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Dealing with a Bully

questionmarkWe received this letter from a distressed mom this week -- and rather than offer up our own advice, we thought we'd ask our readers to answer. Now it's your turn to give a little free advice. Please post your response in the comments section below. Here's the issue:

Dear Scarsdale10583: I'm hoping someone can help. I sent my daughter to camp this summer and in her group there was a girl who can best be described as a miniature bully. Some days, she made my daughter and some of the other girls in her group miserable. I spoke to the counselors and even the assistant director of the camp to make sure my daughter wasn't instigating anything. They assured me it was this one girl and the other girls were not to blame. I can't say my daughter's summer was ruined, but it was less than ideal. I understand these things happen and we're moving on.

I didn't realize until nearly the end of the summer that the mean girl is the daughter of someone I'm friendly with in town. I ran into her once after realizing her daughter was causing mine trouble. I asked her how she thought the summer was going and she said she thought the kids in the group were terrible and my daughter was the only girl her daughter wanted to play with. She added that she'd love to set up a play date since our girls will be in school together this year. I was able to put it off a bit since we're heading on vacation.

She's already emailed me to set something up when we come back. The little girl may not be so bad one-on-one but when I brought up the idea to my daughter she was very upset and refused a play date. I can't say I blame her and I don't want to force her to play with someone who makes her upset. I can't avoid the mom all year and I don't want to confront her since I don't really feel like it's my place. Help!
Scarsdale Mom

Comments, please?

 

 

 


Comments   

0 #8 Clare Love 2011-10-24 23:54
There are many ways to handle this situation but there are many factors that determine the success of the outcome - whether it be a playdate today or next year's camp experience.
The key is the mother. I would, honestly and tactfully sit down and discuss what you heard were the goings on over the summer. To gloss over such bullying behavior does no one any good. The mother must address these concerns with her daughter first and only then would I set up a playdate. Also, your daughter's clear dismay at the thought of playing with this girl is a direct indication that she is not comfortable and as such, you must respect those wishes. It sounds to me as if the mother senses your willingness to overlook her daughter's behavior (even at the expense of your daughter's wishes) and that is why she approached you. Do not fall for this subtle bullying on the mother's part and address the situation head on with the mother. I've been in similar situations and only found that the problems when left unadressed became even more challenging. You must listen and respect your daughter's wishes re who she is comfortable playing with or she will question her own judgement later on when the stakes only become more serious.
Good luck.
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0 #7 Teacher/Mom 2011-08-28 00:41
I would try to encourage your daughter to have the playdate, assuring her that you are going to be closely supervising a well planned activity. Perhaps having the mean girl on your turf, following your rules will send a message to her about how she may and may not act around your child. It will also give you a first hand look at any of the behaviors that your child complained about so that you can address them with the other child's mother. If it is a total disaster, it is one afternoon. If it is successful, you have helped your child to be less intimidated and the other child to learn your daughter's boundaries.
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0 #6 ... 2011-08-25 23:55
I would be honest and tell the Mom that you are surprised to hear that her daughter is asking for a playdate since reports that you got on your end were that the girls didn't get along very well over the summer. I would tell her that you want to wait and see how the girls get along after the school year starts before planning a playdate.
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0 #5 lexidav 2011-08-21 23:11
Cut the kid some slack. Lots of kids act differently at camp than they would at school. Your daughter may be dying to play with her by the second week of school.
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0 #4 Been there 2011-08-18 11:25
It sounds like you handled the summer situation very well. I have been there with my daughter and my experience with the mother of these type of bullies is that they listen but they NEVER hear you. Just when your kid lets her gaurd down, wham, more nasty behavior. Steer clear from this woman and her child. It took me 2 difficult years to figure that out. Best of luck.
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0 #3 k 2011-08-18 05:07
Ideally, she will read this and the problem will be solved!! This is a sticky situation but you described it very diplomatically here without undo accusations and verification from the counselor so I would suggest telling the story as you did here. Also, to lessen hurt feelings, leave it open for the future
.
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0 #2 QRMom 2011-08-18 04:45
The mom may be a bully herself since she seems to think everyone is 'terrible' but is intimidating you into making plans. Steer clear as long as you can. If she corners you, tell her that your daughter is still adjusting to school and beg off getting together.
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0 #1 Me 2011-08-18 03:47
Tell the mom that the girl was a little overbearing to your daughter at camp and it may be best not to get together now.
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