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Preschool Bullying?

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Jrazz posted 4/9/2013 21:00 PM

Ok, we all know I'm more than a little sensitive. Let's make sure we're clear on this.

That being said, I've been trying to take with a grain of salt the reports that DD had last week and this week regarding kids pushing or hitting her. There have been 3.

I talked to the teachers and they said they'd keep a look out but hadn't noticed anything unusual. DD3's primary teacher reported back to me that there was no inordinate physical contact lately.

So tonight, as we're sitting down to dinner, Crazz asked DD3 how school was today. DD3 scrunched up her face, hung her head, and said "Jessica hit me. And Avey hit me too. On the noggin. I told them no and they told me no. I got the teacher and she helped me." THIS after I independently observed both girls ignoring her when I came to pick her up today. She was playing alone in the corner.

So many thoughts and emotions...

Good for DD3 to know to go to the teacher.

If this actually happened, WHY THE EFF did nobody discuss this with me when I went to pick her up??

And finally, why the effing eff does it sound like 3 year olds are ganging up on my daughter? My heart is aching and I'm trying to bed down the urge to pick up these kids and hurl them over the play yard fence.

DD3 had reported that the "kids were pushing her" last week, and said that the boys were "mean and scary." I know that toddlers have an imagination, and that this is new for her so there could easily be some embellishing going on. My gut is SCREAMING at what at what she told us tonight, and I need to know what to do.

Obviously I'm going to go talk to the teachers, and the Administrator on Friday when I take her back. I just don't know how to go about this without getting overly emotional or protective. Please help.

[This message edited by Jrazz at 9:01 PM, April 9th (Tuesday)]

cayc posted 4/9/2013 21:06 PM

I have no advice ... I'm sure the parents here will have plenty of helpful things to say.

But one thing I want to tell you is how awesome it is that your daughter feels comfortable asking a teacher for help and then confiding in you what happened. I could not have relied upon my mother that way, even at that tender age, so I envy your DD so much that she has you in her corner. Please don't discount the value of that for her in her eyes.


Jrazz posted 4/9/2013 21:13 PM

Thanks cayc. If it's possible, I was both heartened and brokenhearted in the same moment.

simplydevastated posted 4/9/2013 21:29 PM

Do I need to fly out there? That daycare will not want to see me coming.

Ok, you know my DS9 was in daycare for a while and he did have a few issues with some kids, few and far between though. I'm not sure how the regulations work in CA, but the center our son was in was in CT. The teachers had to report every bump, every scratch, every "anything" on the contact papers we had to fill out every morning when we dropped him off.

The first thing the teachers should've done was pull you aside and explain what happened, especially since little muffin went and found a teacher. Good for her for doing that by the way!

Absolutely go and talk to the teacher in her room AND the director/head of the daycare. You can word it as "I talked to (blank)teacher about this issue and now I'm bringing it to your attention. I understand things happen, kids may argue over toy etc... But I'm not happy about it and I would like something some."

That's how I've handled the issues at our old daycare. The director said to me that she would look into but for privacy purposes could discuss with me in detail her conversation with the other parents. But I did notice changes so knew something did get done.

I hope this helps. Don't be afraid to be little muffins voice.

(((Hugs))) to you and muffin.

tesla posted 4/9/2013 21:33 PM

Well, gosh, my little guy is in preschool and usually there aren't more than 12 in a class + the teacher and an aid. The time should be fairly structured, so the opportunity for hitting or pushing to occur *should* be minimal. Preschoolers aren't able to 'gang' up on each other, nor are they able to bully like we think of it. If your child was hit or pushed it probably has something to do with more basic needs. The hitter was angry, wanted something, wanted something to stop, thought that something was unfair. The fact that your child sought the teacher for help and was verbal instead of reacting by hitting back is very, very good. WHy didn't you hear about it? It's possible the teacher dealt with it and felt it was taken care of. Perhaps it wasn't a big deal (although it seemed like it to your kiddo and stuck out in her mind enough to tell you). If she feels like she's getting attention for telling stories about being hit at school, it's possible that she may embellish them. Or it's possible that the teacher and aid are not monitoring their students close enough.

When you talk to the school, I would ask about how structured the day is. That will probably give you some good insight into what is going on.

Teslet's preschool is very structured but even then we had an issue with biting. (Teslet being the biter ) He was trying to get a classmate to do something and the classmate wouldn't do it. So Teslet got angry and bit the kid. Luckily, the kid wasn't hurt...his parents weren't mad. And I was able to work with Teslet on talking to the teacher to get help before taking matters into his own

Jrazz posted 4/9/2013 21:54 PM

Thanks ladies. Like I said, I'm sensitive. I will talk to them tomorrow. IT's not one of our regular days but Crazz is going to stay home so I can go over early and hopefully talk to them before the day gets rolling.

I'm realizing she's going to be out in the world with the crazies and it's terrifying. Sigh.

simplydevastated posted 4/9/2013 21:56 PM

Good luck, you'll be fine.

veritas posted 4/9/2013 22:09 PM

At the daycare my daughter attended, there was a biter. And not just an occasional biter, but biting multiple kids each day. Given the hoops that daycares have to go through, I was a little puzzled as to why they kept him on so long. I was told that my disabled daughter would probably always be a victim because she couldn't fight back.

So I started talking to other parents and the workers up front. I eventually got the story that the biter was somebody who worked at the daycare's nephew. So I started talking to other parents again. A few days later, the biter was gone.

When you're dealing with a private setting, justice will not always be on your side. Talk to other parents and teachers and you might get a better picture of what's going on.

[This message edited by veritas at 7:49 AM, April 10th (Wednesday)]

Chrysalis123 posted 4/9/2013 22:10 PM

It is so hard with our littles, isn't it?

I teach 5 year olds, and what i know is that they are very unaware of personal space.

I will often have a kid tattle on another for hitting, when what really happened was the tattler got too close to the hitter, while the hitter was putting a coat on and accidentally hit the kid. Stuff like that happens all the time.

Kids often assume aggression when in reality it was inadvertent.

This doesn't mean your child was not being bullied. Just something else to think about as you go in to investigate.

KBeguile posted 4/9/2013 22:10 PM

Our DS had problems, too. There was definitely bullying going on, but he lacked the vocabulary to properly explain it. We pulled him out, and Heart watches him at home now.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 4/10/2013 05:43 AM

I do day care for ages 6wks - 12yrs. One thing to remember is a 3yo has no sense of time. What she says happened *today* may have actually happened *3 days/weeks/months* ago.

I have a 3.5yo girl in care right now. She is constantly telling me that her brother hit/pushed/said a bad word etc. Which I'm sure he did, but it just wasn't *today* as she claims (He is 6 and in school all day! So it's verifiable. )

I'm not saying your dd isn't being bullied, and if I were the parent I certainly would want to look into it. Just sharing from the other perspective.

Yesterday the kids were dancing - which when you are 3-5 years old includes spinning an waving your arms uncontrollably. This same 3.5yo girl cried that *Susie hit me!* Yes, she did, but it was during dancing and was unintentional.

I'm sure that little girl, if asked how her day was, would say "Susie hit me" - and no, I did not even think to mention it to the parents at pick up time.

authenticnow posted 4/10/2013 06:21 AM

Lucky2 makes a good point.

When I taught preschool I've had parents come to me and say things like, 'M said J was mean to him and that he didn't get to play on the bikes.' That was M's interpretation of what really happened, which was, we have only 4 bikes and 10 kids. M's turn was over so I say, 'M, it's J's turn now, you had your turn on the bike.' M starts crying because he didn't want to get off the bike, J walks over and takes it from him because it was now his turn.

Or, two kids using blue crayons and M wants one and there isn't another of the exact same blue, so M going home and telling mom that those two kids were 'mean to him'.

By all means, I encourage you to investigate. Of course you should express your concerns to the teacher. I'm just saying to go with the knowledge that sweetiegirl's interpretation of the world is in her own 3 year old mind. (which is beautiful and wonderful and I'm relaying these anecdotes because I used to get into such 'mama bear mode' when mine were little, and then I became a preschool teacher and I realized what the other side looked like, lol).

Sad in AZ posted 4/10/2013 06:32 AM

When DS was in preschool, my first parent/teacher conference started with "DS is a great kid, but..." He was bigger than most of the kids his age and if he wanted to get something and someone was in his way, he'd just barrel through or over them. The teacher understood that there was no malice in his actions (this was a Quaker school, too) but I can just imagine what the other parents were hearing from their kids and what they were saying to the teacher

He'd also come home with the strangest words. He was laughing hysterically one day, saying, "David say schmatta!" and called everyone schmatta. I thought it was a made up word, but turns out its Yiddish for dirty rag.

I'm not saying you shouldn't check it out; what I am saying is there may be a context that you don't see or understand.

Mack9512 posted 4/10/2013 07:31 AM

Nowadays most daycare facilities have CCTV systems (in my state it is required for insurance purposes). If you really want to know what is going on ask to see the recordings.
My DD goes to summer camp at her old daycare and last summer there was a bulling incident that became physical. At the time the victim of the bullying stated that my DD was part of the bullying but the recordings showed my DD pushing her way into the middle of the fight, then standing over the victim. She then proceeded to push away the 4 boys that were pounding on the victim. It was actually pretty impressive. My DD was a premmie so she is small but she had not problem jumping in to help her friend. My heart swelled with pride, but I did have to tell her that even though her actions were admirable she should never do that again.
Unfortunately in her rush to see justice done, my DD accidentally kicked the victim when she came charging through and that was why he thought she was bulling him as well.

Jrazz posted 4/10/2013 11:22 AM

Thanks everyone. Had a 6am chat with Crazz and we decided that going in on her "off" day might be construed as too dramatic under the circumstances, so I'm going to wait until her Friday drop-off to speak to the teacher(s).

I was thinking of calling the Admin to ask her what her policy on this kind of thing is, if the teachers do in fact observe bullying or clique-ish isolation. Good idea or am I leaning towards overboard again?

Kajem posted 4/10/2013 11:42 AM


I would call the admin and ask regarding the schools policies. Your child goes there, you have a right to know how they handle every situation known to happen to preschoolers.

Like veritas my DD3 and DD4 went to a daycare that had a chronic bully. He would hit, kick and bite no one was immune to him. One day he did something to DD4 (2yo) and she was screaming. Daycare called and told me what happened. Later in the day all the kids were on their way outside and this kid was running to go out.. DD3 allegedly put her fist out in front of him as he was running by. He claimed she punched him. When asked by the teacher DD3 told her "He accidentally ran into my fist." They called me and told me they chalked it up to an accident, but they were secretly glad she did it. But don't tell the kid.. and could I talk to my DD about 'accidentally hitting'.
And I did.

But the daycare director and I still chuckle when we see each other.

BTW the bully never bothered either of my DD's again.

Hugs, it is so hard being a parent sometimes.


click4it posted 4/10/2013 15:47 PM

Oh J, that sucks. I cannot stand bullying at any age.

You going to talk to the teachers and Admin is great. I hope they will be more alert to what's going on in school. If anything, it will get their attention and let them know you are not going to just let this "slide".

This may be unpopular, but I told my boys that if someone hits them to go ahead and defend themselves. Yes, there is always talk of "just walking away, telling an adult, etc.", which is perfectly fine too, but honestly I feel the old school way works just as well for the child too if they feel they are being attacked. Sometimes, this is the only way to get another kid to say "hey we can't pick on her, cuz she'll fight back!".

Anyway, I hope it gets resolved because I know this was already A VERY difficult decision for you to make to find a school/daycare you liked.

metamorphisis posted 4/10/2013 16:18 PM

It could be bullying and it could be misinterpretation but anybody who works with kids in that capacity welcomes a good open dialogue or should. So I think going in and having a chat and saying "I've been so worried about.... can we chat for a few minutes?"

You'll get a good gut feel from the conversation. Sometimes with that many children things just get missed and children are pretty adept at knowing when the adults aren't looking.

I can't say for sure if it's intentional. My experience with that age group is that it's rarely sneaky and malicious but you may have an aggressive child in the group who needs to work on their coping strategies. Regardless, I don't think there is any harm in talking about it and I actually think it's a really good idea to put everyone on the same page

pmal64 posted 4/11/2013 09:47 AM

my toddler son was a biter...
and I hated getting those notes in the afternoon! I felt so responsible! I would talk to him - which just seemed to roll off his back. after several incidents, I went to the daycare administrator (who had been in childcare forever) and asked what to do. I felt that punishing him several hours after the event wasn't getting anywhere as he did not even remember the event. she told me that at his age, he wasn't able to properly vocalize his wants/needs - so if the other kid didn't figure out what DS wanted/needed my DS bit to get it. so what we did was move him up to the next class who was a few months older. these kids didn't take no junk! DS wasn't in there a week when I got a note... oh,no I thought! turns out, DS was bitten by another child. the worker was apologetic and looked at me like I was going to giver her a good what for- when I said "good! I am sure it was deserved!"(she was astonished at that) I know many of you may freak about that, but I figured he deserved every tooth mark he had ... and he quit biting. so, talk with your teacher/admin. they are there to help.

this admin when she first started at our daycare had a parent/teacher/admin meeting. the one thing I still remember "I will only believe half of what your children tell me happens at home if you will only believe half of what they say happens here"

[This message edited by pmal64 at 9:48 AM, April 11th (Thursday)]

Jrazz posted 4/13/2013 05:50 AM

So here's the latest, unrelated yet somewhat related event. (Not the same kids, but an physical incident.)

Just had to get this off my chest as I just soothed DD3 back to sleep. This is the email I just sent the school Administrator.

Hello K****,

I felt compelled to write this as I've just soothed DD3 back to sleep after she shot awake screaming and recounting an incident that happened in daycare today.

According to the daily report I received, DD3 had her hair pulled by another child today. She was in a good mood when I picked her up, and the report indicated that the other child had been given a time-out and was made to apologize. I was also pleased to read that DD3 was coached on how to say "no" in those kinds of situations.

I understand that the afternoon staff (M******) was not there to witness but that she attended a meeting in which this was discussed. Although she followed protocol by not revealing who the child was, and I understand your need for privacy, she did indicate that it sounded like a somewhat difficult thing for DD3 to go through, particularly because it took a a teacher to "pry the child off of her" before her hair was released. I was also shocked to find about 15 loose strands of hair attached to DD3's hair tie which was waiting for me on the hook in front of her folder.

Because I discussed concern with (Teacher) earlier that morning regarding another student that DD3 reported as hitting her, I think the team wanted to point out to me that this was a separate and isolated incident. What was also pointed out to me in that reassurance was that DD3 was not targeted, as this student has had a history of physical incidents that were being taken seriously by (Center). I asked what the policy was for these kinds of things, and I was told that the parents had been informed of the incident. Again, I respect the call for privacy when directly relating to these kinds of things.

DD3 is a pretty good communicator, and a tough cookie. When I got her in the car she independently informed me that J**** had pulled her hair. This didn't come as a surprise, because she has told me on two other occasions that he either hit "my (her) noggin" or pushed her. She even reported that he pushed A******. Considering that these things are bound to happen in smaller doses with toddlers, and that it wasn't on her daily report, I figured that it was another day in the life at daycare.

I have never, EVER had to calm a sobbing DD3 from a nightmare. It makes me feel like what happened in the classroom must have been pretty traumatic for her, and it hurts my heart as well as makes me concerned regarding how much exposure she has to this child.

Your staff and school is wonderful, and I'm trusting that you've been through this before and know how to protect a class from a student that may have recurring or escalating problems with lashing out physically. I guess what I'm asking is at what point a child is asked to take a break or not to return after these kinds of incidents. If the staff had to intervene in order to keep DD3 safe.... if I found a chunk of hair missing (no blood), does this count as something significant and worthy of review?

I'm still pretty new to this. I'm trying to take with a grain of salt the fact that DD3 is highly communicative about physical contact because she is unaccustomed to unwanted touches and needs to practice defending herself appropriately, especially with her words.

I'm just sad and concerned because she's great a shrugging things off, and was crying and yelling moments ago (3:00am) and telling me that "J**** is a dragon and he's trying to hurt me (her)." This type of event is unprecedented.

Thank you for taking the time to listen. I would appreciate any guidance or support you may be able to offer.

Best Regards,


[This message edited by Jrazz at 5:52 AM, April 13th (Saturday)]

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