Thursday, March 8, 2012

Parenting Question

Frances has a good friend at school in another classroom. He just so happens to be a boy.  They both like Star Wars and Dr. Who and other geeky stuff like that. She frequently plays with him at recess. I don't think she really has any good girl friends at school. Sometimes that makes me sad, but I have talked to her about it and she doesn't seem to be upset about it, so I try not to put my feelings on to her.  Anyway, back to this friend.  The two of them play together enough that the other kids have started teasing them.  They say she loves him or that he loves her. She has tried telling the other kids that she doesn't love him, but they keep saying it.  It hurts her feelings enough that she has been upset about it when she gets home. Yesterday when I picked her up from her afterschool program I saw her yelling at a little boy as she was walking out to the van.  When I asked her what was going on, so she he was teasing her about being in love with this boy.

I remember being on both ends of this type of teasing as a kid. It hurt my feelings then, but had no lasting damages.  My question is-What is the appropriate way for Frances to handle this?  I don't think running to the teacher every time it happens is a practical solution. I have spoken to her teacher so she is aware of it.  Most of the time it happens at recess when the kids are less-formally supervised. (Meaning there are teachers around, but not all the kids are within earshot.)  I have told Frances that it is okay if she does love this boy.  That loving our friends is quite normal.  That doesn't seem to help, because this seems to be the k-i-s-s-i-n-g- in a tree kind of love that kids tease about and she knows the difference.

I'm not sure there is a good answer to any of this, but I would love some input from other parents.  Thanks!!

4 comments :

  1. We used to be advised just to ignore the teasers, but that doesn't work very well. Here's what I have seen that works better. I got this from a school counselor in a school that actually does work on preventing bullying.

    Frances needs to say something like this to the kid: "You're being mean, and I don't like it." She needs to look him in the eye when she says it, and she needs to say it loudly and emphatically, but she must not shriek, cry, yell, or indicate weakness in any way. The kid is likely to crumble in some way. Like "Um . . . well . . . but you love him!"

    Lather, rinse, and repeat. She needs to hold her ground but just do it as telling the kid the rules with great emphasis. You can practice this with her at home. You can even bring Ken and Henry into it. Well, maybe not Henry. But it's still good for her to practice this until she feels comfortable with it. If you and she want, I will tease her the next time I see her, and she can practice on me. (As long as she understands that I am helping. I do not want to make your kids feel uncomfortable.)

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  2. Thanks Melissa. I would like to see her more assertive. I wonder what a response like, "yeah. So?" would do. I'll talk with her about the practicing too.

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  3. Andrea CriscioneMarch 8, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I like Melissa's suggestion. I obviously haven't had too much experience in this yet, but I would suggest a kind of bland "eh, whatever" response. If she's not reacting in a way that shows it bothers her or shows emotion, hopefully they'll just eventually give up. Let us know how it all plays out.

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  4. We started watching a few episodes of the old Family Ties series on Netflix...sounds about like Season 1, Episode 3:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0577329/

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