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Being Bullied in First Grade

First grade, in all its glory, has not been what I thought it would be. After a successful first year of full time schooling in Kindergarten, my daughter was so excited to be back for another year. A new teacher to fall in love with, new friends to play with, and more learning opportunities to enhance her life and feed her soul. She loves to learn and she loves to share her learnings with me.

The first time she came home from school crying, it was completely unlike her. She said she wouldn’t go back to school and that she was being bullied. In first grade! At six years old!

My child is far from perfect but to me, she is everything I want her to be. Now, I’m not saying this because she’s my child but because my husband and I take great care in the way she is raised. We prioritize on manners, being respectful, being kind, and being an all around good kid. It’s so important to us and it shows how we’ve done when we see how she interacts in certain situations. I tell her she’s lucky to have us because some other children aren’t as lucky…perhaps their parents don’t care.  Perhaps they can’t care enough.

So when my girl comes home crying because another friend is bullying her, it tore at my heartstrings. How could someone be mean to my little girl? My baby. We talked and talked and she told me the truth. She wasn’t to blame for what happened and when I discussed with her teacher, she corroborated what my daughter had said. We put a plan into action of how to handle the problem moving forward.

Two months later, it happened again. This time, my child ran up to her room after school and into bed without saying a word. I’d never seen her so upset. When she finally shared what was going on (again) I tried hard not to cry in front of her. I wanted to be strong for her but I was heartbroken. School is an incredible thing and she’d always looked forward to going. Another child was ruining it for her. This little bully was replacing the love my child had for school with fear.

I always knew that this would happen at some point. No child is safe from mean kids but I didn’t expect it in first grade. We had some more talks with the teachers and involved more school folks to be aware of the situation. The overall response from the school was positive.

It’s still happening, and some days are worse than others. I knew that my children will face some discomfort during school but I just wish it wasn’t like this. Situations like this make me…so disappointed with humanity. It has me asking all sorts of questions.

Why don’t all parents care like I do?

Why does it have to be happening to my child?

What did she do to deserve this?

Is she too good a kid that it’s hurting her?

Why can’t this little bully understand how they are truly affecting my child?

Why does her mother allow it (and see it during school events; even commenting about how fresh her kid is)?

I’ll never understand all the whys, hows, and whats. At the end of the day, I can only hope my child is learning from these situations and remembering all the words of wisdom I’ve instilled in her. Be kind. Be respectful. Share. Be considerate of others feelings. Treat others as you wish to be treated. But I also hope she learns to be assertive and speak up for herself.

My daughter, very fortuitously, came home with library book called Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun. I had never heard of it but it looked like a silly, fun book. We read it together and right away I realized it wasn’t an ordinary book. It’s a story about a girl who is getting made fun of and how her papa gives her advice to handle it. The advice is very similar to what I’ve been telling my child and upon taking that advice, the little girl solves the problem by being assertive and kind.

After we read it, I was in tears and so was my daughter. It truly spoke to us both and cemented those beliefs we’ve been talking about. I went and bought the book so we can read it whenever she has a bad day.

As parents, we’ll never be fully prepared for situations like our children being bullied. It can happen at any time in their lives. As long as we’re our children’s strongest advocates and we teach them to be kind, assertive, and respectful, it’s the best we can do.

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