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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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Additional Answers (7)

KateL
KateL writes:
Hi Coley,

There is a lot of information on bullying here on education.com, but I'd really like to point out something special.

Hymel World-Renowned Expert on Bullying will give a special web class on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:00 PM PST.  You can register by visiting this link https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/17017716  

It may really be helpful to you.

Here are some other links to articles from the experts:

http://www.education.com/blog/tag/bullying/
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Ten_Actions_Parents/

I hope these help!

Kate
Community Team
> 60 days ago

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Boys Town National Hotline
It's so tough to see your child being hurt emotionally.  I'm sorry to hear that she's being treated that way at school.  Bullying is especially troublesome for many parents because they aren't around to witness or stop what's being done to their child.  First, I'm glad you've spent some time discussing the situation with your daughter including how she feels about all of it.  It's great that you're giving her an outlet and encouragement.  You're doing the right thing by encouraging her to get involved in other activities outside of school.  You're also right in telling her to ignore what the girls say.  Remember to do things with her that will increase her confidence.  Spend time with her and remind her that she is special and loved!  This will pass.  Hang in there!!

Counselor KB
Boys Town in Cooperation with Education.com
> 60 days ago

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illstandbyyou
illstandbyyou writes:
Hi Coley,

My son was teased in the 5th grade also. He did not want me to say anything however he was getting to the point where he hated going to school.

So I went to school without his knowledge and talked to the Principal and his teacher. My son suffered with depression and cronic constipation and still wore a pull-up to school. My heart broke for him. After talking to the Principal and teacher, they assured me they would keep an eye on him and those around him so no one would tease him.

I gave them maybe a week to see if things would change.

It didn't....kids were telling my son he "smelled" and I wasn't going to put up with it as it wasn't his fault. There were times he had an "accident".

I went back to school (this was in March) and I insisted my son be home schooled by a teacher through the end of the school year. There was no way in my eyes that they could stop the teasing when it was happening during recess, lunch, and other places where teachers were not hearing it.

They did as I asked and my son was very happy. He would never bully another child, and if he did he would be in a lot of trouble. My son is now in the 10th grade and I still struggle with his issues. He's doing better but always a concern so I keep a close eye on what is going on.

I have gone to school officials and even the police when I see someone being bullied. Verbally or physically it is wrong period! Trust me, they weren't excited when they saw me coming to school even if it was just for conferences.

I wish you the best of luck....I know this must break your heart as it did mine.

Julie
> 60 days ago

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Tyler&Harly
Tyler&Harly , Student writes:
I am actually Experiencing a Clique group at my school and i for one dont like it and want it to stop but... i don't wanna talk to anyone about it but my 2 best buds because i know they won't tell anyone because there having the same problem just like me, the people in the clique think there all cool and have everything, they Probably think we're the so called idiots in the school and it is hard for me and so its probably hard for her too and it would take me alot more than just a talk about it  to make me spill all the info ive gathered hope this helps
> 60 days ago

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bullycontrolling
bullycontro... writes:
sounds like your child has the type of anxiety like me
> 60 days ago

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ninja-nadja123
ninja-nadja... writes:
What i think you need to do is just be there for her. my sister is going through the same thing and never wants to talk about it, she got bullied at elementary school and is now bullied at middle school, she's depressed and eats her feelings, i would hate for that to happen to anyone else. you need to see things through her point of view, on one hand you don't want her to be know as a tell-tale and on the other you want her to be happy at school and to not get teased. Since my sisters school was informed about the bullying things have been alot better, she has friends and gets her homework done, she's still a bit depressed but is on her way to a better life, my advice to you is to take action now before its too late and she starts having major problems like my sister. i hope this helps. :)
> 60 days ago

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BullyBGone
BullyBGone writes:
Your daughter needs to learn assertive behavior. Bullies rarely bother people who are assertive. They pick on those they feel they can control, those that are weaker than they are, smaller in stature, and that lack the courage to speak up.

Ignoring doesn't always help.  She can try using "I messages"as a next step using the following format: "I feel_____when_____and I want_____." She needs to stand tall, look them in the eye, say their name, say what she wants to say, and then walk away. Bullying often escalates from words to physical violence. She should never respond to a bully or stay in an unprotected place alone with a bully. If possible she should walk with a group of kids that are friends (safety in numbers).

After trying assertive behavior (let her practice with you or in front of a mirror) if the behavior continues, she should report it. Authorities can do nothing if they don't know what is going on.
> 60 days ago

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