Monday, 7 July 2014

Drawing the Line

Everyone has heard the expressions "kids will be kids" or "they need to sort it out themselves".  However when does one make the distinction between childhood antics and bullying?

Yesterday afternoon I took my daughter "Missy" to the local swimming pool so we could spend some time together.  However two students from her school were there - I'll call them "Betsy" and "Carrie" - and Betsy in particular has been a source of trouble since last September.

Betsy is taller than most of the other kids in her class and that fact has made her somewhat bossy.  The other kids have a tendency to rally around her in the playground and will shut out anyone who is not deemed worthy of their time.  I've frequently heard Betsy rudely tell others that they can't play with her, Missy included.

Adding to the problem is that my daughter is known to get upset easily, and Betsy knows how to exploit this.  I've told Missy simply to avoid Betsy, or if it gets too much for her, to tell an adult.

So this afternoon when I saw that Betsy and Carrie were at the pool, I instructed Missy to stay away from them.  Everything was all right for a while, but then I noticed that Betsy seemed to be following Missy around.  When Missy went to swim in the shallower end, Betsy went after her.  Missy saw this and started to go to the deeper end instead, and Betsy followed her again.  At first I wasn't sure if Betsy just wanted to swim with her, but finally Missy came to me and said that Betsy was following her too much and ruining her fun.

I took Missy over to the wading area instead.  As we passed Betsy I saw the girl stick her tongue out.  So in effect my daughter was chased out of the pool by this kid.  I knew from experience that I wouldn't get any help from Betsy's mother, because in the past I'd talked to her multiple times about Betsy's behaviour only to get the response "I can't control what Betsy wants to do".

If this happens again I plan to have words with the child's mother.  Not controlling one's child appropriately is asking for big problems in the future, and by all indications Betsy is already becoming a major brat.

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