Kindergarten Cliques: How to Handle Preschool Bullies

Okay, I’ve just added jujitsu, taekwondo, and karate to my martial-arts-to-teach-my-kid-so-she-can-beat-bullies list.  I have briefed my five-year old, and told her to leave no stone unturned and beat the living daylights out of her mean classmates.  I have just finished polishing all the heavy artillery in my arsenal and am ready to bring out the big guns when my daughter goes back to school on Monday.

Before I let the war-freak in me pounce on those bullies without batting a false eyelash, I am going to breathe deeply and count to ten- backwards- and let the calm, collected, poised, and smart mom in me take over.  That’s a difficult feat, I have to admit.

I had the feeling that something was amiss when my daughter came home from school one day with an unusually dejected look on her face.  Normally, she’d come home all jumpy and eager to tell me how her school day went.  When I asked her what was wrong, she told me, “Mama, Teacher said that classmates should love one another.  But why are some of them not nice to me?”  Although there hasn’t been any physical violence, some of her classmates tell her things which clearly have affected her.  Alarms went off inside me, and I had to restrain myself from screaming, “Off with their heads!”  Oh, the nerve of those kids to be mean to my angel of a daughter!

So, what do you do when your kids are bullied?  Short of pulling out your copy of Witchcraft for Dummies and casting a spell on those kids, you should first try to stay calm- unless of course, there has been evidence of physical abuse.

You should definitely let the teacher know.  She’s supposed to be the mom in school, so she should step up and sort things out.  She should be well-trained to handle such cases, and make recommendations for therapy for the bully, if deemed necessary.

Talk to your kid.  Tell her that she doesn’t deserve to be treated that way.  Remind her that she is doing a good job at being nice to them, but if they’re not nice to her in return, she should walk away and not be friends with them.

Boost your kid’s self-esteem.  What’s happening is certainly crushing her spirits, so try to help her regain her confidence by getting her involved in activities which hone her talents and skills.

Teach your kid to stand up for herself.  A little sassiness wouldn’t hurt.  With your kid’s renewed self-confidence, she should be able to know how to fight back without turning out to be the bad guy.    You can help her practice assertiveness at home, by encouraging her to always be open about how she feels about anything.  She should learn to express herself and not allow others to put her down.

It’s never easy fighting bullies.  That “I speak softly, but I carry a big stick!” attitude can be very well put to good use in such situations.  Practice is the key, I guess.