Okay – I know that it’s generally a pretty serious business raising small, completely dependent people into decent, kind and considerate members of society who will (hopefully) look after us in our old age. There are challenges every single day from the second they arrive into your life and things will NEVER be the same again.
That in itself takes some adjusting to. Then they go and start school and a whole new world opens up. Along with the impact of your baby being exposed to hundreds of other children, all of whom have different life experiences and whose parents have different approaches to caring for their child.
I have to say that, in the main, we have had completely positive experiences. We are extremely fortunate to live in a catchment for a great school and one which certainly doesn’t face the challenges of similar sized schools in inner city areas or in other parts of the country. Our school is on a journey of improvement. The Head and his team achieved a huge amount in the two years we have been there, the vision for the future is clear and the ethos of the school is so positively holistic I truly believe my child is safe when she’s at school.
My daughter has blossomed since she’s been at school and the changes in her are just incredible. A sensitive, academically capable girl who confidently gives pretty much everything a bloody good go. From music to sport she loves to get stuck in. But, like every parent, the forming of friendships has been a real worry for me. Our work pattern means that it’s impossible for us to incorporate after school play dates into our week and weekends are crammed with typical activities of tennis & swimming lessons, shopping, laundry yada yada yada. And, like all parents, I want to know that my child has positive relationships with her peers.
So when you see your child suddenly having nightmares, appearing nervous and anxious and just generally being ‘not herself” (in fairness to her that’s all the detail I’m willing to share about how she’s being affected) it is heartbreaking. All the more so when, during a long and emotional chat you realise that what is currently happening at school is nothing short of bullying.
As a person who routinely hates to make a fuss and generally plays things down, I am worried of being over dramatic in using the B word but can’t think of an adequate alternative. It’s more than girls being girls. It is a single individual in the class using her dominant personality and deliberately seeking out my child and being intentionally unkind. Behaving in a way which hurts my child’s feelings and making her feel left out. Making her feel anxious about any school time which is not class room based.
It’s not the first time. It’s not isolated incidents. It’s not just my child who has been on the receiving end of this behaviour. And it’s not acceptable. Enough is enough. I will not tolerate one spiteful, unkind individual making my child unhappy. But since having the girls, I am far too emotional to speak to the classroom staff!
Thankfully Daddy has no such issue. Thankfully the teacher has responded to our concerns in a positive way and has outlined the steps she will take to resolve the issue, tackle the child and reduce the potential for interaction between the two girls. Alongside this we are encouraging our child to make decisions which distance her from the other girl wherever possible.
And for now, that is pretty much all we can do. We have to trust in the school to do all they can to support our child. We will do as much as we can out of school to build her confidence and develop coping strategies. And I will continue to feel utterly out of my depth and amazed at the propensity for such young, innocent children to be so deliberately unkind.
I read this blog post recently and it totally resonated with what we are experiencing at the moment.
Have you had a similar experience? How did the school deal with it? How do you strike the balance between protecting your child and being over protective?