gangs’ and one girl ‘firing’ other children from the ‘gang’. It seems there is a dictator in the class and she likes her ‘gang’ to do as they are told… or else. I heard today that the same girl put soap into a couple of other children’s drink bottles! The same girl bullied another girl last year, to the point that the parent asked for her daughter to be moved to another class!
Unfortunately, my daughter doesn’t tell me a whole lot about her day at school. I can gauge whether or not she’s had a good day by her general mood. Sometimes she talks to me in a voice that’s not her own, or with new language that I deem inappropriate in our home. I know this is part of growing up; to experiment, to test what is and isn’t acceptable, to push the boundaries and see where they lie – over and over again. However, when there is a negative influence in a child’s class it means the amount of ‘bad’ language coming home for me to put a firm foot down on is more than I’d like to be dealing with, especially at such a young age.
It really concerns me that I know so little of what is happening in the six hour’s she’s at school. It worries me that the hour long lunch break is barely supervised and the only role models my daughter meets in that time are her direct peers, with few adult ears around to listen and steer the interactions in a positive direction. Some may say, ‘It’s good for them, gives them a chance to socialise with other children,’ but one only needs to read ‘Lord of the Flies’ (William Golding) to see what behaviour children will get up to when left to their own devices.
‘We want our children to socialise so that they develop the skills required to function effectively in adult society. This does not happen by osmosis from other children. It happens as they imitate the mature people around them.
While being with other children is a chance to practise their social skills, all too often their behaviour degenerates to the level of the child with the lowest skills.‘ (Phil Astley, NZ Home Education)
It makes my heart ache when my daughter cries in the morning that she doesn’t want to go to school. That I have to ask her to write down her grievances so she can talk them through with her teacher. Thankfully, her teacher does listen and is good at suggesting solutions. I find children are so perceptive and if they feel that they are not genuinely being listened to then there is the very real danger that they will stop communicating about what is troubling them and bottle it up.
Thankfully, today was a good day. Everyone went to bed happy and I’m one happy mamma when that happens 🙂 But the issue of bullying weighs heavy on my thoughts. Included in the links below is a link to other people’s views on the issue and whether they think enough is being done to address bullying in schools.