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Should she stay or should she go? January 27, 2011

Posted by phoenixaeon in Schools, The Principessa Files.
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Hmph. I’m not sure what to do…

 

Last night, I discovered that the things Princi has been saying about the way a girl in school has been treating her is true. She’s been saying it for a while now, and although I believed her I was certain it wasn’t as bad as she was saying. Now, it’s never stopped her from going to school – she loves school too much for that – but I’m worried it will at some point.

 

This girl, E, was her very best friend during nursery. Then, in Foundation, some aggro began to grow between them. Princi would come home every night saying that E had been hitting her and saying nasty things to her, then telling her that no-one else in the class liked her. It turned out that E had been going home and telling her mum that Princi had been hitting her, too. Her mother pulled Grandand up one evening and told him to keep Princi away from E as Princi was a bad influence on E. Cheeky bloody cow! Anyhow, Princi insisted that E was still her best friend and that she was going to try to convince her of that.

 

When Year 1 began, they were put into different classes, I reckon this was due to E’s mum complaining about Princi. For a few weeks Princi was fine, playing with the kids in her class and getting on with things. But Princi said she was missing E. So we invited her out with us for a trip to the Blue Planet for Princi’s birthday. All seemed fine, they had a good time, and while they were loud there was nothing untoward in the way they played together. So again, I wondered at the things Princi would tell me happened at school every day.

 

And it was EVERY DAY. ‘Mummy, E hit me today.’ ‘Mummy, E followed me around and pushed me and told me that J isn’t my friend.’

 

Well, I started getting suspicious that some of it must be true, so I asked Princi if she still liked her school. ‘Yes,’ came the answer. And the thing is, on the days I’ve said I wanted to keep her off because she’s had a bad night with a nasty cough, or she was ill the night before, Princi has always insisted on going to school and not wanting to miss a day. She really does make me proud.

 

But then last night happened. Grandand and Princi have been picking E up to take her to taekwondo for the last few weeks (yep, they go to the same club, but they were going on different nights until we had to swap one night because it clashed with football). Last week wasn’t so bad, but last night…

 

On the way home, Princi said to E, ‘Let’s play a game.’ E replied, ‘OK, but I want to play a horrible game.’ Princi said that she wanted to play a nice game, a counting game. But E said, ‘No! I want to play a horrible game and you are going to play it with me.’ And things spiraled downwards from there. Grandand was not impressed, saying that E was really nasty to Princi and that he would never offer to take E again, and Princi asked if she could stop going to taekwondo on a Wednesday and go on a Sunday instead. She has never before asked not to go. So, while taekwondo is easy to resolve, school isn’t. She loves her school, but I fear that E might end up killing her joy for it. And should I really look for another school just because of one kid? I think the answer might be yes, but there’s no guarantee that something similar wouldn’t happen at another school.

 

So what do I do? Is there any point in going to the school to complain? Or should I just bite the bullet and ask Princi if she would like to go to a new school, then start making enquiries? Or am I just being sensitive and over-protective?

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Comments»

1. dadwhowrites - February 10, 2011

I haven’t been paying attention? How’s this progressing?
We thought a similar think was developing with dudelet and a group of boys who seemed to quite deliberately exclude him and belittle him. On the other hand, we also know he’s no saint.
But there was a time when it seemed to be getting quite serious in an awful-lot-of-tummy-aches sort of way.
I have to say though, that it did clear itself up between year 1 and year 2 – other children do go through developmental stages which affect their behaviour and the particular dynamic which affected dudelet seemed to work itself out.
But I so wanted to march straight into that school and have it out with SOMEONE the moment he finally admitted that he was effectively being bullied by this little gang.

phoenixaeon - February 11, 2011

It’s ups and downs at the moment. E has calmed down a little, Princi has said that they have been playing nicely together over the last week, but now there is another girl, L, who is causing trouble. On Monday night, just before bed, Princi told me about L (in the year above her in school) and how she had been hitting her and saying things like ‘The Martians are coming to get you.’ We had a talk about it all and then she went to sleep. But then she woke up in the night and crept into my bed (not an uncommon occurrence) and we woke up the next morning in a wet bed (an extremely uncommon occurrence. Hasn’t happened for years). When Grandad dropped her off at school he told Princi’s teacher about what had happened. The girl, L, was spoken to and since then all has been quiet and there have been no more night-time accidents. I’m hoping it stays that way.

dadwhowrites - March 8, 2011

Hope this is still banked down at the moment?

phoenixaeon - March 20, 2011

Sorry I’ve not replied sooner…

Yeah, Princi hasn’t come home with any horror stories recently. In fact, she’s out at E’s birthday party this afternoon.

2. p - January 27, 2011

I feel for you. I know the trauma of seeing what appears to be a friendless child. I moved my child from a school. However our situation may have been different to yours (my child had started to fail academically too -he’d regressed to a level lower than his position 2 years previous and he had physically harmed himself & drawn blood on several occasions due to feelings he needed to punish himself for his failures and there affect on other children (in group work and the playground) as well as his inability to flourish academically, he could see he was failing and didn’t understand why. I believed the actions of another child did influence some of this trauma and saddness (they commented upon his actions and always felt they were superior and right – and often having witnessed it, they weren’t and my child knew this too but the strength of the other child’s character & their belief that they were right won the day). This may have had started to affect my child’s work and learning. He’d withdrawn from nearly everything apart from one friendship, (one external to school, which flourished) but the school had failed to tell me, except he’d been placed in lower groups for seeded subjects each re-shuffle. It broke my heart when I read on nearly every page of a school book that he wished he was dead and was rubbish. I was horrified the teacher had failed to bring this to our attention. (Yet the self harming – yes that was something they wanted me to deal with and they had bought this to my attention).

From my bridge school is about education and learning firstly (friends can be sought at outside activities if there is a real need) and as MJM says, you get difficult children (and parents I may add) everywhere. But what is YOUR gut instinct? If its real bullying or you are concerned by this actions, speak to the school. I know they pretend bullying doesn’t occur but it gives you a factual basis to work from. How do they deal with your concerns etc – do they identify your daughter as the bully or the bullier or do they wave the “doesn’t happen here” flag? (are your concerns about class change unrelated). Look at her grades and desire to learn, has there been a change?

Sometimes emotion can be very difficult and get in the way, remember to look at the situation and separate factual evidence from emotional evidence. Look at the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives and Doing Nothing approach of your considered options and also look at the knock on effects that may potentially occur.

I would ask, if your child is learning well in this school environment, why move her and place doubt in her mind that she has been in the wrong in some way? And I would certainly suggest to you, as was suggested to me, that you don’t give her the decision to make. This is a responsibility of a parent, who if it fails must step up to take the blame and find a new solution. Check you’re not just running to another set of problems. We want our child to be loved and happy, but sometimes we can’t control everything, sometimes we can only show them how they react and learn to react to situations.

My child (now very happy and learning well and starting to make good friendships a year on at the new school) still wonders WHY he didn’t fit in at his old school, why the learning wasn’t right for him. Friends were less of an issue (or he pretended this was the case). If I’m honest I wish I’d moved him earlier, however, I wouldn’t have made the educational choice I have now made. So all in all, we learnt a lot from our experience and we made the jump at the right time to the right school for him. He learnt a lot from the experience too.

In a rush, hope this makes sense. Best wishes. P x

phoenixaeon - January 27, 2011

Thanks P,

Yeah that made a lot of sense. Sorry to hear your son had such a rough time of it.

I asked Princi if E had bothered her in school today and she said she had. So I asked her who she played with today and she gave me the names of three girls and told me that they were her friends now. So I’m feeling a little more relaxed at the moment. She was also very happy because she came home with the fruits of her cookery labour in the form of a couple of sections of the gingerbread house (very nice and not too sweet). I will keep an eye, or ear, on things for a while, see if things improve. As for learning, it’s not hindering her at the moment, so I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much.

3. Metajugglamum - January 27, 2011

Hi Darlin.

I hear your worries, I really do. I was bullied at school sthg chronic and my Mum moved me. But. …. (and I say this carefully), just the way you wrote your piece and from an outsider’s pov, it actually sounds like Princi has a grip on the situation at school and is not letting her strife with E get her down too much. I think it’s good that you decided not to pick E up from TQD any more as it sounds like E is really spiteful … Princi doesn’t need that in her own car! but, unless P really is upset and unhappy at school, I would not proactively move her. There will always always be a person she doesn’t get on with or who is a little spiteful wherever she goes and maybe it’s good that she’s learning to cope with that. It will help her for the future. It’s hard as we want to protect our kids as much as we can, but sometimes we have to stand back and allow them to be exposed to some negative stuff to harden them up for the time when they need to really stand on their own two feet.
I feel for you Hun. Must be horrible thinking she’s not happy, but I would suggest you need to be sure that she really is not coping before you move her. Only my opinion tho and I don’t know the people involved so verrry hard to know what is the right thing. Only you can decide along with Princi.

Big Hugs. Thinking of you.

MJM. xxx

phoenixaeon - January 27, 2011

Hey you, long time no speak! Hope you’re doing well.

Yeah, I know all about the bullying too, and that is why I’m worried. It only takes one person to turn others against you, doesn’t it? She loves her school and she actually loves going to school, so I wouldn’t take her out of there if it wouldn’t benefit her. But recently she has come home from school saying she has no friends. I asked her then if she wanted to go to a new school and she said no. I think this is why I’m confused about the whole thing. At the moment, I don’t think it is affecting her ability to learn, but I’ll speak to Princi again about it all to see how she feels about it all. (She has been coming home spouting all this anti-bullying lingo too, so I think it is affecting her to some degree.)

Thanks for your thoughts though. Much appreciated 🙂 xxx


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