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coley
coley asks:
Q:

How do I help my 5th grade daughter deal with bullying at school?

how can i help my daughter get through this bully problem at school? she is in the 5th grade she does not like fighting or arguing with others . she wants everyone to get along . and she does not cause any trouble. even her teacher says she is queit. i just do not understand why they are treating her this way . i talk to her ever day about it. and sometimes you have to drag it out of her . she tells me not to say anything because then they will diffently not talk to her. she is an honor student but latley hse has not wanting to go to school . and has not been able to concentrat on her homework like she should. we are trying to get her involved in something like bowilng so she could meet other kids. she does not want to go back to tae kwon do which she is a first degree black belt. i want her to get involved in something other than having to deal with these little girls at school. her scholl is very small and a catholic school at that. am i doing the right thing by telling her not to worry and do what ever she wants. and to just ignore them and they are her team mates on her basketball team.
In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 17, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

I am sorry to hear that your daughter is having to endure mean spirited girls in her class at school.  Unfortunately, she is at the age where children begin to experiment with various groupings, posturing for position within their peer group.  Many girls seek approval from their peers and will go to great lengths to fit in with the dominant clique.  
You are on the right track with your daughter by developing her individual interests and hobbies.  Having a strong sense of self will be her best line of defense against girls that are engaging in bullying behavior.  I would continue to help your daughter find activities that challenge her and hold her interest.  Even though she was interested in tae kwon do at one time it is natural for interest in a specialized activity to wane after a time; perhaps she would be a good candidate for a similar physicial activity.  
You mention that she is an honors student.  In addition to physical activities, there are many academic challenges available to young women.  Perhaps you could talk with her teacher to determine what extra curricular activities would suit her abilities.  There are a variety of organized writing contests, spelling bee competitions, creativity challeges, etc that could engage your daughter either as an individual competitor or as part of a team.  
In addition, you may want to encourage her to pursue the arts.  Many gifted children find an outlet of self expression by studying a musical instrument, taking art or dance lessons.  
I understand your daughter's relunctance to have you become involved in this matter.  Many times, parents feel the need to address their concerns to school administrators, parents or even to the offending classmates themselves.  While it can be extremely stressful for you, it might be best to allow your daughter to take the lead on stating what she feels would best help her to feel supported by you.  Many times, girls learn valuable life lessons by learning to deal with bullying themselves.  As a parent it is natural to want to make life as easy as possible for our children when in reality, it is also our job to prepare our children to be strong and independent.  I would encourage you to continue talking to your daughter on a daily basis.  Please make sure that you continue encouraging her to share with you details of her school day, paying particular attention to safety issues.  If there are concerns regarding her safety, I would encourage you to talk to school staff right away requesting that they keep your concerns confidential.  Share with your daughter that you talked with the school staff despite her wishes if safety issues become a concern.
Continue to reassure your daughter that she is smart, talented and competent.  In addition to encouraging her abilities, I would also spend time talking with her on how to be a good friend to others.  Extending herself to other students and strengthening her bond with even one other classmate could go along way to providing her with the moral support and friendship she needs to soldier through this tough time.  
Thank you for your question.  

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